Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Tense and aspect (was: savoir-connaître)

From:J. 'Mach' Wust <j_mach_wust@...>
Date:Tuesday, December 28, 2004, 14:06
On Tue, 28 Dec 2004 01:54:52 -0500, Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...> wrote:

>> Tomorrow I go to work > >Most languages allow this very construction, do they not? Can one not >say in French, "Demain je vais au bureau"?
When I learnt English, the teachers would correct me if I hadn't said "tomorrow, I will work" or "tomorrow, I'm going to work". What about "tomorrow, I work"? In German, it's common not to use the present tense for future actions. (There are indeed linguists who say that the use of the "werden" periphrasis as an expression of the future tense is a latinizing invention, and that its meaning is rather modal.)
>> Tomorrow I am going to work > >English use of the progressive vs the simple present is admittedly a >complicated topic which has never been adequately reduced to rule form; >but it's not really related to the future tense.
Have a look at an English course for foreigners, and you'll see that English is teached to have two future tenses: The construction with the auxiliary _will_ (and maybe _shall_) and the construction with _to be going to_. The _to be going to_ construction includes a "present continuous" form, but it's more than that. The simple present continuous of "tomorrow me work" is "tomorrow I'm working". To me, having learned English as a second language, it's easy to way what kind of phenomenon it is: It's a progressive aspect. Its use is more difficult to describe. gry@s: j. 'mach' wust


Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>
Mark Reed <markjreed@...>