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Simple past for immediate future in some Iranian languages
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Linguistics and Philology. (Iranian languages)
2013 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Prospectivity has been discussed by, e.g., Comrie (1976: 64), who describes prospective aspect as a future counterpart to the perfect aspect. Dahl (1985: 112) finds that there is “some evidence” that prospective is “a cross-linguistic category” and that it is encoded by periphrastic constructions. The definition of prospective assumed here is that it is an aspect which indicates a prediction-based or intention-based state that is related to a future, either imminent or non-imminent event which either takes place (non-avertive) or is averted (avertive).

            There are a few constructions found in Iranian languages that match this definition. Of the constructions discussed here for Persian and Balochi, the construction with a verbal adjective and the copula found in Balochi is the most prototypical prospective construction, but also the progressive/prospective construction in Persian with ‘to have’, and the constructions with the verbs ‘to come’ (Balochi) and ‘to want’ (Persian) can be considered to meet the criteria of prospectivity as defined by Comrie.

            Moreover, there is a non-past use of the preterite verb form which could be understood as a form of prospective. However, authentic examples give at hand that a more convincing interpretation of this pattern is that of relative past tense with perfective aspect, an event viewed in its entirety including its completion, i.e. with a deictic temporal centre after the completion of the event.


Comrie, Bernard 1976: Aspect. Cambridge etc.: Cambridge University Press.

Dahl, Östen 1985: Tense and Aspect Systems. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Persian, Balochi, prospective aspect, preterite, perfective aspect
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Iranian Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-277764OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-277764DiVA: diva2:905663
The Prospective as a Grammatical Category: Evidence from Turkic, Iranian and beyond, 23-25 Septenber 2013
Available from: 2016-02-23 Created: 2016-02-23 Last updated: 2016-07-18Bibliographically approved

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