The Uzbek tense/aspect/modality system

What is usually called the tense system of a language expresses not only the time a state, event or action is taking place, but also notions such as:
- aspect (the temporal inner or outer view of the state or event),
- evidentiality (source of knowledge),
- epistemic modality (degree of certainty),
- deontic modality (degree of obligation, desire or commitment).

The Uzbek language is no exception to that.
Its tense system is basically ground on a combination of time and aspect, which is then expanded to take into account various shades of modality.


First, we present a schema of the basic tense/aspect system.
It is made up of three main axis:
- tense: distant past/past/present/future,
- aspect: perfective/imperfective,
- aspect: focal/non-focal.

Tense distinctions:
- present, past, and future tenses are absolute tenses referring to a time respectively at, before and after the moment of utterance.
- the distant past refers to a time far before the moment of utterance, or in the past relative to a reference point itself before the moment of utterance.
As for aspect, the main notions are:
- the perfective aspect expresses a temporal view of an event, action or state as a simple punctual whole, apart from the consideration of the internal structure of the time in which it occurs, and is in opposition with
- the imperfective aspect, which expresses an event, action or state, with respect to its internal structure. For instance, continuous, progressive, habitual aspects.
- focal (or definite) refers to a state, action or event whose occurrence is contained in a period of time narrow enough to be felt as of direct and current relevance to the speaker, whereas
- non-focal (or indefinite) refers to a state, action or event whose occurrence spans over or takes place during a period of time loose enough to be felt as not immediately relevant for the speaker.

Other notions which are not directly encoded in the basic tense/aspect system are:
- a continuous aspect expresses an ongoing state, action or event which runs without interruption during its lifespan, while a discontinuous state, action or event can be interrupted and resumed several times during its lifespan.
- a perfect expresses the current relevance, at a reference point of time, often the moment of utterance, of an event, action or state that occurred prior to that point in time.

To see the meanings of these terms, you can also hover the mouse over the terms written in italic blue.
Click on the name of any tense to get its usages and examples of it.
Click on the Uzbek form of the tense to get its complete conjugation.


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