Research studies


Prepared by the researcher : Pro. Dr. Rafik Sulaiman

Democratic Arabic Center

International Journal of Kurdish Studies : Third issue – October 2023

A Periodical International Journal published by the “Democratic Arab Center” Germany – Berlin

Nationales ISSN-Zentrum für Deutschland
ISSN  2751-3858
International Journal of Kurdish Studies

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The System of Grammatical and Categorial Forms of Perfect-Non-perfect Opposition” begins with a description of grammatical forms of the verb, expressing taxis categorial forms in the confronted languages. The synchronic and diachronic approaches are used here. In this way we observe that grammatical anteriority is a historical category:it appeared, developed up to a perfect system and now is starting to give away its positions. Anteriority in the purest way is expressed by lexical means and by predicative verbal forms. As it was expected the anteriority marked grammatical forms have much in common in English, Kurdish and Romanian, as their systems go back to the same source. That does not mean that the category of anteriority is not present in Arabic. But the grammatical elements are not prevailing here. The lexical and lexico-grammatical meanings are used to express the marked categorial meanings, interconnected with those of taxis, tense and aspect are especially closely connected are analysed and furnished with examples taken from translation. An interesting difference is observed between present perfect in English and” Dema boriya têdayî =” Perfectul compus” in Kurdish and Romanian (both formally coincide: to have+past participle). In connection with (the absence in the daily spoken language) of a present perfect form in Kurdish: “Dema boriya têdayî  ” and Romanian: ” perfectul compus” here is taking an additional function and thus, expresses, depending on the context the marked categorial form in one case and the unmarked one in another. Thus, the English past indefinite can correspond to the Kurdish: dema boriya têdayî and to the Romanian perfectul compus in the spoken language, perfectul simplu in fiction and imperfectul, when the lexical meanings of the verbs lexically express an extended action, and thus it becomes aspectually marked. It should be mentioned that a change in the stem vocalism in Arabic which is a typical inflectional language entails a change in the meaning and the form of a given word, that is, the stem vocalism is on the whole a derivational and form of a given word, that is, the stem vocalism is on the whole derivational and form building means.

  1. A. General Analysis

In what follows we shall confront English, Arabic and Kurdish Languages, at times Romanian (distantly related to English) is going to be involved. Arabic, as it was mentioned above, belongs to a family of Languages not related at all to the Indo-European Languages. In our Synchronic analysis we shall use, where possible, the results of comparative-historical analysis.

What is the difference between comparative-historical Philology and confrontational Linguistics( analytical comparison)? For comparative-historical Philology the starting point is the form, the morphological structure of the grammatical phenomena in question. In the case of analytical confrontation the starting point is the grammatical content( when we confront grammatical categories of different Languages), the semantics, the underlying concepts of the grammatical categories under investigation.

The concepts are expressed by means of a system of grammatical forms through the intermediary of categorial forms. It was well known that in the natural human Languages content and form are actually inseparable. We can not abstract ourselves from in analytical comparison and from content in comparative Philology.

What is the actual connection between confrontational Linguistics and comparative Philology?

In what way are we supposed to avail ourselves of the results of comparative-historical investigation when confronting cognate and unrelated Languages?

In order that this problem may be presented as clearly as possible, we shall turn to the category of aneriority in English, Arabic and Kurdish. By confronting, for example, the category of taxis in English and Romanian we came to the conclusion that there is a common tendency in both Languages: The perfect forms in both Languages tend to be replaced by simple non-perfect forms and the categorial meaning of anteriotity is expressed lexically or contextually. This processis more advanced in Romanian, where some analytical perfect forms are now very rarely used.

Our view is that the researcher should not shut his eyes and ignore the historical associations. There is no doubt that diachrony must be taken into consideration: confronting Languages, which have no genetic connection whatsoever is something which, generally speaking belongs to typology, while confrontation of cognate Languages should never be willfully and artificially reduced to the stricter forms of abstract typological confrontation and contrast.

As we mentioned above, two of the Languages( including Kurdish)  mentioned above belong to the same(Indo-European)family of Languages. They are genetically different in the sense that Romanian is a part of the Romance Languages , Kurdish to Indo-Europea- Germanistic as well as  English to Germanic Languages.

Nevertheless, in their subsequent historical development they displayed the tendency of coming closer together.

