February 06, 2007

Tomorrow is Yesterday

Yemba is another language where the one word means tomorrow or yesterday depending on context (cf Bill's example from Hindi). On page 160 of the Yémba-French Dictionary we have:

ezó adv. 1. demain, 2. hier.

Additionally, three tenses in this language — immediate past, present, and immediate future — are distinguished only by tone:

the chief just buried the thieves
the chief buries the thieves
the chief is about to bury the thieves

Click on the transcriptions to hear the audio and laryngograph recordings, from my fieldwork in Dschang, western Cameroon.

Posted by Steven Bird at February 6, 2007 06:22 PM