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Present in Croatian medieval poetry

Kristina Štrkalj Despot orcid id ; Institut za hrvatski jezik i jezikoslovlje

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 241 Kb

str. 259-278

preuzimanja: 962



This paper provides a detailed analysis of the meaning and usage of the present tense in
the corpus of Croatian medieval poetry. The corpus consists of all versions of medieval Croatian
poems and dramatic verse written in the Old Croatian language from the middle of the 14th
century to the first half of the 16th century. The mentioned corpus is the first component of the
corpus for the Old Croatian Dictionary, a project being conducted at the Institute of Croatian
Language and Linguistics. A list of all attested present tense forms was created, and their usage
in the mentioned corpus was thoroughly analyzed. As part of this research, basic semantic
groups were established. Attention was paid both to the present tense in its prototypical, absolute
usage (where the process expressed by an imperfective verb precisely coincides with the time of
speaking), as well as to its relative usage. Time transposition and modal usage have also been
identified. Time transposition is the usage of present tense forms to describe actions, events
and conditions that occurred in the future or past, and not in the present. The usage of the
present tense in such cases creates an illusion of the present, which serves a stylistic function
– therefore, this is not the meaning of the present tense, but rather conversational implicature.
In the analyzed corpus, only the transposition in the past is attested (historical present). The
modal use of present tense forms is very frequent in subordinated adverbial clauses of purpose
(instead of the potential), as well as in negative questions.
The comparison of the present tense syntax in Old Croatian poetry and the present tense
syntax in the Croatian standard language revealed that they are very similar. However, there
exist some differences. The biggest difference in the usage and meaning of present tense forms
in Old Croatian corpus (čakavian basis) compared to the standard Croatian language (štokavian
basis), is the extremely frequent use of perfective present tense forms which serve the meaning
and function of future tense, in all types of clauses. The use of perfective present tense forms
instead of future tense forms was common to the syntax of many Indo–European and all Slavic
languages (and especially frequent in the Old Church Slavonic language), and in many of
those languages is still alive. However, in the štokavian dialect, that meaning was completely
Morphological analysis revealed that the present tense forms in the analyzed corpus follow
universal Croatian morphological system, with some exceptions: in the first person singular still
coexist older ending –(j)u and later continuation –m; ending –t in the third person singular and
plural, and the ending –ši in the second person singular are still present as the result of Old
Church Slavonic influence. In addition, some sporadic cases of ’aberrations’ are listed: forms
živeš, primeš in the 2nd person singular; prime in the 3rd person singular and primu in the 3rd
person plural; tutzu in the 3rd person plural.

Ključne riječi

Old Croatian language, present tense, syntax, medieval Croatian poetry and drama

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Podaci na drugim jezicima: hrvatski

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