Author Topic: Verbs: apects and tenses  (Read 1623 times)

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Offline Skyinou

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Verbs: apects and tenses
« on: January 28, 2010, 12:09:04 am »
Kaltxì!
I'll try here to make it clear what is what and why it is so.
(If my english is incorrect, please tell me)

tenses are: past, recent past, present, near futur, futur
apects are: perfective, imperfective

The biggest difference is that tenses refers to time alone, and aspects refers to the timing of the action. It is confusing, I know, I'll try to explain with example after.

You should remember that aspects and tenses can appear both in one verb.


If you have only tenses:
I hunted, I just hunted, I hunt, I will hunt soon, I will hunt

there is nothing about the action of hunting. Only when it take place.


Aspects
and here you can't give good examples without using tenses

the imperfective is refering to an action which is ongoing
the perfective refers to a finished action (eventually a beginning action, but don't think about that)


But:
1) A finished action is not necessarily in the past
2) Apsects have also a meaning of focusing on something


Timeline
imagine a line. on this line there is a rectangle and two points

           |------------|
 past---|------A-----|--------S------future
           |------------|

A is the action which we talk about
S is the speaker
Now, the distance between the speaker and the action determine the tense. And the position of A and the rectangle determine the aspects.
In this case: It is past, and as A is in the middle of the rectangle, it is imperfective, ongoing.
If the rectangle is "hunting" when you speak of the time of A, you say: i was hunting.

Now this:

           |------------|
 past---|------------A-------S------future
           |------------|

When you speak about A, it is past again, but the action is not ongoing for A. You will say "I just finished hunting" And this is perfective.

And then:

                     |-|
 past----------|-A-------S------future
                     |-|

Of course the timeline only references are the speaker speech. Then this represent something short, an action that happened in one point.
And this will be only past. why? Because you focus here on the time of the action alone. Not the timing. What is important is between A and S, not between A and the rectangle, since they are somewhat in the same place.It would not be wrong to make it past and perfective for the grammar. But you would miss some of the beauty of the language.


Now examples:
"He bend his bow." this is present
"He is bending a bow." present and imperfective (ongoing action)
"He bend his bow and shoot." Both are present and perfective. These perfective are not necessarily, since with present we understand clearly the meaning
"He is bending his bow (when) someone kill him" present, first imperfective, second imperfective

"He bent his bow." this is past. because we have no interest in the timing of the action. What is important is the fact: bent a bow
"He was bending his bow." past and imperfective
"He bent his bow and shot." Both are past and perfective. Because here, the timing is important. first you bent, then you shot
"He was bending his bow (when) someone killed him" That begin to make sense! first past imperfective, and second past perfective

(And the same goes with future tense)

"I hunted a deer." It is past. Then if you make it past and perfective, it focus the attention of the end of the action. It implies that you will, or you have spoken about the hunt itself. If you let it be just past, that means you just mention it out of nowhere. (It can be an important action both ways!)
When you come home and say: I hunted a deer. That would be past only
If you talk a lot, and you tell what happened during the hunt, and finally come to the death of the deer: That will be perfective.

"They killed their Mother." That should be past only. Because we quite don't want to know what happened in the process of the mother being killed. Only if you are relating the whole story, will you make it perfective.
"They shot her until she died." That is past and perfective.

Where do we go?
With the combination of tenses and aspects, you can say a lot of things without word like "then, and, after that, etc..". Of course you can use these, but it is really beautiful to describe an action without the need of them. I can't give examples in english, because the aspect hase to be given.
But in Na'vi:
"oe teraron, oel pa'lit tspolang, oel yerkìkit tspolang, oel palulukan tse'a" They are present, but I was hunting in general, during the hunt I kill a pa'li. This last action has no importance in time, but then we know the next one goes just after: I kill a yerìk, and finally I see a palulukan. This last one is not imperfective nor perfective, that's just what is happening right now. (and probably the last one thing that is happening for the speaker actually, but that's another story :P )
With just 11 words you describe quite precisely what happen. There's no chance you can do the same with english or french.

