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R: French question -- tenses

From:Mangiat <mangiat@...>
Date:Wednesday, July 12, 2000, 11:17
P.Dunn wrote:

> Question about French verb tenses. I know that the perfect is often used > to express simple past: > > j'ai mange' = "I ate" > > It seems I'm seeing the use of the simple present as a sort of narrative > tense. Is this is a peculiariaty of the text I'm learning from, an > oversimplification, perhaps, or is this common in written French. I see > things like: > > je mange la cane, et c'est si bonne. > For what in English would be expressed: > I *ate* the duck, and it *was* so good. > > I'm just confused. Maybe there's a table online that lists the common > uses of all the French tenses. (Spanish is so much easier!)
Northern Italian dialects, lacking remote past tense, always use present in narrations. 'Vu a mangià e ma corgi che gh'è nagutt in dal frigo' means 'I go to eat but I discovery there's nothing in the fridge' but also 'I went to eat but I dicoveried there was nothing in the fridge'. The meaning must be assumed by context. Luca