(I don't much give my ear to mises and muses).
Turkish has an unusual verb form that is hard to give a name to. It denotes an uncertainty about the truth of the sentence that it appears in, for example, I heard he was good in bed.
You can identify it by the presence of the three character suffix mis (and its variations...). Unfortunately, mis also appears in other circumstances, so it's not a unique identifier.
Some linguists have called it a "dubitative" tense, others an "inferential" tense, and the travel writer Mary Lee Settle has referred to it as "a verb tense for rumor and innuendo"! Well, they may all be right...
|The Turkish||The English||The comments...|
|1) Geliyor.||She is coming.||You (the speaker) know it first hand...|
|2) Geldi.||She came.||You know it first hand...|
|3) Gelmisti.||She had come.||You know it first hand...|
|4||I heard that she is coming.||Was your source any good? Who told you?|
|5) Gelmis.||Reportedly, she has come.||Reportedly, huh? That sounds pretty official. I guess I should believe you...|
|6) Gelmismis.||She had supposedly come.||Are you being sarcastic with me? What you say sounds like a baseless rumor...|
But in sentences at 4, 5, and 6, the mis form is present and does denote uncertainty -- and more. In those sentences, doubt begins to creep in, inferences are being made, and rumors are cropping up...
Click following for an example of
a full verb conjugation featuring
Truisms of mis
Thus, depending on the "direction" the sentence takes after the use of imis, there is
2) The mis (when used to convey doubt or inference) always refers to actions which are outside of the first-hand experience of the speaker -- that is, they are reported, alleged, or inferred.
3) There are cases in which the use of mis has nothing to do with either inference or doubt. [For example, mis can simply mean had as in...
He had gone to the brothel to pay his respects.
No doubt about it!
Do these truisms help much? Well, they helped us so we've passed them on...
BTW, since we couldn't think of a better name on our own, we decided to join those who call this 'thing' the Dubitative Tense. Our decision probably won't satisfy anyone -- least of all, us. But we had to give it a name so we could pick it up, glare at it, and work with it -- while we try to figure out how it works. We needed to call it something, so...we did.
You know... this mis business needs more mulling over... (So there will be more dubitative [say it 5 times fast] thoughts to come!)
Used in accordance with the rule of vowel harmony, the forms of mis are: mis itself, mIs, müs, and mus.