( D.Melenciuc& R.Sulaiman, p. 40- 41, 1997)

The fact is that although Romanian, having entered the Balkan areal system, has been subjected to a large number of different influence, as a result of which is national character at a certain stage in its development has shown a tendency towards obliteration of its Romance features(at  agiven moment more than fifty per cent of the words were of non-Latin origin).

Neverthless, its secondary reromanization,the widening of the vocabulary at the expense of active borrowing from Latin, Italian, and mostly from French(which took place in the XVII-XX centuries), could not fail to hold back and even reserve the process. On the other hand, the English language, although it remains Germanic in structure, in the course of several centuries has been subjected to such a powerful Romance influence(rough the same channels as in the case of reromanization of Romanian) that a certain rapprochement between English, French, Latin and later Kurdish  became apparent.

The Arabic language belongs to a different family of languages(Hamito-Semitic, but it, like other semitic language, was constantly in close contact with the Indo-European languages.

It is quite possible that both families of languages influenced each other in the course of history.

Before we begin the confrontation of the category of anteriority, we should give an introduction to the metalanguage used  by different schools and scholars in the confonted languages. Here we shall limit ourselves to the system of terms used in the English metalanguage. The comparion in this case is doubt: first we confront different terminological systems of the existing linguistic schools with an etalon system in the English (the same could be done in the other confonted  languages taken separately). This makes it easier for students to better understand the material on the subject given by different schools and scholars. Only after such an introduction we confront the terminological systems of the analysed languages.

It is well known that one of the main stumbling blocks in rational grammatical categorization is lack of a firmly established relationship between the actual phenomena and their names. In other words, the metalinguistic work cannot be regarded as merely taking an inventory of terms. It is mainly a question of discovering whether there is any real difference in the various approaches and theories, or whether it is purely metalinguistic difference, mere conventions on the metalinguistic level.

Often, the very approach to categorisation may be untenable in the sense that the researher fails to keep clearly apart the object of analysis( the facts of the language in guestion) and the metalanguage- the words and expressions used when people talk about the object language. But even if this is not the case, we very often find a large number of different metalinguistic expressions and are thus faced with a peculiar situation: we must compare those different systems and try to understand why the different metalinguistic expressions were introduced.

Very often there is a discrepancy not only in the metallinguistic expression used to denote certain more specific or particular categories, but also in the naming or description of the most general concepts themselves. Thus, if we compare A.I.Smirnitsky’s metalanguage(which was further developed by late Prof.O. Akhmanova in her Dictionary of Linguistic terms)* with the well known metalinguistic system proposed by Martin Joos, we find that what Smirnitsky call ” morphological grammatical category”, Martin Joos, refers to as “dimension of categorisation,”** reserving the name “category” for what Smirnitsky calls”categorial form”.( O. Akhmanova, p.45, 1966)

Interesting results from the point of view of metalinhuistic expression used to denote the same actual or objective facts. When we take the categories of tense, aspect, and anteriority, we find out that the same idea or the same content is found to be expressed by different metalinguistic means.

A case in point is the following: the term”continuous aspect” is by some authors named as “durative”, “progressive”, “extended”, “imperfect”, “imperfective”, etc.(about 20 terms have been registered). The three terms are so close to each other in triplets, n-plets: past perfect: anterior past, antepreterite, antepreterit, , before past tense, pluperfect, prepast tense; present perfect: anterior

present, before present tense, perfect, prefuture tense; future perfect: ante-future tense, anterior future, before future(tense), prefuture tense.

Every one of these accumulations of terms is used to denote exactly the same thing. Very often it is not merely a question of choosing between this or that particular term but the question of appraoch or attitude to categorisation.

Let us begin with the category of tense which is constituted by the opposition of three categorial forms: present, past and future.

These terms are sometimes described by much longer and much more ponderous terms. Thus for the term”present(past and future)indefinite” we can find: “simple present (past and future)”, “ordinary present (past and future)”, static present (past, future)”, “present (past and future) of the common aspect”, “present (past and future) progressive or non-perfect”, etc. Each of the tenses or rather, each of the grammatical forms, which are in English used to denote or express the respective categorial forms of tense, may also be viewed as ” negative or”zero” expression of categorial forms which constitute different grammatical categories.

