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ZAhO tenses explained

Here are extracts from a very helpful two year old message about the
ZAhO tenses, from lojbab.  A critical point is that the ZAhO tenses
are *not* the same as English tenses.  They are fundamentally

    Date:         Mon, 28 Oct 1991 01:09:28 -0500

    ... the concepts are very un-English, and where they overlap with
    English, they do so in ways that average English speakers won't
    recognize because they are not all that aware of the semantics
    implicit in English tense.

     ... The definition of the members of ZAhO are closely tied to the
    structure of Aristotelian events.  Most of these have no exact
    English counterpart.

     ...To understand these involves thinking about what pc calls
    'event contours':

    a) a point event (achievement abstract) has the contour of a point
    a single spike when the event starts and ends;                      _|_

      the beginning is the middle is the end, one word "co'i" covers
      the 'point' as a tense, although there is a before (pu'o) and an
      after (ba'o)

    b) a state has a beginning and an end, and during a state-event the  ___
    predicate is 'smooth' and continuous with no substructure          _|   |_

      a state therefore has a before (pu'o) an after (ba'o) and a
      during (ca'o), as well as two point-events - an initiative
      (co'a) and a cessitive (co'u) to mark the points of

    c) an activity looks very much like a state, except that it has a
    substructure,  each element of which might have its own contours  _|||||_

       all the words for states apply

    d) a process evolves through stages which might be subprocesses,
    or activities, etc.  But unlike the other events a process has a
    starting state and a natural ending state, and MAY not proceed to
    that natural ending or may continue too long.

       This leads to a complex contour, as the diagram shows.

                                                ___ ------ _______
                                            ___/   |      |za'o   |
                                         __/       |______|___
                                      pu'o |  ca'o |      |ba'o
                                          co'a   co'u    mo'u

    pu'o is the time leading up to the process (the getting ready/anticipation)
        the start of which is the initiation (co'a)

    ca'o is the time during the process

    ba'o is the time after the process stops (the aftermath)
        but a process may stop when naturally completed (mo'u) or it may stop
        incomplet or it may continue too long.  Whenever it does stop,
        whether 'complete' or not is the cessitive (co'u), and if it continues
        too long, the time in which the process so overreaches is called the
        superfective (za'o)


    >        le  mo'u    zdani cu po'ayfa'u      (spoja   farlu)
    >        the expired house    fell to pieces (explode fall)
    >            (from mulno; natural end of process)

    the completitive of a house is when it naturally decays out of being a
    house to become something no-longer-a-house (ba'o zdani)

    If the house were razed before it's natural lifetime, that point of
    falling to pieces would NOT be "mo'u zdani", but rather "co'u zdani"
    (co'u can also apply to the mo'u point).  If someone were to continue
    living in the house after it had decayed to the point where it would no
    longer be considered a house, say an inhabitant of a condemned
    structure, that person is inhabiting "lo za'o zdani"

    >        ko'a zbacfa         le  co'a zdani (zbasu    cfari)
    >        they began building the new  house (assemble initiate)
    >                                (from krasi; start of process)

    This says they initiated the start of it being a house.  I think it
    isn't a house until the building is mostly done, so would use "pu'o"
    "They began building the about-to-be-a-house." "co'a" might apply
    to the christening or moving-in.