The LINGUIST List is dedicated to providing information on language and language analysis, and to providing the discipline of linguistics with the infrastructure necessary to function in the digital world. LINGUIST is a free resource, run by linguistics students and faculty, and supported primarily by your donations. Please support LINGUIST List during the 2016 Fund Drive.
Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||Alternative Verb Conjugations|
|Question:||I am looking for examples of two alternative sets of verb conjugations for the same tense, aspect, or mood that co-exist in a language. As an example, modern Spanish has two distinct conjugations for the imperfect subjunctive. The older conjugation ends in -se and comes from Latin's pluperfect subjunctive. The newer conjugation ends in -ra and comes from Latin's pluperfect indicative. The -ra set is more popular in the spoken language but -se is still used in written Spanish, and I have occasionally heard it spoken. There are some minor differences in usage but when it comes to the primary functions of the imperfect subjunctive, -se and -ra are interchangeable. Do you know of other examples? Thanks, Judy Hochberg, Fordham University|
|Reply:||If I understand your question correctly, to me the obvious example would be the two French tenses, passé simple and passé composé, e.g. "je vis" versus "j'ai vu", which do the same semantic job (they express perfective aspect), but the former is reserved for writing while the latter is normal in speech (though it occurs in writing also). Incidentally, when you talk about Latin "pluperfect subjunctive", I don't think there was such a thing. Perhaps "perfect subjunctive"? Geoffrey Sampson|
|Reply From:||Geoffrey Richard Sampson click here to access email|