Thus, for instance, if the categorial forms of tense: present(past and future)which are expressed by the particular set of grammatical expression for aspect and anteriority, there can be no objection, in principle, to stating every time that what we are dealing with in the case of grammatical form like” I work”, “I shall work” are simple or ordinary or static forms.

They express the “non-continuous” or “Non-progressive” aspect and are, besides ,” non-perfect”(in the sense that they express simultaneity, and not anteriority).

It is important to stress the fact that no  categorisation is attainable and no consistent metalanguage can be worked out, unless a very clear distinction is made form the very start, between grammatical and categorial forms as distinct from categories, one and the same grammatical form may serve as expression for different categorial forms, the opposition of which constitutes the respective categories.

(Melenciuc D. p. 56, 1996)

Thus, analysing the great mass of different metalinguistic expressions, which we find in the literature, such as, for instance: generic aspect, inclusive aspect, indefinite aspect, non-durative aspect, non-progressive aspect or anterior present, anterior present, anterior past, anterior future, or before present tense, before past tense, before future tense,etc. we must find an answer to the following question.

Is this accumulation of terms used to denote the same object, or are all of names and words used to indicate the fact that one and the same grammatical form may carry more than one or possibly even several categorial forms?

Thus, for instance, the form of the word”works” is present tense, non-continuous aspect, indicative mood, third person, non-perfect; worked”, which again is a grammatical form which like all forms of the verb expresses the past or preterite tense, the non-perfect or non-a

nteriority, the indicative mood and so on. The over complex metaliguistic systems lead to an accumulation of terms and not to a clear and non-contradictory description of all the categorial forms carried by the given grammatical form. These terms are particularly reprehensible when they seek to denote certain grammatical meanings, such as, for example, the notional category of perfective, indefinite, generic, general,etc.aspect .

 At first sight there is no harming, for instance, replacing the term Continuous/non -continuous aspect in English by borrowing from the Slavic metalanguage, and describing it as Perfective vs. imperfective.

But perfective is used to indicate a categorial form of aspect, while the perfect is retained to denote the categorial form of anteriority, then obviously the system is much less convincing than the opposition of continuous/non-continuousi, which so clearly explains what is actually opposed, for there is a word of difference between the aspectual system of Russian and other Slavic languages, on the one hand, and the aspectual system of English, on the other.

The problem of plurality of names cannot be simply dismissed as something that is purely conventional. It is important to decide whether deal with a purely metalinguistic fact, or whether the difference resides in deeper systemic relationships. Thus, if we compare the terms “continuous” and “durative” aspect, we could regard this as a purely metalinguistic question, because both terms are synonmous.

We could, teherefore, assume that is the word”aspect”is retained in both cases, then however, what we describe as the “categorial form of the continuous aspect” is called the “continuous tense”, we shall have to explain that calling it a “continuous tense” would involve an altogether different acceptation of the term”continuous tense”, it would be a matter of specifying what is understood by “tense”.

In contrasting languages we usually begin with the etic level, then we go on to the emic level(categories) and then return to the texts to make sure that this or that category actually exists in speech at a given period of time.In this case we will begin by examining the category of anteriority in English, Romanian, Kurdish and Arabic on the systemic level and then try to adduce some examples of their realisation on the etic level.

On the systemic level English, Romanian and Kurdish have a fully developed system of grammatical forms expressing the categorial meaning of anteriority.

The category of anteriority embraces the entire system of verb including both finite and non-finite forms. In Arabic the system is a bit different concerning its forms, but practically identical concerning the categorial meaning.

In what follows we could like to underline the importance of two well known scientists, that separately came to the conclusion that the opposition of perfect/non-perfect forms constitute the category of anteriority: A. Smirnitsky for English and E. Benveniste for French. According to Smirnitsky,*”perfectivity” is the realisation of a certain process before a certain moment in the movement of time, while the meaning of the past tense is merely the realisation of the process, before the moment of speaking.

” The difference is most clearly observed, when we compare the perfect future with the usual past indefinite, as in, for example: ” He will have finished it” and ” He finished it”. The meaning of past is clearly expressed in both cases, but in the former the past is referred to a certain moment which is conceived with respect to the future, while with past indefinite it is simply the relationship between the action and the moment of speaking.  ( A.Smirnitsky, p.42, 1959)

Thus, past indefinite should never be regarded as something that is refeered to something else, while “perfectivity”is “anteriority”, it is the meaning of an action which precedes another action.

