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Chapter 5 The Pluperfects This chapter will cover the four rarest tense forms in the Macedonian indicative system: the beše series (aorist and imperfect), the imaše perfect, and the imal perfect. These forms are essentially pluperfects of one form or another. 5.1. General Observations on Pluperfects In Jakobson’s terms (1957: 4), pluperfects are marked for anterior taxis, i.e., they specify the narrated event as having occurred before some other nar­ rated event. According to Lunt (1952: 97), the beše series is a past resultative and is often avoided, the prior moment being indicated by some other means, so that status (in his terms “distancing”), for which the beše series has no marking, can be indicated. Lunt does not offer any suggestions regarding the differentiation of the beše series, the imaše perfect, and the imal perfect. Koneski ’s (1967: 379) definition of the Macedonian pluperfect is essentially the same as Jakobson’s anterior taxis, i.e., a past event is specified as occurring before some other past event: (187) Toj beše izlegol, koga dojdov jas kaj nego.  (Koneski 1967: 379) ‘He had gone out when I came to his place.’ However, Koneski points out that in Macedonian the meaning of anterior taxis can often be supplied by context, in which case a marked taxic form is unnecessary (although an English pluperfect must still be used in translating): (l88) Toj izleze, koga dojdov jas kaj nego.  (Koneski 1967: 379) ‘He had gone out when I came to his place.’ (189) Koga se sretnavme, ne go poznav. Izrasnal, razubavel… Samo tabietot ne go izmenil.  (Koneski 1967: 472) ‘When I saw him I didn’t recognize him. He had grown, gotten handsome… Only his character hadn’t changed.’ 90 5. The Pluperfects Like Lunt, however, Koneski gives no indication as to the difference between the beše series and the imaše and imal perfects. A useful study of Macedonian pluperfects relates to their use in the translation of English nonprogressive pluperfects. The following table, a sort of companion to Table 7, is based on Arsova (1970: 73): Table 9. Translation of English Pluperfects into Macedonian The Great Gatsby Great Expectations Total imaše perfect — 106 106 beše perfect 46 99 145 sum perfect 93 384 447 simplex past 154 929 1083 present 8 16 24 no correspondence 8 43 51 total 308 1576 1884 As this table shows, over eighty percent of the English pluperfects are translated by Macedonian nonpluperfects. This should demonstrate that the two pluperfects are substantially different in their usage. The so-called sequence of tenses in English is not found in Macedonian. Also, lexical devices are frequently used to indicate taxis in Macedonian, so the use of its pluperfect is considerably restricted. It is interesting to note that while there was a striking discrepancy between the use of ima perfects by the Prilep speaker, beše forms and imaše perfects appeared with about equal frequency. (The Skopje speaker ’s translation does not enter into the discussion at all, since her dialect lacks the ima series). Arsova (1970: 69) has suggested that the cause for the dearth of ima perfects is their colloquial nature, i.e., they are generally thought of as more appropriate to spoken rather than written Macedonian. Carrying this idea one step further, it could be concluded that the reason for the relative equality of occurrences of beše forms and imaše perfect is that the pluperfect is an inherently noncolloquial form. Colloquial Macedonian prefers parataxis to hypotaxis (Friedman and Gołąb 1972: 44), and pluperfects are basically hypotactic -like constructions, since they involve the subordination of one event to another. In an ordinary narration, events are described in the order of their occurrence. This could be described as a sort of temporal parataxis. When a pluperfect is used, however, events are being described out of sequence. An event occurring after the event described by the pluperfect is being focused upon, and thus the event described by the pluperfect is, in a sense, subordi- 5.1. General Observations on Pluperfects 91 nated to it, e.g., The police identified the man who had stolen the car vs. The man stole the car and the police identified him. The sentence with the pluperfect has both syntactic and temporal hypotaxis, while the other sentence is syntactically and temporally paratactic. Thus any pluperfect form will sound literary by virtue of its being a pluperfect. Arsova, like Lunt...


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