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Chapter 4 The Ima Perfect 4.1. The Meaning of Perfects In the previous chapter it was demonstrated that the Macedonian sum series has lost the marked perfect meaning which it is said to have had in earlier times. A new set of tense forms, using the auxiliary ima ‘have’ and the verbal adjective (descendent of the old past passive participle—see p. 13), has come into being. While this series has not had the term perfect applied to it in the standard grammars (Lunt 1952 and Koneski 1967), where it is simply called “the forms with ima,” this appears to be the appropriate term. This chapter will treat only the ima perfect, but the results will be equally applicable to the imaše perfect and the imal perfect. Before discussing the Macedonian ima perfect, a very brief overview of some other perfects may prove helpful. The Indo-European perfect is generally acknowledged as having had two closely related major uses: the onе stative, and the other, probably a later development, resultative (Schmidt 1964: 4 and Perl’muter 1967: 94). It did not develop into a preterite tense form until the post-Indo-European period (Schmidt 1964: 2), when it was eventually lost. Using Homer and the Gathas, Schmidt (1964: 8) argues that the meaning of stativity is older than that of resultativity, and the perfect, which had originally not been marked for tense, became a preterite and gradually encroached on the narrative functions of the aorist (Schmidt 1964: 7). Along with the old Indo -European perfect’s becoming an unmarked past, new periphrastic perfects were developed independently in various Indo-European languages, using constructions involving the meanings of be and have, of which the be type is the older (Schmidt 1964: 14). The Old Church Slavonic perfect is among those using a be construction. In Old Persian and Armenian, the periphrastic transitive perfect is a possessive construction using the verb be with the agent in an oblique case (Benveniste 1966: 185). The Old Persian construction survives in Central Kurdish (Smirnova 1967: 145). This is actually a have type of perfect, since the ordinary concept of possession is also expressed in these languages by be with an oblique agent (Benveniste 1966: 185; see also Kozinceva 2007). A periphrastic perfect expressing the subject’s possession of the state resulting 74 4. The Ima Perfect from some past act is found as far back as Hittite (Schmidt 1964: 14). Modern Greek, Albanian, and Aromanian all have such constructions with the auxiliary have, and the Macedonian form is usually attributed to the influence of the last (Gołąb 1959: 434 and Havránek 1936: 152), although the other languages have also sometimes been given some of the credit (Koneski 1965: 171 and Sandfeld 1930: 106; cf. also Gallis 1960, Vukčević 190l: 147, Mazon 1936: 89, and Mazon and Vaillant 1938: 233). The existence of have perfects in Polish dialects , e.g., Silesian and Kashubian, is attributed to German influence (Weinreich 1968: 4l and Vaillant 1966: 90), but similar possessive constructions also occur in Northwest Russian, from Pskov to Lake Onega, and these could have been developed without outside influence or in early contact with Finno-Ugric or Germanic (Zaxarova and Orlova 1970: 89, also v. Bulatova 1975, Kuz’mina 1975, and Danylenko 2006: 218–42). The ima perfect in Thracian Bulgarian is also considered to be a native development (Kodov 1934). We can note, however , that just as the Macedonian ima series is most stongly developed in areas in intense contact with the Balkan Latin that became Aromanian (Gołąb 1984: 134–35), so, too, in Thrace the ima perfect is present in the area where Roman roads such as the Via Egnatia would have had Roman guard posts that could have supplied a similar contact situation, perhaps subsequently reinforced by contact with Greek. Aside from the meanings of stativity and resultativity, one other important characteristic of many perfects is the fact that the past to which they refer must be indefinite. In the Indo-European perfect, perhaps this is the result of its original lack of tense and its emphasis on present state or result (Lohmann 1937: 43). As a result of the nonspecificity of the past time referred to by the perfect in many languages, e.g., Macedonian, the action described by the perfect takes on a characteristic indefiniteness which leads to the development of the use of the perfect for reported or nonwitnessed acts, such as is said to...


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