Like many languages, Lingála combines tense, aspect, and mood into a single TAM marking. Three of these TAMs pertain to the past:
- a-kɛnd-ákí "he left earlier today" (hodiernal/recent past)
- a-kɛnd-áká "he left a long time ago" (distant past)
- a-kɛnd-á "he left, and he's never coming back" ("irreversible aspect")
This third of these, sometimes called the "irreversible", "ultimate", or "dead" TAM, describes an action that's happened and now can never be reversed. According to one native speaker, responding to a-kɛnd-á with "so when will he be coming back?" is a breach of conversational maxims and will get you a lot of blank stares.
I've never come across this aspect in other languages, and so I'm curious: are there other languages that have a specific grammatical marking for this meaning? And if so, is there a standard or commonly accepted name for it?
P.S. I'm ignoring vowel harmony in the examples for simplicity. What I'm actually interested in is the meaning.