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The Spem conlang

The Spem conlang: the tense system

This also works with the past and future:

"el ɑn mi vɪrɪθ" = "I used to run".

"el im mi vɪrɪθ" = "I will get into running". A bit of a bad example, but the difference from "im mi vɪrɪθ" is that instead of just saying you plan to run, you're communicating that you're going to make it a regular thing.

I call el the "vague tense" modifier.

"ɑn mi vɪrɪθ, to ɪl tel verɪθ av mi, kyo mi gu vɪrɪθ. eŋ el mi teku." = "I ran / was running, then they told me the truth, so I stopped running. Now(adays) I walk."

I believe this saves more speed than it loses, but it's also for aesthetic reasons: it'd be ugly to have every sentence start with "ɑn" when telling a story.

If it helps you can think of it like this: "The following sequence of events happened: I run, then he tells me the truth, so I stop running." And you might notice that in English we sometimes do a similar thing when telling a story, especially when it's supposed to be amusing.

This doesn't happen if you place a tense modifier before the verb instead of at the beginning of the sentence:

"mi ɑn zu A. kɑ ŋi zu B?" = "I did A. Are you doing B?"

If it were "ɑn mi zu A. kɑ ŋi zu B?", it would mean, "I did A. did you do B?"

"ɑn mi ɑn humi kim jen lɪmɵl, kyo nu kei yɪm." = "I had already drunk all the water, so I didn't have any."

You can also do like this: "im ɑn mi humi jen lɪmɵl" - "I will have drunk the water". You're allowed to combine the tense modifiers in any way that makes sense.

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