Ah, Ken--you WOULD add "completely," wouldn't you? You've MARKED it, and
not lightly: it's over and done with, can never recur: isn't that precisely
what the perfect tense indicates? As when Pilate says, hO GEGRAFA GEGRAFA!
Now French and Italian (I won't speak for Spanish) have a tense derived
>from the old Latin perfect tense that is termed "Definite Past": Fr.
j'aimai, It. amai, perhaps best translated, "I DID love." I suspect that
your question, although I know you're deadly serious about it, is all too
hypothetical for any fully satisfying answer, but I myself will be very
interested to hear what real linguists such as Mari Olsen and Rod Decker
and Phil Graber (is Mikeal Palmer still on the list?) have to say about it.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
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