Special difficulties are presented by the present perfect in English and its equivalents in Romanian, Kurdish and Arabic, because this form was usually described as “perfect of the present tense”. The difficulty here lies in the fact that it is not the anteriority with respect to a certain moment as if coinciding with past indefinite. There is a slight difference, of course, Smirnitsky wrote that if we were to confine ourselves to the general description of perfect, that is, tried to explain”perfect as a whole”, this difference is bound to be very slight and it is very easy to fail to notice it.

In the history of separate languages the borderline between past tense and those formations which are similar in their grammatical meaning to the present( and perfect in some languages)was not only shifted in the course of time, but even tended to be obliterated or effaced altogether. Thus, in the Germanic languages the old perfect was confounded with the aorist, and thus acquired the meaning of past. In Russian the old Slavonic analytical perfect had ousted the old imperfect aorist, but  the Kurdish bears both forms: Çîroka dema bûrî/ = dema tekûz as dema bûriya têdayî and the French passe simple and the Romanian perfectul simplu  lost their perfect meaning and now express a simple past action( perfectul simplu regionally is still found to express a meaning of anteriority).

These forms were replaced by analytical perfects(passee compose and perfectul compus) which in their turn now a general their anteriority meanings. ( E. Benveniste, p.67, 1967)

There is now a general tendency for the perfect forms to be replaced by non-perfect ones, especially in the spoken language. Thus, in English, we can also observe a rapprochement of present perfect and past indefinite, especially in the American Englis, where the process is more advanced.

E.Beneveniste, too, is fully aware of the instability of the system.

He also takes into consideration the fact that, for example, the relationship between the forms il fit and il a fait is always in a state of flux. Beneveniste comes to the conslusion that j’ai fait, may either function an aorist or to express anteriority (being a perfect form)and a grammatical form it carries two different categorial forms( in different contexts) of the same category.

Benveniste in this way in his book Problemes de linguistique generale*, succeeds in giving a convincing explanation of the reason why in french there gradually evolved the so-called temps surcomposees.Thus, j’ai eu fait, for example, becomes a new perfect, for j’ai fait, which in its turn becomes functionally indistinguishable from an aorist. The system is thus reconstituted, and the opposition becomes symmetric again.

In this connection we can conclude that the perfect/non-perfect opposition( especially present perfect/past indefinite in English, “dema boriya teedayii” in Kurdish, passe compose/ passe simple in French and perfectul compus/perfectul simplu in Romanian) is developing in a direction where there is a transition of a grammatical category in a stylistic one,i.e a new category is raising its head, the category of stylists. Thus, in Romanian perfectul simplu is very rarely used in the spoken language, where it is completely replaced by perfectul compus. Perfectul simplu is used in fiction literature and is never used in scientific literature. Thus, this grammatical opposition is gradually coming to express something different, a metasemiotic or stylistic opposition. (E. Onofreiciuc p. 46,1996)

Analysing the examples given in the present work concerning the category of anteriority in Kurdish and Arabic  we could state that a similar transition and simplification process is taking place in this language as well.

Another important point should be mentioned here, the simplification of a system does not simply loss of ability of expressing different meaning. In an involved morphological system, different meanings are expressed by the opposition of different forms, while in a system with a small number of different forms, different meanings are expressed by one and the same form  different contexts or by changing the lexical character of the verb.

Synchronic relationship must be regarded as something that is in a state of flux.

Change is the main category of natural human languages, for they are historical categories, they develop or die out.

By so doing, they follow the fate of the speech community which has created them as the principal means of communication.

As far as past perfect is concerned, it is still often used in all the language under consideration.

But there is an concerened, it is interesting obsevarion to be made in this connection.

In English past perfect is an analytical form, while in Romanian , Kurdish and Arabic past anteriority expressed by synthetic forms. In Romanian there are some analytical forms used in colloquial speech to express past anteriority, but they are used very rarely. For example: Mai mult ca perfectul analitic/perifrastic ( aveam scris,era plecat), perfectul compus perifrastic(am fost plecat, am fost zis).