What you should do.
(Speaking about simple sentences)
-Mixing tense in the same sentence. if you speak about past, make it past, perfective and imperfective.
-If you speak about something you just finished, you can make it present and perfective. But bear in mind that if you add another verb, it should be present too.
-If you have a perfective, there can't be any movement or direction given, since the perfective is finished: "I went/was going to the forest" With perfective, it means you went all the way to the forest. With imperfective you can leave the way anytime without arriving there.

-Tell me how you compresse "ol" and "am" talmaron? I don't know ;D

I know I've quite exagerate the talking, but I don't know how to say it more clearly nor exactly. Please ask anything you want.
Irayo!
« Last Edit: January 28, 2010, 12:38:36 am by Skyinou »
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Offline Prrton

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Re: Verbs: apects and tenses
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2010, 01:46:38 am »
Kaltxì!
I'll try here to make it clear what is what and why it is so.
(If my english is incorrect, please tell me)

tenses are: past, recent past, present, near futur, futur
apects are: perfective, imperfective

The biggest difference is that tenses refers to time alone, and aspects refers to the timing of the action. It is confusing, I know, I'll try to explain with example after.

You should remember that aspects and tenses can appear both in one verb.


If you have only tenses:
I hunted, I just hunted, I hunt, I will hunt soon, I will hunt

there is nothing about the action of hunting. Only when it take place.


Aspects
and here you can't give good examples without using tenses

the imperfective is refering to an action which is ongoing
the perfective refers to a finished action (eventually a beginning action, but don't think about that)


But:
1) A finished action is not necessarily in the past
2) Apsects have also a meaning of focusing on something


Timeline
imagine a line. on this line there is a rectangle and two points

           |------------|
 past---|------A-----|--------S------future
           |------------|

      .
      .
      .
      .
      .

What you should do.
(Speaking about simple sentences)
-Mixing tense in the same sentence. if you speak about past, make it past, perfective and imperfective.
-If you speak about something you just finished, you can make it present and perfective. But bear in mind that if you add another verb, it should be present too.
-If you have a perfective, there can't be any movement or direction given, since the perfective is finished: "I went/was going to the forest" With perfective, it means you went all the way to the forest. With imperfective you can leave the way anytime without arriving there.

-Tell me how you compresse "ol" and "am" talmaron? I don't know ;D

I know I've quite exagerate the talking, but I don't know how to say it more clearly nor exactly. Please ask anything you want.
Irayo!

Nì'awve, TEWTI!! I am very impressed and your explanation is so illustrative and elegant. There are a few little thing with the verbs in English that might make a more clear picture if cleared up. But they are minor and, I think unimportant. However, if you would like me to just touch them up, I will. I can do that directly.

The only language I know that has perfective about which I feel the least qualified to speak per se is Mandarin. The particle 了 (pronounced more or less like le in French) is used (typically at the end of a sentence, but can also be at the end of the verbal phrase) to show completion. Of course, in Mandarin there is ONLY perfective and no tense, so it often ends up being a quasi-past tense. My over-dependence on <ol> more than likely stems from this ghost from my past.

I have been lazy/cautions about learning (what we know about) past tense in Na'vi because it's not all there yet and that is one thing that I really don't want to get wrong because of the complexity. The only compound past (imperfective) form I know is <arm> from an early note that Paul Frommer wrote to me (actually the first one ever) when he said "Ke fparmìl oel futa ...". That is where we originally got fpìl and futa. He translated it as "I didn't think", but it seems to me it has to be "I was not thinking..." Perhaps your <alm> is correct for fpalmìl (I finished thinking). I. Don't. Know.

I understand most of what you wrote conceptually from some fragments of the way Japanese works too in some specific cases. For example, they usually separate the verbs for falling asleep, neru (寝る) and sleeping through the night nemuru (眠る). I believe that this will likely be expressed richly in Na'vi with the combination of past/perfective/imperfective, etc. It will be exciting to learn it, but I will likely wait for the correct tables with all of the contractions.

