The aorist in Modern Armenian

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With a remarkably stable morphology since Classical Armenian, the aorist has a very special place in the TMA system of Modern Armenian: since all tenses need either a particle or an auxiliary to be actualized, the aorist is the only synthetic, self-actualized form. The aim of this paper is to account for the variety of contextual meanings that the Armenian aorist can display, refuting generalizations previously made by grammarians and typologists. Foregrounding enunciative criteria (following A. Culioli) rather than referential ones (durativity, temporal meaning, chaining of events, etc.), we identify three parameters able to explain the specificity of the aorist in Modern Armenian with regard to other tenses, and with regard to the aorist in other Indo-European languages.


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