Actionality, Aspect, Tense, and Counterfactuality in Kuban Kabardian
This paper presents the fieldwork data on the interaction of actionality, aspect, and tense in counterfactual conditional clauses of the Kuban dialect of Kabardian, a polysynthetic Northwest Caucasian language. Kabardian shows non-trivial similarities to Romance languages in its use of the Imperfective Past suffix as a marker of counterfactuality — alone or as a part of the complex marker of the Pluperfect marker where the Imperfect attaches to the Preterite (perfective past). I show that the choice between several types of marking in counterfactual protases (the plain Imperfect, the Pluperfect, and the simple Preterite) primarily depends on actional class and viewpoint aspect: perfective counterfactuals employ either the Pluperfect or the Preterite, while imperfective counterfactuals require the Imperfect, which is in line with the more general distribution of these tense-aspect forms. Theoretical implications of the tense-aspect marking in Kuban Kabardian counterfactual conditionals are also briefly discussed.
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