Vol. 24:1 (2007) ► pp.31–56
On the development of the tense/aspect system in Early New and New Persian
The unique documentation of the Iranian family of languages provides a rare opportunity to study the development of a verbal system over the span of several millennia. We argue that the rise of the Early New Persian aspectual type was a consequence of the loss of ergative typology, examining the rise of continuous and progressive aspects, and further development in the retrospective aspect, most notably the appearance of the perfect continuous. Another section is devoted to the study of the rise of the innovative ‘become’-passive. In both sections we pay special attention to the appearance of New Persian surcomposé formations and we review their analysis in the context of a number of interesting parallels in other IE and non-IE languages, pointing out some avenues for further comparative research in this area (especially the trend of the perfect and its surcomposé formations to develop inferential meaning). To strengthen our argument, we look at diverging developments in several Khorasani dialects which recall the Early New Persian state of affairs.
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