Re: THEORY: Tenses (was: Re: THEORY: ... Auxiliaries...)
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Friday, July 15, 2005, 18:34|
On Thursday, July 14, 2005, at 11:20 , Andreas Johansson wrote:
> Quoting Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>:
>> On Wednesday, July 13, 2005, at 03:57 , Henrik Theiling wrote:
>>> 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.
> Is there any modern Germanic language that doesn't have this?
Not that I know of. But I know from experience that I had generalized and
said "This is a Germanic feature", someone would be sure sure to quote
some dialect which doesn't do this ;)
On Thursday, July 14, 2005, at 07:27 , # 1 wrote:
> Henrik Theiling wrote:
>> I don't know exactly what Max is aiming at,
> What I mean is a futur that is not using a word that has another meaning
> but that could mean futurity like english "will"
> A language which way to form futur can't be linked to another meaning
> that became a way for a futur
> "As you want" and "As you will" are (as much I know) the same,
Yes, much the same - difference nuance :)
> but "I want to go" and "I will go" are not at the same time only because
> one form of the verb "will" has taken a futurity meaning
Um - not so simple as that. In "I want to go", the wanting is certainly
present but "to go" implies a futurity, as if you do get your wish, it
will be in the future, either almost immediately:
"I want to go" "OK, then, of that's what you want, you had better get
Or it might be in a more remote future, or it might be unrealized.
Also there are differences between:
I am going there tomorrow ~ I will go there tomorrow ~ I shall go there
tomorrow ~ I'll go there tomorrow.
The differences will depends upon dialect, context and intonation :)
In the English I was taught in south-east England in the 1950s, the
'simple future' was expressed with _with_ only for the 2nd & 3rd persons;
with the 1st person (singular & plural) the 'correct' auxiliary was
_shall_. If _will_ was used with the 1st person, it showed _present
intention_ (this is my will). The sentences often quoted to show the
contrast between _will_ and _shall_ was:
"No one will save me - I shall drown" ('simple furure')
Personne ne me sauvera - je me noyerai.
"No one shall save me - I will drown" ('jussive subjunctive' + intention/
Que personne ne me sauve! je veux me noyer.
Indeed, that was the norm in the English spoken in my neck of the woods.
During the past half century there has ben a strong tendency for _will_ to
be used in all persons to denote future time.
Also it must be remembered that _will_ does have a 'past tense' or
'preterite', namely _would_ (just as _shall_ has _should_). They are in
fact a _modal_ auxiliaries just as _can ~ could_ and _may ~ might_ are. So
English is certainly not a language where the 'future form' cannot be
linked to some other meaning.
But in your mail on 10th July you wrote:
"But except latin and romance languages, are there languages that really
have a grammatical futur?"
You seem to exclude English then, so I am still not clear exactly what you
are getting at.
I do want to be helpful, as you also wrote in the same email:
"But I'm happy that this discution happened because I was searching a way
to express the futur otherwise than with Tense/Aspect prefixes like past
and present because it sounded odd..."
OK - in an effort to give ideas.......
The synthetic Latin futures did not survive in the spoken language. So
I'll start with the romance languages, to see what they have done.
All the _western_ Romance languages derive their futures from a Vulgar
Latin form consisting of the infinitive used with _habere_ (to have) as
the auxilary, thus:
scribere habeo = I'll write; sribere habes = you'll write; scribere habet
= s/he write.
Presumably these began life, so to speak, with the same sort of meaning as
English: I have to write (I must write); you have to write etc. That is
they expressed something you ought to do in the future. But the meaning
got weakened, and just came to be used as 'future tense'. Indeed, we find
late Latin writing _debere_ (ought - French: devoir) also occasionally
used simply as a future auxiliary - but _habere_ won out.
In most of the western Romance langs the infinitive & _habere_ simply
fused together to give the 'future tense' of the modern languages. But in
Portuguese the two parts are still separated sometimes, e.g.
they will speak = falarão <-- *fabulare habent
they will speak to me = falar-me-ào <-- *fabulare mi habent
Romanian howevver is more interesting :)
[ţ is _t- with comma beneath; ă is a-breve]
The present tense may be used to express immediate future, just as it
often is in English. Apart from that, Romanian has _three_ other ways of
One method is to use an auxiliary verb, derived from Latin _volo_ (I wish,
want) used with the plain infinitive with 'a' (to)*
voi merge, vei merge, va merge, vom merge, veţi merge, vor merge
I'll go, you'll go, s/he'll go etc.
*as in English, in Romanian the infinitive is normally preceded by the
preposition 'a' (to). Indeed, the formation is very similar to English in
that the auxiliary also originally meant 'want/ wish'. However, the with
meaning 'want/ wish' the _volo_ has given: vreau, vrei, vrea, vrem, vreţi,
vor (Latin intervocalic -l- often becomes -r- in Romanian) - the
auxiliary is obviously derived from contracted forms of the verb.
_a avea (to have) + să + subjunctive (which differs from present indic.
only in 3rd person forms):
am să merg, ai să mergi, are să mearga, avem să mergem, aveţi să mergeţi,
au să mearga
An invariable particle _o_ followed by a să-clause:
o să merg, o să mergi, o să mearga, o să mergem, o să mergeţi, o să mearga
If the Romanians wrote _o să_ as one word, the lasy construction would be
identical with the modern Greek way of forming the future, i.e. an
variable particle + subjunctive.
Some ideas ;)
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