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Re: THEORY: Tenses (was: Re: THEORY: ... Auxiliaries...)

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Thursday, July 14, 2005, 5:54
On Wednesday, July 13, 2005, at 03:57 , Henrik Theiling wrote:

> Hi! > > Ray Brown <ray.brown@...> writes:
>> Well, yes and no. It depends what Max's question actually means. After >> all, >> "I will have" is _grammatical_. It is also analytical and is formed >> using a modal auxiliary. I guess all languages have grammatical ways >> of expressing future time if need be. > > But no, e.g. Mandarin doesn't have grammatical tense at all. You > could use an temporal adverbial in *indicate* future, but that's a > pragmatic way of expressing future, not a grammatical way. You cannot > use future *tense* in a clause or with a verb.
I suppose I was pushing the term 'grammatical' a bit :) I know Chinese does not have any formal future tense (or any other tense) markers. But what I meant that if a Chinese person feels it necessary to mark the future in some pragmatic way, the result is still grammatical. Max did _not_ mention *tense* in his question: "But except latin and romance languages, are there languages that really have a grammatical futur?" By suggesting that there might not be languages other than Latin & the Romancelangs that had a 'grammatical future' he seemed to be putting a very narrow definition on the term *grammatical future*. I guess was equally guilty of putting too broad a definition on the term ;)
> I don't know exactly what Max is aiming at,
Quite - what I was hoping was that we got a better definition.
> but in the way he asked, > many languages do have a grammatical future tense.
Well, yes. Any language which has what is conventionally term a 'future tense', however it is formed, will of necessity have a 'grammatical future' as I understand the term.
> German also has > one, although colloquially, present tense is a non-past tense now, so > it can be used for future events, too.
Much like English :) I think this is possibly a common Germanic feature.
> But still, there is an > analytical future tense verb form, which even has an infinitive that > seems to be lacking in English (I just noticed): > > 'essen' = 'to eat', > 'essen werden' = '(to?) will eat' > 'Ich werde essen' = 'I will eat.'
You are quite right - the is no 'future infinitive' in English neither *'to will eat' nor *'to shall eat' are used (in any dialect known to me). These and the other modal auxiliaries simply lack infinitives in English. [snip]
> PS: I'm very sure Mandarin isn't the only example of languages lacking > tense, or specifically future tense.
It certainly is not. Ray =============================================== =============================================== MAKE POVERTY HISTORY


Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>