The aorist in Berber

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The Berber verbal system is based on three tenses: aorist, perfective and imperfective. Historically, the latter is derived from the aorist and takes no part in the aspectual opposition. It is used either alone or with a particle. Alone, it only conveys the basic meaning of the verb, provided that the aspect is expressed by a verb, by the context, or by the situation. It can also take on a modal meaning. The use of a particle (often ad) explicitly endows it with this modal meaning and may render a future. Cross dialectal comparison shows that globally the aorist without a particle is in decline. With a particle, it is found in all dialects.


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