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Chapter 3 The Sum Series 3.1. Sum Series as Unmarked Past As was indicated in §2.3, the sum series is the unmarked set of past tense forms in Macedonian. It is marked as past in opposition to the present tense form. (The complexities of this relationship will be discussed in §3.2). The aspectual opposition aorist/imperfect is the same for the sum series as for the simplex past tense forms (Koneski 1967: 431). Thus a simplex aorist or imperfect can always be rendered as an l-aorist or l-imperfect, since these are unmarked. There would be no change of aspect, but only of status. (As with the simplex past, the features distinguishing the sum series from the ima and beše series are proper to the latter and will therefore be discussed in chapters 4 and 5). It has been argued that the l-imperfect differs from the l-aorist in two respects: (i) it has only those functions performed by the so-called imperfect reported in Bulgarian, and (ii) it represents neutralization of the opposition present/ past (Lunt 1952: 92). If the first contention were true, then the l-imperfect could not occur in the first person except in the meaning ‘they say I have…’. This is not at all the case, however; examples such as the following are simply l-imperfects , i.e., they are unmarked for status: (98) Sum pravel toa vo dva saatot včera. ‘I was doing that at two o’clock yesterday.’ (99) Sum mislel deka si dobar čovek. ‘I thought that you were a good person.’ These examples cannot be said to be marked for the category evidential. There are two arguments against the second contention, i.e., that the l-imperfect neutralizes the present/past opposition. One of these concerns the use of the sum series in reported speech and will therefore be covered in §3.2.3. The other argument is the following: Most present indicatives are imperfective. Thus, if a present tense form were to be transformed, for some reason, into a past tense form, an imperfect would most likely be chosen due to the similarity of 48 3. The Sum Series the meanings of the categories imperfect and imperfective (cf. chapter 2, fn. 9). Hence, a present rendered as a past form will usually become an l-imperfect. However, the verbs in examples such as (33) and (35), cited again here, could felicitously be changed either to l-aorists or imperfective presents: (33) Go drža tamo celi tri dni i tri noḱi. (Koneski 1967: 423) ‘They held him there for all of three days and nights.’ (35) Ne babata Gudjakovka od Bitolišča ì baja; (Koneski 1967: 424) ‘No, Grandma Gudjakovka from Bitolišča exorcised her;’ The former change would be purely one of status, while the latter would change both status and tense and, if the context remained the same, would have the effect of producing a historical present. The point is that an imperfective present can be rendered as a simplex aorist or an l-aorist, and so it is not always the case that a verb in the present tense form, if transformed into a sum series past, will be realized as an l-imperfect. Thus, because presents may be transformed into l-aorists, the l-imperfect cannot be said to neutralize the opposition present/past. 3.2. The Hauptbedeutung of the Sum Past Since the sum series is unmarked among the past tense forms, a point which will become increasingly clear as this chapter progresses, it cannot be said to have an invariant meaning. Rather, it has a number of contextual variants, one of which is the Hauptbedeutung, i.e., the chief contextual variant. In the following list of examples, some of which will be made clearer in the explanation of contexts in the succeeding paragraphs, each sentence represents a counterexample to at least one of the meanings which has been suggested as the invariant meaning of the sum series—the proposed invariant meaning appearing above the associated examples—and should serve as a conclusive demonstration that the sum series is unmarked. The remainder of the chapter will be spent in exploring the function of each of the proposed invariant meanings as actual contextual variants of the sum series and in determining the meaning which is most likely to function as the chief contextual variant of the sum series. As each meaning is examined, the relationship of that variant meaning...


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