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Title: A Syntactic and Semantic Study of the Tense and Aspect System of Modern Persian
Authors: Farahani, Ali Akbar Khomeijani
Keywords: Indo-European Languages
Indo-Iranian Languages
Issue Date: 1990
Publisher: University of Leeds
Abstract: A survey of previous shcolarship has shown that there is no satisfactory description of the tense and aspect system of Modern Persian. This dissertation is the first attempt to study the syntax and semantics of Modem Persian verb forms in the light of recent discussions of tense and aspect. This study falls into six chapters. Chapter 0 reviews the literature on the tense and aspect system of Modem Persian and shows that the former treatments of Modem Persian tense-aspect forms are inaccurate and incomprehensive. They are inaccurate in that the characterizations presented therein for some of the Persian verb forms are wrong, and are incomprehensive in that they do not investigate the semantics of all of the Persian verb forms. Chapter 1 is the study of the syntax of Persian verb forms, with special reference to verb formation. Chapter 2 discusses the theoretical assumptions and the methodology. Chapter 3 is an attempt to establish the meanings of the morphological markers of tense, i. e. the past tense marker /-D/ and the non-past tense marker /-0/, and to investigate the temporal values of Modern Persian verb forms. This chapter defines the meaning of the past tense marker /D/ as indicating that there is a time point subsequent to the time of the situation referred to which is the deictic centre of the context of the communication, and that of the non-past tense marker /0/ as the absence of any time point subsequent to the time of the situation. The chapter also establishes that Modem Persian verb forms grammaticalize the semantic notions of anteriority, simultaneity and posteriority. The other major outcomes are as follows: the major tense split in Modern Persian as in many other languages is between the past and the non-past. The Modem Persian perfect forms are tense rather than aspectual categories. Chapter 4 attempts to assign a single invariant meaning to each of the Modem Persian aspect markers (i. e. mi-, 0-, and be- ), and to investigate their interactions with other categories associated with the verb, i. e. with the categories of tense and Aktionsart. This chapter establishes that Modem Persian has three aspects: the perfective, the imperfective, and the progressive, and that the perfective markers Oand be- present the situation referred to as a single unanalysable whole, the imperfective marker mi- presents the situation referred to as continuous at a given time point, and finally the progressive auxiliary dash. t. cen 'have' presents the situation as in progress at a given time point. The chapter also illustrates that the imperfective and the progressive verb forms simply express the situation referred to as continuous and as in progress at a given time point, and as such are non-committal to the completion vs. the incompletion of the situation in question. Finally, chapter 5 summarizes the results of the research and presents some notes with regard to the opportunities for further research.
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