In Kurdish the perfect is formed by affixing suffixes directly to the last root of the bisyllabic base: Min nivîstibû, 1.Te nivîstibû, 2.Wî/wê 3.nivîstibü,4. Me nivîstibû

, 5. we nivîstibû, 6.Wan nivîstibû

But in Arabic the perfect is formed by affixing suffixes directly to the last root of the bisyllabic base denoting person,number and gender plus “qad” and some time it could be expressed by lexial means without “qad”:

  1. Ena katabtü/ Nahnü katabna, 2. Enta katabta/Enti katabti/Entüma katabtüma/Entüm katabtüm/Entinna katabtina, 3. Hüa kataba/Hiya katabat/hüma kataba/Hüm katabü/ Hün katabinna

أنا كتبتُ/نحن كَتَبْنا/2. أنتَ كَتَبْتَ/أنتِ كَتَبْتِ/أنتما كَتَبْتُما/أنتم كَتَبتُمْ/

 كَتَبْتُنَّ أنتنّ

 3- هو كَتَبَ/هي كَتَبتْ/هما كَتَبا/هم كَتَبوا/ هُنّ كَتَبْنَ

  1. 1. Ena Qad katabtü/Nahnü qad katabna, 2. Enta qad katabta/ Enti qad katabti/ Entüma qad katabtüma/Entüm qad katabtüm/ Entinna qad katabtina, 3. Hüa qad kataba/Hiya qad katabat/Hüma qad kataba/ Hüm qad katabü/Hün qad katabinna.

أنا قد كَتَبْتُ/ نحن قد كَتَبْنا 1.

  1. أنتَ قد كَتَبْتَ/ أنتِ قد كَتَبْتِ/ أنتما قد كَتَبْتُما/أنتم قد كَتَبْتُمْ/ أنتنّ قد كَتَبْتُنَّ

3.هوقد كَتَبَ/هي قد كَتَبَتْ/هما قد كَتَبَا /هُمْ  كَتَبوا /هُنّ كَتَبْنَ

If the particle is added, then it denotes a complete action. The anteriority meaning are more pronounced in the first and second persons. As far as future perfect is concerned, in all the three languages, the forms are analytical: He will have done it. El va facut. Hüa saua yekün faalan(=qad faala). Wî yê kiribe.

The three perfect forms express the same anteriority meaning in the future in the corresnding languages. Having analysed the category of taxis in English, Romanian and Kurdish and taking the English category of taxis as an etalon one, we turn to Arabic and Kurdish and start comparing the system of forms in order to see the real picture.

Wenn we gave a number of sentences corresponding to the English literary standard to Kurdish and Arabic students, the students usually translated them keeping in mind the given register or style, translating into Kurdish and Arabic using, as a rule, the formal style. Now we are going to give here some examples belonging to the marked and unmarked members of the anteriority opposition.

  1. Non-perfect opposition:

 I write a letter. Anna aktubü El-risalata. Ez namee dinviisim. I wrote a letter. Ena katabtü El-risalata. Min namee niviist.

I shall write a letter. Ena saufa aktubü El-risalata. Ezee namee binviisim.  The letter is written by me. Kütibat El-risalata =كُتبتْ الرسالة . Name  ji aliyê min ve  hatiye nivîsandin. The letter was written by me. Kütibat El-risalata=كُتبتْ الرسالة . Name  ji aliyê min ve hatiye nivîsandin .

He is writing a letter. Hua yaktübü El-risalata=هو يكتبُ الرسالة . Ew namekî dinvîse.

He was writing a letter. Hua kana yektübü El-risalata=هو كان يكتبُ الرسالة . Wî name dinvîst.

He will be writing a letter. Hua saufa yekün katiban El-risalata.

هو سوف يكتبُ الرسالة(هو سوف يكون كاتبآ الرسالة)

Ew dê namê binvîse.

The letter is being written by him.  Yüktubü El-risalata =يُكتب الرسالة . Name ji aliyê wî ve tê nivîsandin

The letter was being written by him. Kana yaktubü El-risalata=كان يُكتبُ الرسالة . Name ji aliyê wî  ve  dihat nivîsandin.

The letter would be written by him. Saufa yakonü katiban El-risalata=سوف يكون كاتبآ الرسالة . Name wê hatibe nivîsandin.

