TITLE

Future Discourse in a Tenseless Language

AUTHOR(S)
BITTNER, MARIA
PUB. DATE
November 2005
SOURCE
Journal of Semantics;Nov2005, Vol. 22 Issue 4, p339
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The Eskimo language Kalaallisut (alias West Greenlandic) has traditionally been described as having a rich tense system, with three future tenses (Kleinschmidt 1851; Bergsland 1955; Fortescue 1984) and possibly four past tenses (Fortescue 1984). Recently, however, Shaer (2003) has challenged these traditional claims, arguing that Kalaallisut is, in fact, tenseless.This paper settles the debate, in favour of Shaer, based on text studies examining how the English future auxiliaries will/would and is/was going to are rendered in Kalaallisut translations of five books: Harry Potter, The Old Man and the Sea, Pippi Longstocking (translated from the Swedish), The Blind Colt, and Black Star, Bright Dawn. The results of these five text studies are reported here in detail and in theory-neutral terms. They conclusively show that Kalaallisut is truly tenseless, but has an alternative system that conveys temporal information, even about the future, as precisely as the English tenses.
ACCESSION #
20123256

 

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