The book provides a descriptive account of the semantics of three
grammatical areas in informal Welsh: inflections of finite verbs, perfect
aspect, and progressive aspect. The analyses distinguish
context-independent primary meanings from other meanings which are due to
implications and contextual effects.
The inflections convey factuality, tense, (morphological) aspect, and
habituality, but the inflections and their meanings are differently
distributed over different sorts of verbs. The analysis of factuality
outlines different sorts of counterfactual situations, and discusses
whether counterfactual meaning can best be accounted for in terms of true
statements in imagined possible worlds or in terms of false statements in
the actual world. The analysis of tense argues that it conveys evaluation
time and not situation time, which can be different to evaluation time, and
that tense is not a collection of simple labels like 'past' or 'present'
but is a combination of two times, a deictic reference time and a relative
evaluation time, which organize the tenses as a system. Morphological
aspect is discussed in terms of perfective and imperfective meanings.
Habituality is a property of situations which can be described by all
inflections but the study shows that bod 'be' alone has specialized forms
to convey habituality.
The discussion of the perfect aspect considers the appropriateness of
anterior time, retrospective view, and current relevance to account for its
meaning. The author argues that the progressive aspect conveys a durative
view and the non-progressive a non-durative view, and shows that the
progressive can describe situations which are described by the
non-progressive in other languages. The study also considers whether other
expressions can be aspect markers.
The book shows that the primary meanings of the three grammatical areas are
subject to various constraints.