Ideal in introductory courses dealing with grammatical structure and linguistic analysis, Introduction to Typology overviews the major grammatical categories and constructions in the world's languages. Framed in a typological perspective, the constant concern of this primary text is to underscore the similarities and differences which underlie the vast array of human languages.
Chapter 12: Tense and Aspect
Tense and Aspect
Part of what it means to be conscious is to have a sense of the passage of time. Time, however, is a great mystery, in large part because it cannot be directly experienced. We only sense that it exists because we have the capacity to remember and note changes from our immediate sense impressions. If we had absolutely no recollection of the past, we would find ourselves to be caught at a single moment endlessly. There would be no inclination of the future because the concept of change would be unimaginable. Needless to say, the notion of time forms a crucial part of our understanding of reality.
It is no accident that language is particularly complicated with regard to describing this ...