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#4081 - 07/18/00 12:40 AM Re: tenses
Bingley Offline
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Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
Why should were in It's time we were going be subjunctive when it looks exactly like the past tense? In Latin it's simple, there are different tenses and moods and they have, by and large, different forms. But that's Latin. English is a different language, with its own rules.

Bingley
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#4082 - 07/18/00 01:06 AM Re: tenses
Bingley Offline
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Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
What actually is the difference between might and will that one should be a modal and the other a tense?

What is the relevance of German tenses? Why should English verbs follow a description of German? It's like saying German and Latin have a dative and so English must have one as well.

Bingley
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#4083 - 07/18/00 02:59 AM Re: tenses
Rubrick Offline
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Registered: 05/18/00
Posts: 679
Loc: Somewhere outside New York
> Has anyone ever studied the Hopi language? No tenses at all.

Japanese too, I believe. I learned it for a while. Apart from the verb-subject-object orientation of the sentences it made the language much easier to learn.


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#4084 - 07/18/00 07:20 AM Re: tenses
Bingley Offline
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Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
Indonesian doesn't really have tenses in the sense that the verb never changes, which is not to say it can't talk about when things happen: various adverbs of time are used meaning later, ever, etc.

Bingley
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#4085 - 07/18/00 08:26 AM Re: tenses
tsuwm Offline
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Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10523
Loc: this too shall pass
>how many tenses are there in the english language?

having carefully read all the responses to this point, I think I can safely summarize and say that there are (at least) three; they are:

tense
tenser (more tense)
tensest (most tense)

[grin]


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#4086 - 07/18/00 09:31 AM Re: tenses
AnnaStrophic Offline
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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
>>Why should were in It's time we were going be subjunctive when it looks exactly like the past tense? In Latin it's simple, there are different tenses and moods and they have, by and large, different forms. But that's Latin. English is a different language, with its own rules. <<

English is a renegade, hybrid language, a relatively late product of Norman French and tribal Anglo-Saxon languages. Hence we have both "beef" and "cow"; both "pork" and "pig." Latin grammar rules were imposed on it in the 19th century. Just because the "were" in the subjunctive is spelled the same way as the "were" in the plural simple past doesn't mean the two serve the same grammatical function. Again, we are confusing superficial construction with deep meaning. This is not really the place to go into sentence diagramming, but that would be a good lead for you to follow, Bingley ... German also had its dose of Latin grammar imposed on it, and is a language that follows the rules well. Perhaps our researchers-without-peer, jmh and tsuwm, can find you a good grammar site that explains this.


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#4087 - 07/18/00 10:16 AM Re: tenses
tsuwm Offline
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Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10523
Loc: this too shall pass
never one to pass on a challenge...

http://www.humanscapeindia.org/hs1299/h129911t.htm




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#4088 - 07/18/00 10:27 AM Re: tenses
AnnaStrophic Offline
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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
I love it, tsuwm. Great find. You have wielded Ockham's Razor well. But can you find us a "western" site on structural linguistics and the deep meaning of tenses, modals, etc?


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#4089 - 07/18/00 10:46 AM Re: tenses
william Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 200
annastrophic,
are you saying because will is used only for the future it must be a future tense? why can't might fit that category too?
i was also thinking that if "it's time we were going" is subjunctive, "it's time i were going" would be the first person form. to me "it's time i was going" sounds better.
starting to sound like an endless argument here...


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#4090 - 07/18/00 11:05 AM Re: tenses
william Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 200
another question (sorry)
is there a present perfect continuous in the passive.
if i say "the building has been used for ten years" it seems to continue, but "it has been built" would be finished. can say "it has been being built for ten years"? or do i just say "they have been building it.."?
by the way, japanese does have more than one tense. it has a clear past tense, and several present ones; both have continuous forms. there are various ways to indicate future. the verb stem actually changes in the "let's" form in a way that might be considered a pure future tense. there is no perfect, however.


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