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Beyond simply indicating future or past tense, the languages of the Pano family grammatically distinguish various degrees of temporal distance relative to a reference point, typically the moment of utterance; i.e., they possess what has been called ‘metrical tense’ (Chung & Timberlake 1985; Frawley 1992), ‘degrees of remoteness’ (Comrie 1985; Dahl 1985; Bybee et al. 1994; Botne 2012), or ‘graded tense’ (Cable 2013). This article offers a comparative analysis of the rich graded tense systems found in Pano, concentrating on morphologically expressed categories. In so doing, it seeks to expand our typological knowledge of languages exhibiting this feature, particularly in regards the internal organization of the systems, interactions between the graded tense markers and other grammatical categories (aspect, modality, evidentiality, negation, and number), and the probable sources of the graded tense markers. Despite being one of the largest genetic clusters with elaborate graded tense systems in the world, Pano languages have not been given (much) attention in crosslinguistic treatments of this feature.


This article was originally published in LIAMES: Línguas Indígenas Americanas, Campinas, SP, volume 22, in 2022.

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