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Enabling JavaScript in your browser will allow you to experience all the features of our site. Learn how to enable JavaScript on your browser. This book addresses some methodological problems in the study of tense, aspect and action: How should linguists go about describing these categories and with what terminology?

How does our work in this area relate to descriptions of language s in general? What research strategies should be explored? Bache discusses the interaction between language-specific grammars and universal grammar, including the problems of analytic directionality, semantic minimalism, and the general metalanguage of universal grammar. The book has several sources of inspiration: generative linguistics, structuralist phonology, glossematics, functional grammar, cognitive semantics and prototype theory.

Bache argues strongly for the inclusion of a paradigmatic dimension in the study of the semantics of morphosyntactic categories. Rather than adhering to one particular linguistic school, Bache provides a general description of tense, aspect and action in the form of generalizations that should be accommodated in any theory. His research is on English grammar and general Linguistics. He has published books and articles on adjective order, relative clauses, language pedagogy, syntax and the semantics of grammatical categories.

Table of Contents Contents: Discussion of the methodological problems in the study of tense, aspect and action - Proposal of a new approach to the general metalanguage and universal grammar - A general-linguistic description of tense, aspect and action on the basis of the research strategies proposed. In the case of the future perfect, this 'other time' is t 0 , which makes the future perfect an absolute-relative tense , because it relates its situation time to an orientation time this is the relative component which is itself related to t 0 this is the absolute component.

With the conditional perfect, neither of the orientation times is t 0 , which means that this tense has two relative components; Declerck calls this tense a ' complex relative tense ' The only two tenses which can be differentiated morphologically are the present and the past. All other tenses are formed with the help of auxiliaries.

Declerck All tenses which show present tense inflection present perfect, future, future perfect create a present time-sphere. All tenses exhibiting past tense morphology past perfect, conditional tense, conditional perfect create a past time-sphere cf. The main evidence for this is that all tenses carry either a past or a nonpast present tense morpheme.

Grammatical tense - Wikipedia

Declerck represents this mental division of time as two time-spheres cf. The present time-sphere contains the present zone which coincides with t 0 , the pre-present zone which leads up to t 0 , and the post-present zone which begins immediately after t 0. In order to locate a situation in one of these zones, the present, present perfect or future are used. The past time-sphere lies wholly before t 0. In order to locate a situation in the past time-sphere, the past perfect, conditional tense or conditional perfect are used. The past time-sphere is conceived of as disconnected from the present time-sphere.

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The forms of the present of all verbs except be and have are homophonous with the stem of the verb e. Since t0 is a point in time, the situation time is also a point in time.


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The full situation expressed by the tense form takes one of the following forms:. In this case the situation time coincides with the time of the entire situation and is thus punctual, too. In this case, the situation time cannot be located at punctual t 0. This is only possible if the entire situation is homogeneous, which means that the sentence denoting the situation can be used not only to describe the situation as a whole, but also each portion of it e.

Sentence 9 is homogeneous: if I am working for a period of time, then this sentence is a valid description of any part of the situation that coincides with t 0. The regular past tense form consists of the stem of the verb and an allophone of the suffix -ed e. Verbs which form their past in this way are called 'weak verbs' or 'regular verbs'.

Grammatical tense

There is another large group of English verbs which are called 'strong verbs' or 'irregular verbs'. These verbs form their past not by adding a suffix, but by other means, e.

The past tense is used to locate a situation time in the past time-sphere. Chapter 4.

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In order for sentences in the past to be interpretable, they have to establish a so-called 'anchor-time' mostly by adverbials , which can be either definite or indefinite. If the entire situation is durative and homogeneous, and if there is no indication that the situation time is not the time of the entire situation, the past tense normally implicates that the entire situation is completely over at t 0.

This implicature is founded on the assumption that, since statements about the present are more relevant than statements about the past or future, a situation that includes t 0 should be located in the present, not in the past. Hence, if a speaker uses the past tense, this is interpreted as a sign that the speaker cannot use the present tense because the situation is completely over:.

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As with other implicatures, this interpretation of the entire situation having ended can be cancelled by the context. Thus, a situation in the past tense can of course still be actualizing at t 0 :. But look in the kitchen. When uttering He was there two minutes ago the speaker focuses on that part of the situation which is simultaneous with the anchor-time indicated by two minutes ago.

In this case, the situation time is represented as past, but this does not exclude the possibility of the full situation still actualizing at t 0. The present perfect is an English tense which locates a situation time in the pre-present time zone of the present time-sphere leading up to, but not necessarily including, t 0.

It is a complex tense, composed by a form of to have and the past participle of a main verb. If a clause contains an adverbial which specifies the situation time, as in She hasn't seen him for a year , the pre-present zone is taken to be the time denoted by the adverbial i. The different interpretations of the present perfect are due to different relations between the situation time and t 0. In both interpretations, the beginning of the pre-present zone can be specified by time adverbials. If there is no adverbial, the pre-present zone is taken to be the shortest possible period up to t 0 , depending on the semantics of the relevant clause.

Within the scope of this analysis, three temporal readings can be distinguished which further specify the above-mentioned two categories:. The past perfect is complex tense, made up of a form of to have in the past and the past participle of a main verb. The past perfect behaves similarly to the past, the main difference being that the past is an absolute tense, while the past perfect is a relative one.

Section 4. The past perfect can be used to express the modal concept of counterfactuality in that-clauses depending on the verb wish:. The English future is a complex tense which can be expressed in one of two ways. The future is used when a speaker wants to refer to a situation time that lies in the post-present zone of the present time-sphere.

Study of Aspect, Tense, and Action: Towards a Theory of the Semantics of Grammatical Categories

The situation can be located completely after t 0 22 , or it can include a timespan which begins at t 0 and stretches into the future Typically, the future tense is used as in 22 , i. This tense carries an implicature that the situation begins after t 0 ; only when this implicature is cancelled by an adverbial or the general pragmatics of the sentence is the reading 'from t 0 onwards' possible in 23 , the implicature would be cancelled by the adverbial henceforth.

This implicature is based on the assumption that, since statements about the present are more relevant than statements about the past or future, a situation that starts and holds at t 0 should not be expressed with a past or future tense, unless there is a valid reason for it cf. Some of these forms could be said to refer to the present rather than to the future. The situation that is referred to begins either at t 0 or in the post-present; if the latter interpretation is the one intended by the speaker, it has to be indicated specifically by contextual cues, as this tense form implicates the former..