- For Teachers
This difference in perspective might be the basis of the friction that you are finding with some other people.
Evolution allows a system to retain its integrity even when a structure takes on, or loses, functions that it had previously provided. This also leads to vestigial and redundant forms. But we manage to cope - the system does adapt.
But I can see your point. Syntactical purity is mandatory with computer languages but, unlike people, compilers can enforce the correct grammar usage, and evolution of the language is restricted by Error messages and programs crashing.
In artifical human languages, say Esperanto, there might be a case for periodically cleaning up the language to keep it pure. I'm not familiar with any community that uses an artifical human language, but I imagine that, human beings being what they are, there would always be a tendency to use the language 'creatively' in a way that would discomfort the creator and the more prescriptive of users.
Besides, you are teaching my country things much more serious than language. You are teaching us democracy. In fact, I see you acting quite totalitarianly in the most democratic of the environments - the Forum.
Let's discuss issues that are indeed grammar-relevant. You said you understood the aspects. Tell me about them. Prove that Wikipedia was wrong. Thank you.
Last edited by Rinoceronte; 16-Oct-2010 at 08:20.
This has caused, and still causes, problems for those who study the grammar of the language, though not necessarily to those trying to learn to communicate in it. It is virtually impossible to describe the grammar of one language completely accurately in terms devised for another language. To talk about English tenses in Latin terms is almost as silly as - well, talking about English tenses in terms of Slavonic perfective and imperfective aspects.
Latin: habeo factum
English: (I) have done
In both cases the auxuliary verb "to have" in present tense is combined with the passive participle of the lexical verb. The usage of this tense coincides in most cases too. This is not a coincidence.
It was not only you, who borrowed this tense. The Roman languages did that as well. But they understood it correctly and preserved its essence. You misunderstood it, misnamed it, mangled its essence, and now claim it's your own invention.
There are no terms for separate languages. There are global grammar terms, common for most languages. Since most languages have such words as "one" and "many", most languages have the category of number. Since most languages have such words as "man" and "woman", most languages have the category of gender. Since most languages have such words as "yesterday", "today", "tomorrow", most languages have the category of time. Since most languages have such words as "above" and "under", or "strong" and "weak", most languages have the category of voice. Since most languages have such words as "process" and "result", most languages have the category of aspect.It is virtually impossible to describe the grammar of one language completely accurately in terms devised for another language. To talk about English tenses in Latin terms is almost as silly as - well, talking about English tenses in terms of Slavonic perfective and imperfective aspects.
It's not silly at all to talk about English tenses in terms of Slavonic perfect(ive) and imperfect(ive) aspects. It's the least silly thing on earth. Actually, attributing the aspects exclusively to Slavonic grammars, - that is what seems to be silly. Roman languages are based on aspects almost as solidly as Slavonic ones. So are Turkish, Arab, Georgian, Armenian, Hebrew, Indian languages. Indian and Georgian are the most remarkable cases, Ancient Indian being a proto-language for the whole Indoeuropean family, and Georgian being a pre-Indoeuropean language. Algonquin Indians also have the aspect system in their grammar. So, it's not about Slavs. It's about the rest of the world.
You keep ignoring two questions of mine.
As far as I know, the origins of Germanic perfect tenses are not well understood. But I believe their use there became widespread later than in Latin and Romance languages. If anybody knows of any valuable source of information on this, I shall be very happy to learn.
I don't think it's a bad idea to call similar things in different languages by one name. That's generally what we, humans, do - create categories and name them.
I have now highlighted the key words in my original sentence: " It is virtually impossible to describe the grammar of one language completely accurately in terms devised for another language". So long as we know that we are talking about similar, not identical things when we use one name for similar categories in different languages, there is no problem.
In response to your question about the perfect in Germanic languages,I cannot come up with a valuable source, but at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Va...Proto-Germanic I found this: Proto-Germanic had only two tenses (preterite and present), compared to the six or seven in Greek, Latin and Sanskrit. Some of this difference is due to deflexion, featured by a loss of tenses present in Proto-Indo-European, for example the perfect tense.
My (not-to-be-relied-on) memory tells me that the perfect reappeared in English some time during the Middle English period (C. 1066-1500)
Last edited by 5jj; 16-Oct-2010 at 15:25.