Re: [tied] Re: The potentially non-stative nature of *es-?

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 7199
Date: 2001-04-23

... Because the English present perfect only roughly corresponds to the IE perfect. The latter doesn't seem to have been used with reference to an "indefinite past" (as in "I have been here before" or "I have met him several times"). This is why *wóid-e meant "he knows" -- a present state resulting from the preterite *wid-é-t "he perceived". In other words, PIE "he has seen" meant no less and no more than "he has in his mind's eye", i.e. "he knows". Now, "he has been at the market" is not a clearly defined present state like that, so there is no corresponding PIE perfect.
However, some verbs semantically close to "be" (*es-), such as "grow" (*bheuh2-) or "dwell" (*wes-), can form perfects ("sth is fully developed/established") and in the branches that have employed the old perfect for new purposes those other verbs have provided suppletive patches for gaps in the paradigm of "be".
Germanic preterites can only exceptionally be traced back to reduplicated perfects. In particular, the PIE pattern *se-sód-/*se-sd-' [sezd-] can hardly have produced OE saet/sae:ton. After Grimm's and Verner's laws we would have got 1,3 sg. *sezat (> *serat), pl. *sistun. No morphophonological gymnastics will turn these into the attested forms, I'm afraid. The Germanic preterite singular stem *sat- shows old *o-vocalism (< *sod-, without reduplication). What protoform or morphological process gave rise to the Germanic preterite pl. stem *se:t- is still a moot question, but I fail to see why the reduplicated perfect of *sed- should have been involved.
----- Original Message -----
From: MCLSSAA2@...
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2001 12:02 PM
Subject: [tied] Re: The potentially non-stative nature of *es-?
<snip> ... Germanic has e.g. Anglo-Saxon "sittan" from {"sedj-}. Anglo-Saxon past "saet" (sg), "sae:ton" (pl) points to PIE perfect *{sesod-}.

I don't see why "to be" shouldn't have a use for a perfect aspect, e.g. "I have been at the market" in the course of describing some occurrence resulting from that visit.