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Verbal Aspect
This public article was written by argyle, and last updated on 6 Jul 2016, 17:14.

[comments] Menu 1. The Perfect Aspect 2. The Imperfect Aspect 3. The Perfect and Imperfect Used Together Edievian verbs conjugate for two (arguably three) aspects in combination with the three tenses - perfect and imperfect (and arguably gnomic, which appears as the perfect in the present tense). A verb's telicity is often tied to the use of aspect, and will determine the nuances of meaning in the conjugated form.

[top]The Perfect Aspect

Diachronically, the perfect forms of verbs are the "original" forms inherited from Colian, as Edievian's mother language did not carry the aspectual distinction. The perfect aspect implies completion of the action. The perfect endings are:

PRESPresent tense (tense)
current
PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
FUTFuture (tense)
action occurring after the moment of speech
1SFirst person singular (person)
speaker, signer, etc.; I
--an-ac
2SSecond person singular (person)
addressee (you)
--en-éic
3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
--aenaéic
1PFirst person plural (person)
we (inclusive or exclusive)
-am-om-iv
2PSecond person plural (person)
addressee (plural)
-ab-amp-anc
3PThird person plural (person)
neither speaker nor addressee, they/them
-an-áind-áins

The perfect aspect houses the other aspect, the gnomic. The present perfect has come to take on the meaning of the gnomic, expressing general truths and facts that are accepted as unchanging. In the other two tenses, the perfect expresses actions that are (to be) completed. Some verbs, such as those that are telic, can only be expressed in perfect (including the gnomic) without sounding unnatural, such as aontofae, "to meet (someone)".

aontofanI met
aontofansI was meeting

Here, aontofans is entirely grammatical, but using it in a sentence such as Aontofans le odgión "I met him yesterday" rings unnatural and awkward, since the semantics of the word aontofae indicate an immediate change of state. The speaker went from not knowing to knowing the other person; that change cannot be stretched. Other verbs, such as dodae, "to speak", can perform in both aspects without issue:

dodanI spoke
dodansI was speaking

[top]The Imperfect Aspect

The imperfect aspect of Edievian verbs is an innovation that developed in the 1700s and was fully grammaticalized by the end of the century. It is derived from the corresponding perfect forms of the verb plus the verbal particle sji (cognate to contemporary Edievian siím, "still"). In contrast with the perfect aspect, the imperfect entails an ongoing nature to the verb in question. The endings are:

PRESPresent tense (tense)
current
PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
FUTFuture (tense)
action occurring after the moment of speech
1SFirst person singular (person)
speaker, signer, etc.; I
-as-ans-acs
2SSecond person singular (person)
addressee (you)
-éis-éins-eciêis
3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
-aéis-aéinsaeciáéis
1PFirst person plural (person)
we (inclusive or exclusive)
-ams-oms-ives
2PSecond person plural (person)
addressee (plural)
-aps-ambas-ancas
3PThird person plural (person)
neither speaker nor addressee, they/them
-ans-andiás-ansiâis

Much like how the present perfect acts as the gnomic, the present imperfect acts as a present progressive. The present imperfect entails that an action is occurring right then, and is not a general thing that happens often.

dodI speak (a language)
dodasI am speaking (right now)

In the past and future tenses, the imperfect acts as it would normally, implying that an action occurs with regular frequency, is not a change of state, or lacks a definite ending.

ruivwe will fly (and then stop flying)
ruiveswe will be flying (indefinitely)

Depending on context, the past imperfect can also be used to describe an action that was habitual:

nagan (odgión)I swam (yesterday)
nagans (vals bans pler)I used to go swimming (when I was young)


[top]The Perfect and Imperfect Used Together

As mentioned above, some verbs (especially telic ones) may require to be in the perfect aspect in some tenses. However, this may be overridden by the grammatical sequence of tenses required when describing multiple actions.

For example, the English sentence "I sneezed when we met" indicates that the speaker sneezed during the process of meeting another person. This sentence in Edievian would be Hatiáan ales aontofoms, with "I sneezed" (hatiáan) in the perfect and "we met" (aontofoms) in the imperfect. Although meeting someone is usually a telic activity, because the sneeze occurred during the meeting, the encompassing activity of meeting must be in the imperfect.

aontofoms (we met, imperfect)
███hatiáan (I sneezed, perfect)███

If two actions overlap in time, but it is unknown of the sequence, then both verbs must be in the imperfect, such as English "The phone was ringing and the cake was burning", in Edievian Singiágaéins siáe fon iaö baogaortaéins siáe tort re.

singiágaéins (was ringing, imperfect)
baogaortaéins (was burning, imperfect)

If two actions occur in sequence without an overlap, then all verbs in question much appear in the perfect, to separate them in time. If any of them appear in the imperfect, it is understood that the actions were somehow contemporaneous:

You all drove, went shopping, and returned home.
Draëvamp, artiágamp, iaö aerobamp aéis aelvard.
drove
draëvamp
went shopping
artiágamp
returned
aerobamp
perfectperfectperfect

Further example:

I will eat breakfast, close the windows, and go out.
Siáomacs naóisclo, seracs sié veteb, iaö ierencac
will eat
siáomacs
(will) close
seracs
(will) go out
ierencac
imperfectimperfectperfect

The speaker here will be eating breakfast and closing the windows at the same time (presumably because s/he is in a rush), hence the imperfect used for those two actions. The action of going out is then in the perfect to separate it out as a different step in the sequence.

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