Future and prospective in the Mongolic languages

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The Mongolic languages have a complex system of finite and non-finite verb forms expressing tense and aspect. In particular, they have several morphological and morphosyntactic means of marking future eventualities. It has been questionable whether these languages possess the category of future tense and/or that of prospective aspect, and how the various markers are to be interpreted semantically, though their pragmatic interpretation in context has not for the most part been in question. This paper presents criteria for temporal and aspectual categories, based on the fundamental structure of the verbal system characteristic of Mongolic languages and examines the various devices used to express futurity in light of these criteria. It is concluded that neither future tense nor prospective aspect as such are semantic categories of the verb in most, if not all, Mongolic languages.


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