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

From:Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Date:Wednesday, July 13, 2005, 14:57

Ray Brown <ray.brown@...> writes:
> On Tuesday, July 12, 2005, at 12:17 , Doug Dee wrote: > > > In a message dated 7/10/2005 5:08:38 PM Eastern Daylight Time, > > salut_vous_autre@HOTMAIL.COM writes: > > > >> But except latin and romance languages, are there languages that > >> really have > >> a grammatical futur? > > > > Yes, lots: Greek, at least some of the Celtic languages, > > 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 don't know exactly what Max is aiming at, but in the way he asked, many languages do have a grammatical future tense. German also has one, although colloquially, present tense is a non-past tense now, so it can be used for future events, too. 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.' As this is not a synthetically formed future tense, German would not qualify if Max meant that. **Henrik PS: I'm very sure Mandarin isn't the only example of languages lacking tense, or specifically future tense. I think Modern Japanese also lacks tense, while Old Japanese had a past tense. The -ta is perfect aspect as far as I know, or isn't it?


Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>
Adam Walker <carrajena@...>
Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
# 1 <salut_vous_autre@...>