So my next question is, via which language or languages do you understand the perfective so well?

Kìyevame (ulte nìmun, irayo!)


Offline omängum fra'uti

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Re: Verbs: apects and tenses
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2010, 02:10:38 am »
I wouldn't say you rely on the (present) perfective any more than Frommer does.  He peppers them about like candy, and only throws tense in occasionally.  When you're telling a story of something you did, I imagine tense will enter into it a lot, but when you're talking about past events with respect to the present, it seems to me that perfective is exactly what the doctor ordered.
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Offline Skyinou

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Re: Verbs: apects and tenses
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2010, 05:51:47 am »
Nì'awve, TEWTI!! I am very impressed and your explanation is so illustrative and elegant. There are a few little thing with the verbs in English that might make a more clear picture if cleared up. But they are minor and, I think unimportant. However, if you would like me to just touch them up, I will. I can do that directly.
Irayo! And yes the corrections would really help! Irayo!

Quote
I believe that this will likely be expressed richly in Na'vi with the combination of past/perfective/imperfective, etc. It will be exciting to learn it, but I will likely wait for the correct tables with all of the contractions.
That is the problem. We don't now exactly. But as we understand now, it's just beautiful and full of possibilities. It make the language difficult to understand with our way of thinking, but one can focus on sound more, and make ring his sentences nicely!

Quote
So my next question is, via which language or languages do you understand the perfective so well?
From a mix of english and french. (Some german too, but it was a very long time ago) And a lot of mathematic based thinking.
I probably think excessively about that though. There are already a lot of differences between english and french verbs, which help in the thinking of "why do we do things that way or this way" and "when the action goes". The biggest example is "I hunted" SUJ+verb, simple past in english. Which will usualy be "J'ai chassé" SUJ+AUX+verbs in french.(Can depend of context of course).
I really hate that back at school. But now, starting languages (latin and Na'vi) again, I start to understand the meaning of little differences, which seemed useless at first sight.

Now I think about two things.
1) in Na'vi, maybe you can "write" a verb without his tense, when this one is obvious(as you can omit subject, if i remenber correctly). Which make the aspects more used and important.
BUT we don't know about that yet!
2) From the message of Paul Frommer, there are lots of actions that are important to him. so Naturally with a perfective, it amplify this.
I heard the message you sent is a good example. Since the focus is about the message, and that "he heard" after "we send", i would say perfective is good (of course I can't say He is wrong, but it goes with my point of view)
The time isn't important. It could be one minutes ago, one day, that's not the problème.
Once he received the message, he listened to it, and then answer.
If you think about that line here, we use past tenses, but why? Is there any importance of the time? Not really. Just that the actions are done in order, no more.

Anyway, there are lots of occurences where using perfective is correct, but I believe it is good for everyone to think about it. And in a forum, where you write short message, the tense should be more often written. I'm just affraid that everybody will start to make all past into perfective, and that the distinction will disappear as in our languages. Which is sad :'(
« Last Edit: January 28, 2010, 06:01:12 am by Skyinou »
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Offline roger

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Re: Verbs: apects and tenses
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2010, 06:17:57 am »
Just a point, more for our readers than for you:

We're often illustrating the perfective with the English perfect, as in "I have heard X". Despite their names, they aren't the same. The perfect is a mixture of aspect and tense: it indicates that a past event is still relevant in the present. There is no such implication with the perfective. All the pfv means is that we are viewing the action from the outside, as an event, without worrying about the structure within.

Offline Skyinou

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Re: Verbs: apects and tenses
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2010, 06:35:35 am »
Just a point, more for our readers than for you:

We're often illustrating the perfective with the English perfect, as in "I have heard X". Despite their names, they aren't the same. The perfect is a mixture of aspect and tense: it indicates that a past event is still relevant in the present. There is no such implication with the perfective. All the pfv means is that we are viewing the action from the outside, as an event, without worrying about the structure within.
Irayo!
Note that what we usually call "perfect" is actually "present perfect". It has been shortend to not mistake with "present simple". And so, it really contains the tense part.
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Offline Alìm Tsamsiyu

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Re: Verbs: apects and tenses
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2010, 10:49:41 am »
Just a point, more for our readers than for you:

We're often illustrating the perfective with the English perfect, as in "I have heard X". Despite their names, they aren't the same. The perfect is a mixture of aspect and tense: it indicates that a past event is still relevant in the present. There is no such implication with the perfective. All the pfv means is that we are viewing the action from the outside, as an event, without worrying about the structure within.

