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Re: CHAT: Nonstandard usage (was Natural language change (was Re:Charlie and I))

From:Don Blaheta <dpb@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 28, 1999, 8:23
Quoth Thomas R. Wier:
> Eric Christopherson wrote: > > Re: preterit vs. perfect, I think "did you do your homework" sounds > > perfectly appropriate, and "have you done your homework" is ok too (but=
> > sounds a bit formal). >=20 > But the question was not about "Did you do your homework?"; that > is also perfectly normal for me to say. What I was getting at was that > use of "yet" to take on the full load of the perfectivity: I find it odd > when someone says "Did you do your homework *yet*?"
The mind boggles. Now that you point this out, I understand what you mean, but I didn't even understand the objection at first. Yeah, I rarely use "have" *except* if the main verb is "be" (where the distinction carries). Did you do your homework? He did his homework. Did you do your homework yet? He did his homework already. *Have you done your homework [yet]? *He's done his homework [already]. Have you been sick? I been sick. You been sick. He's been sick. she's been, we been, they be= en. Were you sick? I was sick. (Fun side note: that the =B4ve disappears, at least when I'm not being careful to be formal.) For most verbs though, it's just the preterite form I use, with adverbs carrying the aspectual burden. It occurs to me that this might be why I've been having a hard time distinguishing the French tenses "pass=E9 compos=E9" and "imparfait"---I was mapping them over to the English distinction, roughly, which I didn't realise that I don't really use. ;)
> > However, it really annoys me to hear people use the perfect tense > > where one would usually use the past tense, e.g. there was a > > commercial where a woman said something like "Tony's been my dentist > > since I've been a child." AARGH!! :)
See, this one sounds clearly wrong to me. I wonder why I've managed to keep the distinction, but only in "to be"...? Are there other languages out there where some tense or mood or such is only used for certain verbs, leaving the other ones to drop into a different tense? Or is that sort of thing usually analysed as two tenses, with identical forms except for one verb? --=20 -=3D-Don< ~dpb/>-=3D- The reason computer chips are so small is computers don't eat much.