Yet another areal feature in SA languages?

birgit kellner kellner at IPC.HIROSHIMA-U.AC.JP
Mon Mar 1 05:39:01 UTC 1999

jonathan silk wrote:

> Are such features as "unfortunately" possible aspects of OIA verb aspect??

Regarding the Japanese -te shimau connection, it is to be noted that the
completive aspect of this construction applies throughout *all* tenses
and forms, and is not limited to the past. My grammar book cites as an
example "hayaku gohan o tabete shimainasai" ("finish eating your meal
quickly!" i.e. an imperative form).
[This is from the "dictionary of basic Japanese grammar", Seiichi Makino
and Michio Tsutsui, Tokyo 1986]

The feature of undesirability however is characteristic for the past
tense -te shimatta, and even then it is not always present. As an
example, the grammar book cites "boku wa osake o nonde shimatta" which
could mean, depending on the situation, (a) I finished drinking sake,
(b) I drank sake (which I shouldn't have done).

As should become obvious from these examples, it is not really
meaningful to analyze features such as the (un)desirability of an
action/state under the heading of verb *aspect*; they are better treated
in the domain of pragmatics, i.e. as situation-dependent attitudes on
the part of speakers/hearers.

birgit kellner
department for indian philosophy
hiroshima university

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