  1. Perfect forms: I have written a letter. Ena katabtü (qad katabtü) El-risalata= (أنا كتبتُ الرسالة(أنا قد كتبتُ الرسالة . Min namê nivîstiye.The letter has been written by me. Kütibat El-risalata. Name ji aliyé min ve hatiye nivîsandin.

I had read a letter before he came. Ena qad qa’ratü Elrisalata qabla wa’sülihi =أنا قد قرأتُ الرسالة قبل أن يأتي(قبل وصوله) . Min namê xwendebû berî ku ew bê

The letter had been written before he came. Kütibat El-risalata qabla wa’sülihi=كُتبت الرسالة قبل وصوله . Berî ku ew bê, name hatibû nivîsandin.

The letter will have been written. Sayekünü katiban El-risalata =  سيكونُ  كاتبآ الرسالة . Namê dê hatibe nivîsandin.

I shall have written the letter before ten o’clock. Saufa akunü katiban El-risalata qabla El-saa El-aashira =سوف أكونُ كاتبآ الرسالة قبل الساعة العاشرة.  . Berî saet dih, min ê  name nivîstibe.

I have been writing a letter for ten minutes. Ena aktubü El-risalata minzü a’ashrü daqaayaq

= Ena aktubü El-risalata minzü a’ashrü ( lexically)

Ev bû dih xulek ku ez namê dinvîsm.

I shall have been writing the letter for an hour when he comes.

Saufa akünü katiban El-risalata bi saa qabla qedümihi                       =سوف أكون كاتبآ الرسالة بالساعة قبل قدومه. . Minê  name  nivîstbe bi kaatjimêrekî berî ku ew bê.

He said that he would have written the letter by the time she returned. Hua qala Inahü sayekunü katiban El-risalata Esnaa au’daatihi =  هو قال: انه سيكون كاتبآ الرسالة أثناء عودته . Wî got: Di dema ku ew vedigere. ew dê namê nivîstibe,

Analysing the non- perfect- forms we observe that partically in the majority of cases the given categorial forms of non-perfect opposition are expressed by corresponding grammatical forms. Arabic in some cases displays a more restricted system but that does not mean that the given categorial meanings are not expressed in this Language.

Let’s take, for example, the sentences:”The letter is written by me” and “The letter was written by me”.

Here the Arabic equivalents coincide in graphic form,”Kütibat= كُتبت” in the meaning “was written” = “hatiye nivîsandin” has a logical stress on “ü”and is pronounced with a slower tempo, increased loudness and wider ragne of the voice(diapason). A similar phenomenon is observed in the case of present perfect and past perfect:

– I have written a letter= Qad katabtü El-risalata قد كتبتُ الرسالة = Min name nivîsandiye

-I had written a letter before he came= Qad katabtü El-risalata qablaa qa’dümihi==كُتبت الرسالة قبل وصوله قد . Min name nivîsandibû berî ku ew bê.

In this case there is no difference in meaning  between the Present perfect and past perfect in Arabic!.

But in Kurdish: the present perfect and past perfect are comparable to English  forms: Present perfect and past perfect continuous.

Let’s take another pair of examples, where the only difference between them is both lexical:

-I have been writing a letter for ten minutes= Ena aktubü El-risalata minzü ashaar daqaayaq =  Ev bû dih xulek (=daqîqa) ku ez namê dinvîsm.

I had been writing a letter for ten minutes before he came= Ena aktubü El-risalata minzü ashaar daqaayaq qabla qdümihi          = أنا أكتبُ الرسالة منذ عشر دقائق قبل قدومه

It is very interesting to notice here that the two anteriority forms are not expressed purely by grammatical anteriority forms.

Past perfect anteriority meaning here is realised by the help of the word”qabla”(=before), which lexically expresses emphatic anteriority but it is not intensified by prosodic means, and thus it does not helping us to differenciate between the two identical forms.

Analysing all the examples we can conclude that the lexical element in Arabic is much stronger  than in English and Kurdish, where it is also regularly realised and used in order to intensify the grammatical of anteriority. And in some cases the lexical element is taking over from the grammatical one, as in the case of future perfect forms, sometimes in the case of past perfect and nominal perfect forms.

