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Discussion Details

Title: Welsh-Hindi link
Submitter: Steve Hewitt
Description: Parallel evolution of the TAM values of verb forms/constructions in Welsh
and Hindi

Steve Hewitt, s.hewitt@unesco.org

While the similarity of Welsh and Hindi/Urdu prosody is probably an amusing
coincidence, of rather more serious interest to typologists are the
striking parallels in the evolution of the tense/aspect/mode (TAM) values
of verb forms and verbal constructions in both languages. In the examples
below, form 1 is present/future in Classical Welsh, and an ordinary present
in Old Hindi. It becomes a simple future in Modern Colloquial Welsh, and a
present subjunctive in Modern Hindi/Urdu. Construction 2 is specifically a
progressive in both Classical Welsh and Old Hindi. It becomes a general
imperfective present in both Modern Colloquial Welsh and Modern Hindi/Urdu.
Both Modern Colloquial Welsh and Modern Hindi/Urdu have evolved a third,
expanded construction (3b: Welsh “I am at her, doing”; Hindi/Urdu “I have
stayed do”) to express what is specifically progressive.

1 = simple tense form
2 = progressive-like construction: first progressive, then general imperfective
3 = expanded progressive construction (later periods only)
a = Classical Welsh, Old Hindi
b = Modern Colloquial Welsh, Modern Hindi/Urdu

AFF = affirmative tense particle
F = feminine
FUT = future
IMPFV = imperfective
PFV = perfective
PRES = present
PROG = progressive
SG = singular
SUBJ = subjunctive
VN = verbal noun

Classical Welsh

(1a) siarad-af
I speak / I will speak

(2a) yr wyf yn siarad
AFF be. PRES.1.SG in speak.VN
I am speaking
Old Hindi

(1a) bōl-ūñ
I speak

(2a) bōl-tā hūñ
speak-PROG be.PRES.1.SG
I am speaking
Modern Colloquial Welsh

(1b) siarad-a i
speak-FUT.1.SG I
I will speak

(2b) rw i ’n siarad
be.PRES.1.SG I in speak.VN
I speak / I am speaking

(3b) rw i wrth-i ’n siarad
be.PRES.1.SG I at-3.F.SG in speak.VN
I am speaking (right now)
Modern Hindi/Urdu

(1b) bōl-ūñ
[that] I [may/should] speak

(2b) bōl-tā hūñ
speak-IPFV be.PRES.1.SG
I speak / I am speaking

(3b) bōl rah-ā hūñ
speak stay-PFV be.PRES.1.SG
I am speaking (right now)
Date Posted: 21-Mar-2005
Linguistic Field(s): Typology
LL Issue: 16.847
Posted: 21-Mar-2005

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