Yes, this has been made clear to me through various discussions here, but Frommer does translate it to English as Present Perfect.  I'm not sure if he does this simply because English doesn't really have the Perfective Aspect per se or what, but that IS what he did in his recent letter to us.
Oeyä ayswizawri tswayon alìm ulte takuk nìngay.
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Offline Plumps

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Re: Verbs: apects and tenses
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2010, 11:34:32 am »
-Tell me how you compresse "ol" and "am" talmaron? I don't know ;D

I know I've quite exagerate the talking, but I don't know how to say it more clearly nor exactly. Please ask anything you want.
Irayo!

First off: great summary - it was worth reading! And it couldn't be exaggerated because a lot of people (including me) still confuse these kind of concepts (even though I'm German :P - I don't know if you implied something with your answer to Prrton ;))

I've been thinking about that the other day as well - if <am> and <er> go together in <arm> then <alm> and <ìlm> don't seem that odd to me ... but of course, it's only conjecture

Offline Keylstxatsmen

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Re: Verbs: apects and tenses
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2010, 12:23:03 pm »
Kaltxì!
"He was bending his bow (when) someone killed him" That begin to make sense! first past imperfective, and second past perfective

Note also that in Na'vi the near future and near past can used together in the same word! (This may be a colloquialism like "fixin' to", but Neytiri says this to Eytukan in there first meeting of the film:  Pot tspìmìyang.. so I would think it is "correct" Na'vi)

It probably would work for the sentence above, but maybe if it was:

"He was (in the middle of) shooting an arrow when someone killed him".

-Keyl
Oeru lì'fya leNa'vi prrte’ leiu nìtxan! 

Txo nga new leskxawnga tawtutehu nìNa'vi pivängkxo, oeru 'upxaret fpe' ulte ngaru srungit tayìng oel.  Faylì'ut alor nume 'awsiteng ko!

Offline suomichris

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Re: Verbs: apects and tenses
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2010, 12:39:10 pm »
Kaltxì!
"He was bending his bow (when) someone killed him" That begin to make sense! first past imperfective, and second past perfective

Note also that in Na'vi the near future and near past can used together in the same word! (This may be a colloquialism like "fixin' to", but Neytiri says this to Eytukan in there first meeting of the film:  Pot tspìmìyang.. so I would think it is "correct" Na'vi)

It probably would work for the sentence above, but maybe if it was:

"He was (in the middle of) shooting an arrow when someone killed him".
I'm not sure this is a colloquialism; it makes sense if we think about tense/aspect as being defined by the event.  "A bit ago, I was on the verge of..."  I dunno, this makes great sense to me, but that might just be because I think it is uber cool :p

Offline Skyinou

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Re: Verbs: apects and tenses
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2010, 01:35:51 pm »
I think we can translate <ìmìy> by: I was just about to..
Which is a future tense in a past action.
So it would work if it was: He was about to shot (when) someone killed him
And yes it is perfective, but again we don't care about the shoting. and <ol> + <ìm> + <ìy> is maybe too much  :P
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Offline Keylstxatsmen

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Re: Verbs: apects and tenses
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2010, 01:58:48 pm »
I think we can translate <ìmìy> by: I was just about to..
Which is a future tense in a past action.
So it would work if it was: He was about to shot (when) someone killed him
And yes it is perfective, but again we don't care about the shoting. and <ol> + <ìm> + <ìy> is maybe too much  :P

That is a better English translation. :)  (Although I do like "fixin' to") I just wanted to point out that in this case at least tenses can be combined in a way that people may not have realized. 