In this respect we can state that, in spite of the fact that English, Kurdish and Arabic  belong to different families of languages the process of simplification of forms is clearly detected in three languages. Thus, in Arabic in  the spoken language it is usual to use simple grammatical non-perfect forms(without”qad”)and anteriority is used to be expressed lexically and contextually. Let’s take some more examples:

  1. Present Perfect Anteriority: We have had success, and now we are wondering whether it has not cooked our goose. = Qad najaahna, wa neta’ajab elaan fimaiza qad lam tatbağh wazetana.= Em serketine û niha em matmayîne ku wê qaza me ne kelandiye.

I have to ask what you think of the situation.= Yaanbaghî an asaal maza tufakir hewla El-mauqaaf = ينبغي أن اسأل ماذا تفكر حول الموقف. = Gereke ez pirs bikim ka nêrîna te li ser rewşê çiye.

He has lost his German Nationality. Hua qad faqa’da Jinsiyatahü El-Almaniya = هو قد فقدَ جنسيته الالمانية.= Wî himwelatiya xwe ya Almanî wenda kir.

We haven’t smoken for six years.= Nahnü lam nudaghin minzü 6 sanawat=نحن لم ندخن منذ 6 سنوات = Ev bû şeş sal ku me çixarê nakişandiye.!

He has gone out at present and won’t return soon =  Hua qad kharaja el-aan wa lam ya’aud baad =هو قد خرجَ الآن ولم يرجع بعد.= Niha ew derketiye derve û hîna venegeraye.

He has left this morning= Hua qad kharaja haza El-sabaah=هو قد خرجَ هذا الصباح .= Vê sibê ew derket.

There are only three days that Helen has arrived from the country.= Faqat minzü selas  3 aya’am  wasalat Helen min El-balad                            = فقط منذ ثلاثة أيام عادت هيلين من البلد.   .= Tene ev (bû) sê rojên ku Helen ji bajêr vegeraye.

Friz has been here twenty years = Friz qad zaarat hua minzü ashrüna aamin.= Friz berî 20 salan hatiye vir.

The examples with present perfect given above were translated into Arabic and Kurdish spoken (colloquial) language. With rare exceptions present perfect forms regularly corresponded to the Arabic and Kurdish non-perfect grammatical forms. Even in those cases where we find perfect forms in the translation, they can been a Forsyte, you know, anywhere near Parliament.  ( J.Galsworthy)

” Has never been” may correspond into Arabic: to: “Abadan lam yakün= أبدآ لم

 يكن  “= Kurdish to: Tecara ne bûye”

It should be mentioned that “qad” is a form regularly used in predicative perfect forms and it comes from “qad” in the meaning of “already”and thus, we could say that the perfect forms in Arabic are not pure grammatical, they are lexical-grammatical. It is interesting to mention here again that equivalent of present perfect in Romanian perfectul compus is ambivalent to the present moment.

We could differenciate between them only due to lexical and contextual means. In this case we find something in common with the equivalents Anteriority of “present perfect” and “past participle in Arabic.

  1. Past Perfect Anteriority forms: He had bought the meadows on the far side of the river.= Hua qad eshtara El-bürj ala Tara’af El-naher

=هو قد أشترى البرج على طرف النهر .= Wî Burc li ser keviya avê kirîbû.

He had not yet opened his mouth.= Hua lam yaftah famihi baad

=هو لم يفتح فمه بعد .= Wî hîna divê xwe venekiribû.

I haven’t heard him returning and I thought that he had left.= Ena lam asmah bi rajühihi wa fakartü inhü qad ghadara.                                        =أنا لم أسمع برجوعه وفكرت انه قد غادرَ .= Ez bi vegera wî nehîsiyam û min fikir dikir ku ew çûye(çûbû).

The train had left when we arrived at the railway station.

Indima wesalna ila Mahaatat El-qitar kana qad ghadarat El-qitar   =عندما وصلنا إلى المحطة كان القطار  قد غادر   .= Dema ku em gihana rawestgeha Trênê , ew cûbû.

  1. Future Perfect Anteriority: -You’ll arrive next day after we shall have prepared the way.= Piştî ku me rê amede kiribe hunê  roja din bigihin.

Because at four o’clock I shall not have received what I have been waiting for.= Heta El-saa El-raabiyaa saufa lam astalaam ma kuntü qad intazertahü.= Ez dê wê tişta ku li heviyê bûm berî saet çaran bi dest nexim.

