Article in:Studies in Language: Online-First Articles
Beyond nominal tense
Temporality, aspect, and relevance in Tariana noun phrases
Tariana, an Arawak language from Brazil, has nominal markers which convey temporal and aspectual information about the noun phrase. Besides nominal future, there is a distinction between completed and non-completed nominal pasts. The completed nominal past has three meanings – decessive (‘late, gone’), temporal (‘former’), and commiserative or deprecatory (‘poor thing’). The latter is only applicable to humans and higher animates. The non-completed nominal past has a further semantic component of relevance of the state or property for the present time. The usage of the markers is governed by the principle of communicative necessity – in contrast to clausal, or propositional, tense-cum-evidentiality markers which are always obligatory. Having special means for expressing tense, aspect and relevance within a noun phrase – distinct from tense and aspect categories with clausal scope – constitutes a typologically rare feature of the language.
Keywords: nominal tense, decessive meaning, relevance, Tariana, Arawak languages
Published online: 23 February 2021
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