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Title: Tense, aspect and modality in Khalkha Mongolian
Author: Song, Jae-Mog
ISNI:       0000 0001 3470 9542
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1997
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This thesis investigates from a typological perspective the semantic and pragmatic functions of the grammatical markers of tense, aspect, and modality in Khalkha Mongolian. Chapter 2 surveys general theories of tense, aspect, and modality and gives a semantic characterization of the major categories. Chapter 3 introduces some distinguishing grammatical properties of the Mongolian grammatical markers discussed in the thesis, with their taxonomic classification. In Chapter 4, we characterize the so-called indicative suffixes as denoting a past/non-past opposition: Past (-laa, -v, -jee) and Non-Past (-na). We also propose that the three Past suffixes are different in evidentiality: -laa (Direct Knowledge Past), -jee (Indirect Knowledge Past), -V (Neutral Past). Chapter 5 looks at the so-called verbal noun suffixes. Unlike the indicative suffixes, the verbal noun suffixes mainly encode aspectual and modal distinctions: perfective/imperfective and realis/irrealis. The Perfective -san indicates that a situation is completed, whereas the Imperfective -aa expresses a durative or resultative meaning. Mongolian also has a Habitual aspect, expressed by -dag. All these three verbal noun suffixes are differentiated from the Irrealis -x in that the former basically represent a situation which has occurred already or is taking place at the reference time, whereas the latter describes a situation which is not yet realised. Tense, aspect, and modality are expressed not only by verbal suffixes but also by some periphrastic expressions in Mongolian. Chapter 6 discusses the most common of them, the Progressive construction -j bai-. Several interesting theoretical issues arise in connection with the tense, aspect, and modality categories. Telic situations can be divided into two different types, depending on whether the situation covers the state resulting from the completion of a situation or not. This distinction seems to be responsible for the ambiguity between a processive and a resultative reading in the Progressive. It is suggested that a similar distinction may be found in the perfective, between (i) the inclusive perfective and (ii) the exclusive perfective. The Mongolian Perfective -san belongs to the former. It is generally agreed that tense, aspect, and modality are closely related to each other and that the boundaries between them are not always clear-cut. This is once again confirmed in the study of Mongolian. The Mongolian indicative suffixes, whose main function is to mark tense, carry additional aspectual or modal meanings, and the verbal noun suffixes, whose main function is aspectual and modal, also carry temporal meanings. It is also observed that the evidential difference in the Past suffixes has different temporal implications.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral