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I'm having a great deal of difficulty finding an adequate definition of "permansive aspect" on the web. I know what aspect is, more or less, but the meaning of the term "permansive" eludes me.

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Permansive comes from Latin permaneo, loosely translated as "remain in the same state, be permanent" (English remain comes from remaneo). It is considered equivalent to stative from what I saw in the literature, which indicates a verb expressing a state rather than a change.

It is used in certain Semitic languages, like Akkadian and Old Babylonian, for adjectives that have morphed into predicative verbs. As I understand it, an adjective like "heavy" evolved into a verb that meant "to be heavy". It is called stative or permansive because it indicates a state of being, as opposed to a change. This article on Balshanut explains it well enough, and it is in any case interesting:

Thus Semitic in an ancient phase must have had a permansive-stative form which developed from the nominal phrase, and which in the West Semitic languages was integrated into the verbal system to express the perfect.

  • "perdicative verbs"... Did you mean predicative? – Alenanno May 13 '12 at 8:46
  • @Alenanno: Oops yes. – Cerberus May 13 '12 at 8:59

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