In conditional sentences of Arabic, “Perfect” form is normally used. Since it, has no time reference, events expressed by “Perfect” are interpreted as past, present or future, depending on the contexts. In Modern Standard Arabic, however, compound forms, kana qad+ “Perfect” and kdna sa-“Imperfect”, are used to mark past and future time, respectively.
In this paper, I examined the meanings and functions of each of the compound forms and specified the conditions when they are used obligatorily. And I pointed out that lexical aspects play an important role for the interpretation of time reference. When a verb has a terminal point in its lexical meaning, kana qad + “Perfect” can refer to present time. This is caused by its implied resultative state. And when a verb is inchoative, kana lam + “Imperfect Jussive”, a negative form of kdna qad + “Perfect”, can be used in non-past contexts. This is related to the fact that the negated verbal form has only one implicature of a state, which can be interpreted as the one continuing up to the present. On the other hand, kdna sa-“Imperfect” form is used for future time reference, especially when the event of protasis takes place after that of apodsis happens.
These compound forms are constituted by the auxiliary verb kana, whose functions differ depending on where it is used, or what verbal form is compounded with it.
These time-marking forms also function in determining the temporal relationship between protasis and apodosis.
The Linguistic Society of Japan