He will have been thanked for his job and then let them go and find my doctor.= Hua sayekünü shakiran liajli wazifatihi wa indaha taraka hüm yughadirü wa wajada Tabibi   = سيكون شاكرآ لأجل وظيفته  وعندها تركهم يغادروا وتصادفوا مع طبيبي = Ew dê spasdar be ji bo karê xwe û piştre dihêle ew biçin û ji  bijîşkê(=diktorê) min dibînin.

When we analysed the forms of present perfect in English and its equivalents in Arabic and Kurdish we discovered that in the latter there is a tendency to use simple past  forms in both spoken language.

Present perfect in English is still in a strong position and it actively used both the formal and coloqual language.

Let’s turn to the examples given above of past perfect and futute perfect in English and their equivalents in Arabic and Kurdish. The examples were given to Arab and Kurd Speakers of English to translate them into their native language. Like in the case of present perfect they all had a tendency to translate them all by using a marked anteriority grammatical or lexical form in the tagret formal language.

Only in rare cases simple non-perfect forms were used. But when the translators were asked to use the forms used by people in every day speech, the majority of them started to use simple past forms, where anterioty was expressed lexically or contextually or both.


  1. Comparing English, Kurdish and Arabic the researcher should not shut his eyes and ignore the historical associations. Ther is no doubt that diachrony must be taken into consideration confronting languages, which have no genetic connections whatsover in somthing which generally speaking belongs to typology, while confrontation of cognate languages should never be wilfully and artificially reduces to the stricter forms of abstract confrontation and contrast.
  2. It has been found out that one of the main difficulties in grammatical categorisationis the lack of a firmly established relationship between the actual phenomenon and their names.

The metalanguage of morphological grammatical categories can not be taken for granted and metalinguistic work can not be regarded as merely taking an inventory of terms. It is mainly a question od discovering whether it is a purely metalinguistic difference, mere convention on the metalinguistic  level. Often the very approach to categorisation may be untenable in the sense that the researcher fails to keep clearly apart the object of analysis, the facts of the language in question, and the metalanguage- the words and expressions used when people talk about the object language. Very often there is a discrepancy not only in the metalinguistic expression used to denote certain more specific or particular categories, but also in the naming or description of the most general concepts themselves or it is  a question of approach or attitude to categorisation.

  1. As a result of our research we can conclude the grammatical category of anteriority (taxis)in the confronted languages(Arabic, English and Kurdish)has a general tendency to be replaced by the non-perfect grammtical forms, espcially in the spoken language.

Anteriority meanings are often expressed contextually and lexically, and in Arabic even the prosodic elements are used to distinguish between some anteriority and aspectual forms. In English we can also observe a rapprochment of present perfect and past indefinite, especially in the American English, where the process is more advanced. Identical forms in Kurdish, Romanian and French (perfectul compus and passe compose), where there is not a simple past from like in English, partically express both anteriority and simple past meanings(depending on the context).

  1. all the equivalents of the English present perfect, future perfect and past perfect in Kurdish are usually transposed from category of taxis into a lexical category while in Arabic language are usually transposed from a lexical-grammatical category into a lexical category.

We observe here the same process of simlification and transposition like in the case of the category of taxis in English,  Russian and Romanian.

Thus, in Russian the grammatical category of taxis has almost disappeard. The only forms that still could be found where Future perect is practically ousted from the system, perfectul compus is ambivalent, and partially expresses a simple non-perfect meaning. Past perfect in Romanian has also a tendency to be substituted by simpler forms(in the spoken language perfectul compus is often used instead). In English there is the same tendency of transition from a prevailing grammatical category of taxis into a lexical one.


  1. Melenciuc D.& Sulaiman R, “The Category of Anteriority”, p. 40-41, Chisinau, 1998
  2. O. Akhmanova ” A Dictionary of Linguistic Terms, p.45, Moscow, 1966
  3. Melenciuc D”Verbal Categories in English and Romanian”, p.56, Chisinau, 1996
  4. A. Smirnitsky, ” The Morphology of the English Verb, Moscow, 1959
  5. E. Onofreiciuc,”The Category of Deixes in English and Romanian”, East West, No.3, p. 17, Chisinau, 1996
  6. E. Benveniste, ” Prpblemes de Lingvistique generale, p.67, Paris, 1967
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