Aspect-tense relations in East Greenlandic

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In an agglutinative language, it is difficult to make a clear separation between lexemes and grammatical morphemes, but the ordering of these elements provides a shining example of the distinction between aspect and time in language. In Inuit, the time belongs to a limited inventory of necessary verbal morphemes, which are carriers of the person and number markers. The kind of action and the aspect are expressed by a flexible combination of numerous affixes. In the East-Greenlandic dialect, that which is grammaticalized is not a perfective vs. imperfective, or a complete <i>vs.</i> incomplete, opposition, but an effective vs. ineffective one (action with or without the desired result) whose effect partially overlaps with that of the other two.


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