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Unlike in English, there seems to be no difference between simple past tense and the perfective aspectual forms as regards time reference. In English, point of time and the perfective are incompatible :
* he has come at 5 o’ clock/yesterday.
In Mao, they are :


1.  a1 na pfoto2 idu3 baji4 coku-no5 { vue }6
      { vu-ie }
      { vu-oie}

my1 son2 { came (?) }6

 yesterday3 at 95 o’clock 4

{ has come }


{ had come }



2.  alemo-no1 idu2 baji3 coku-no4 otu phodu5 { dahae }6
      { daha-oie }

Alemo1 { killed (?) }6

(a) bull5 yesterday2 at

{has/had killed}

94 o’clock 3

Apart from or in addition to the referential meaning of the temporal contour of the action with its attendant sense of current relevance (85.1 below), -oi carries additional meanings5 which are modal in nature. 1. by choosing and using -oi, the speaker says that the action has taken place so there is no need to do it again or otherwise worry about it : the listener is assured that there is no need to think about it again, unlike in the choice of the simple past tense where the situation as regards whether there is need to think or do something about the same activity is decidedly uncertain. Thus, in


1.  loli-no1 otu phodu2 daha-oie3
    Loli1 has/had killed3 (a) bull (for food) 2


2.  ai1 pfo-yi2 da-oie3
    I1 have/had beaten3 him 2


The coresponding Angami form is -wate. Quite probably or even presumably, -wate
  carries all these meanings too, but I didn’t say as much in Giridhar (1980) for want of data.

the speaker assures the listener that there is no need to kill another bull and in the second example, there is no need to worry about or think on the lines of beating the referent of the direct object, since the subject has already done it, as opposed to


1.  loli-no1 otu phodu2 dahae3
    Lolia1 killed (for food)3 (a) bull2


2.  ai1 pfo-yi2 dae3
    I1 beat3 him2

which are matter-of-fact statements and imply nothing as regards what has or has not to be done next. More examples follow :


 kaisu1 imela2 graamar3 kayi4 kali5 rü-oie6
  Kaisü1 has written6 a5 good4 Mao2 grammar3 (so you don’t have to write one
  now or something)’


a1 dzürieo2 isü va3 a-oie4
  ‘my1 brother2 has climbed4 Isü mountain3 (so don’t call him, he may not come this time or something)’


 kolamüi1 osi-so2 to-oie3
  ‘(the) plainsman1 has eaten3 dog-meat2 (i.e. (the) plainsman has already
  tasted dog-meat, he may not therefore eat it now or something)’


pfo1 ovo-so2 bo-ie3
  ‘h1e has cooked3 pork2 (so you don’t have to cook anythingnoworsomething)’


 hreni1 hayi2 sho-oie3
  Hreni1 has drunk3 ricebeer2 (i.e. Hreni has already tasted ricebeer, he may n
  ot therefore take it now or something)’


 a1 ‘my1 wife2 has seen5 this4 film3 (so she may not come with you now or
  something)’cümüi2 sinima3 hihi4 koli-oie5


a1 pfo2 larübvü3 inai4 phrü-oie5
  my1 father2 has read5 that4 book3 (so you can take it, don’t have to keep it
  here or something)’






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