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:
> Ray Brown <ray.brown@...> writes:[snip]
>> Well, yes and no. It depends what Max's question actually means. After
>> "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.
> PS: I'm very sure Mandarin isn't the only example of languages lacking
> tense, or specifically future tense.
It certainly is not.
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