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Chapter 11 Simple and Compound Tenses 1. From Proto-Slavic to Macedonian In Macedonian, the exponents of the category of tense—a deictic category that locates the eventualities described in a clause in relation to speech time or other points of time—differ not only from the exponents of the west and east Slavic languages, whose tense systems have changed radically from the system of Proto-Slavic, but also from those of the other south Slavic languages, most of which inherited many of the features of Proto-Slavic. 1.1. It is commonly assumed that tense did not exist as a separate grammatical category in Early Proto-Indo-European. There were no independent verbal affixes for marking tense, and the verbs were specified only for aspect (cf. Lehmann 1974: 139– 41, 186). Explicit expression of tense was a later innovation. It is argued that the earliest method of expressing temporal relations was based on the opposition between ‘now-here’ and ‘not-now-here’, which led to the development of the present, the aorist and the perfect tenses (cf. Schields 1992). The present tense rendered uncompleted actions, the aorist referred to an action that was completed at the moment of speech, whereas the perfect emphasized the result of an event, linking the past to the moment of speaking. Later on, the pluperfect—a tense used to refer to actions that took place before a narrated event, and the imperfect—a tense that had an aspectual flavor in the sense that it was used to describe long-lasting or repetitive actions that were not completed, emerged. 1.2. Proto-Slavic inherited the Proto-Indo-European tenses, but radically extended aspectual distinctions. The aorist, which in Proto-Indo-European did not imply specific reference to the duration of an event or to the stretch of time between the event and the moment of speaking, in Late Proto-Slavic started to be used for denoting momentaneous, completed events. At the same time, the perfect and pluperfect, which in Proto-Indo-European were morphologically marked simple tenses, in Late Proto-Slavic gave way to compound tenses with verbal adjectives ending in *-lo reanalyzed as participles and added to ‘be’-auxiliaries (cf. Migdalski 2006: 13–14). 1.3. In the west and east Slavic languages (with the exception of Upper Sorbian) the aspectual past tenses have completely disappeared and past events are characterized by the present perfect—in east Slavic without auxiliaries and in west Slavic ac- 290 A GRAMMAR OF MACEDONIAN companied by impoverished auxiliaries. The south Slavic languages have, however, retained the aspectual simple past tenses, albeit to different degrees. Extending Sedláček’s (1958: 68–69) analysis of the relationship of the aorist and the perfect on the Balkans, Asenova (2002: 269–74) establishes four zones with respect to the spread of the compound perfect in the area and argues that Serbo-Croatian belongs to the northern zone, where the perfect has almost ousted out the use of the other past tenses, the southeastern Serbian and some eastern Bulgarian dialects belong to a “transitory” zone, where the perfect prevails, though the aorist is still in use, the majority of the Bulgarian dialects and the southeastern and northern Macedonian dialects belong to the central zone, where the perfect is as much used as the simple past tenses, whereas the southern Macedonian dialects belong to the southern zone, in which the perfect is sparingly used. Speaking in general, the perfect is (almost) the only past tense in the very north of the peninsula and is (almost) non-existent in its southernmost fringes. The southern Macedonian dialects do, however, use the forms of the perfect as frequently as those of the compound past tense(s), though their uses differ from those of the perfect in Bulgarian. 1.4. In the northern and southeastern Macedonian dialects, the forms of the l-participle , accompanied by ‘be’ auxiliaries, have kept the original function of the perfect as an expression of the result of an event, though they are also used as exponents of evidentiality—a modal category that Friedman (2004: 103) describes as a category that expresses the subjective relationship of the participants in the speech event to the narrated event.1 As one moves westwards in the Macedonian-speaking territory, however , the use of the exponents of the common Slavic ‘be’ perfect become increasingly 1 Evidentiality is a category grammaticalized in a number of Balkan languages—in Macedonian , Bulgarian, Albanian, and Megleno-Romanian, in particular. In Macedonian grammars...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780893578855
Related ISBN
9780893573850
MARC Record
OCLC
794925911
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-16
Language
English
Open Access
No
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