I think it is weird that we have never seen the perfective and past/future tense combined.  Do you think it would every be absolutely necessary, if we can tell the tense of the perfective through the context? (i.e. stating "yesterday, I.." or "When I was born, I..")

-Keyl
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Offline Skyinou

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Re: Verbs: apects and tenses
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2010, 03:18:52 pm »
That is a better English translation. :)  (Although I do like "fixin' to") I just wanted to point out that in this case at least tenses can be combined in a way that people may not have realized.  
Actually and honestly, I'm not sure of the meaning of "fixin' to"   :P
If someone want me to do a complete explaination about all tenses, aspects, moods, etc.. That's not a problem(with a little time) ^^

Quote
I think it is weird that we have never seen the perfective and past/future tense combined.  Do you think it would every be absolutely necessary, if we can tell the tense of the perfective through the context? (i.e. stating "yesterday, I.." or "When I was born, I..")
It is probably not needed. But expressing(does this word exist?) yourself is being understood without guessing. So yes, when it is clear it will probably not be needed. When you look at the message from Paul Frommer, the context is always evident and fit quite well my description, i think and hope :P.
But I often see <ol> everywere in the forum, and even being used in really imperfective ways, just like it was a general past.
And since many people are asking about aspects, I wrote this thread. (Don't take me wrong, I really like to speak and debate about all this. )
Using future is quite rare everywhere, unless you make project with some poeple. And even for this, you can evade it by using forms like "we are planning to go". I think this is the reason not seeing many future.

For over-thinking brains only:

And with all that said, yes, the infixes that will (correctly) most be used, will be <ol> in actual speak.
My point here is clearly not to suppress the use of perfective, but rather to open the mind of people about all the beautiful things that can/should be done.
I know I talk a lot, Irayo!!  ;D

[Edit] I found what I was looking for!
From Frommer:
"Tì'eyngit oel t<ol>el a krr, ayngaru p<ay>eng"
When I receive an answer, I will let you know
An example of a non-past perfective, from the teacher.
As we can see, the perfective point at the moment the action ends, but this one is not done yet.
This is a way to introduce the next sentence, which is future. Note that if there was only "Tì'eyngit oel t<ol>el a krr", most of you and maybe me, would have think that it was in the past!
Like supposed before, as soon as the tense is given, perfective can be enough for the other verbs.
Nìmun Irayo!
« Last Edit: January 28, 2010, 04:04:35 pm by Skyinou »
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Offline Alìm Tsamsiyu

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Re: Verbs: apects and tenses
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2010, 04:51:32 pm »
That is a better English translation. :)  (Although I do like "fixin' to") I just wanted to point out that in this case at least tenses can be combined in a way that people may not have realized.  
Actually and honestly, I'm not sure of the meaning of "fixin' to"   :P

Heh, it's a Southern US colloquialism for "I just about to..."  i.e: I'm fixin' to go to the store; He's fixin' to eat; You're fixin' to die!

:) (Kaltxì ta Luuuuiiiiiziiiiiäna!)
Oeyä ayswizawri tswayon alìm ulte takuk nìngay.
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Offline Skyinou

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Re: Verbs: apects and tenses
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2010, 05:16:57 pm »
Heh, it's a Southern US colloquialism for "I just about to..."  i.e: I'm fixin' to go to the store; He's fixin' to eat; You're fixin' to die!
Thanks for the info!
Well, then it's quite future, like "I'm about to"
In the movie, it is clearly "I was about to"
We can eventually say again that the tense is not said, because we know the context. But speaking about a verb with already two tense markers, it feels weird for me.
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Offline Alìm Tsamsiyu

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Re: Verbs: apects and tenses
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2010, 11:11:35 am »
Srane, it means "just about to" - proximal future :)

For Keyl's usage, it'd have to be "was fixin' to," past + proximal future.
Oeyä ayswizawri tswayon alìm ulte takuk nìngay.
My arrows fly far and strike true.

 

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