- Table of Symbols and Abbreviations
- About the Authors
- The Oxford Handbook of Tense and Aspect
- Philosophy of Language
- Narratology and Literary Linguistics
- Computational Linguistics
- Universals and Typology
- Discourse and Text
- Diachrony and Grammaticalization
- Language Contact
- Creole Languages
- Primary Language Acquisition
- Second Language Acquisition
- Remoteness Distinctions
- The Surcomposé Past Tense
- Bound Tenses
- Embedded Tenses
- Nominal Tense
- Lexical Aspect
- Verbal Aspect
- Perfective and Imperfective Aspect
- Progressive and Continuous Aspect
- Habitual and Generic Aspect
- Habituality, Pluractionality, and Imperfectivity
- Perfect Tense and Aspect
- Resultative Constructions
- Time in Sentences with Modal Verbs
- Evidentiality and Mirativity
Abstract and Keywords
A small but significant number of the world's languages have the capacity to express grammatically not only simple tense relations of past and future, but also finer distinctions indicating the distance or “degree of remoteness” from the deictic center, typically the time of utterance. This capacity to express grammatically various degrees of remoteness, whether temporal or modal, constitutes an important dimension of the tense-aspect-mood systems in these languages. This article examines the common bases for delineating temporal intervals—natural cyclic divisions, human life cycle and memory, and epistemic value—and also discusses the concept of remoteness, the typical organization of multi-tense systems, and the complexity of such systems. Moreover, it summarizes three natural daily cycles that serve to organize multi-tense systems: today (Hodiernal), with its complementary counterparts yesterday (Hesternal) and tomorrow (Crastinal); a 24-hour cycle (Diurnal); and a conflation of today and one-day-away (Biduonal). Finally, the article considers complex systems and remoteness, time scales, and deictic centers.
Robert Botne is Professor of Linguistics at Indiana University (Bloomington), where he has taught for the past 26 years. Upon completion of his Ph.D. at Northwestern University in 1981, he spent two years as a Fulbright scholar at the Université Nationale du Rwanda. He later lectured at Northwestern University before joining the faculty at IU. His primary interests are Bantu languages, morphology, and comparative linguistics, with particular focus on tense and aspect systems. A recent publication addressing remoteness issues is Tense and cognitive space: On the organization of tense/aspect systems in Bantu languages (with Tiffany Kershner) (Cognitive Linguistics, 2008).
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