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  1. #11
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Present perfect vs Present perfect continuous (natives only please)

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    To live somewhere is a continuous action, whereas to drink is a momentary one.
    What do you think about this sentence, konungursvia (and others)?

    I have drunk for years.

  2. #12
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Present perfect vs Present perfect continuous (natives only please)

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    I have drunk for years.
    It suggests to me that the speaker is confessing to a long-term love of the bottle. The progressive form would also be possible. I am not sure about the difference - I'll have to think about that.

  3. #13
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    Default Re: Present perfect vs Present perfect continuous (natives only please)

    Iíve tried it out with Iíve smoked/been smoking for years, and also with driven/been driving, and taught, been teaching.

    I think that the non-progressive form has a more Ďpermanentí feel about it, possibly because the progressive form is so often used to indicate limited duration. On the other hand, the non-progressive present perfect is often used to indicate completion.

    Perhaps it is a question of telicity. Drinking (a beer), smoking (a cigar) , driving (ten miles) and teaching (a grammar point) are accomplishments. Accomplishments are telic; they have an inherent terminal point beyond which they cannot continue. Drinking (heavily), smoking (cigars), driving (cars) and teaching (students) are activities. Activities are atelic [Ö] no bounds, limits are set and the situation can go on indefinitely.

    So, I have drunk may imply more of an unbounded situation than I have been drinking.

    The words in blue are from: Huddleston, Rodney & Pullum, Geoffrey K (2002) The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, Cambridge: CUP

  4. #14
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Present perfect vs Present perfect continuous (natives only please)

    Thank you. I was quite uncertain about the sentence, because I found only one hit in BYU corpora for "[have] drunk for" with a period of time.

  5. #15
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Present perfect vs Present perfect continuous (natives only please)

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    This wasn't an example of "begging the question," but many people use it incorrectly to mean that a question is raised or brought to mind.

  6. #16
    GUS22 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Present perfect vs Present perfect continuous (natives only please)

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Interesting link. I have been mulling this over. Although historical precedents must not be ignored if language is not to be degraded - it cannot ultimately define it.
    Language is not principally defined by grammar books , dictionaries or websites - it is defined by common usage and principally, oral usage. If this were not true how do you explain the use of language before the first dictionaries and grammar books were written ? What about the many languages that still exist today without a written form ? Language is spoken and then grammar books and dictionaries etc are written afterwards to help explain how the language works - not the other way round. After all the word "language " itself comes from the Latin lingua meaning "tongue".
    There have been many divides in class and geographical location over the years with a variety of different English dialects and accents springing up as a result. None of them can objectively be said to be "correct" or "incorrect" . Language changes over time and due to the "law of babel" changes according to geographical location. Received pronunciation itself, which many view as the purest form of English, is actually further away in terms of pronunciation from the original English spoken by the Angles, than the English spoken in the North of England. What is grammatically correct now was not grammatically correct 300 years ago - yet that doesn't mean we are speaking incorrectly - it means the language changed. I cannot say that Americans don't speak "true" English because they have a strange accent or say cookies instead of biscuits - because the language changed.
    Now there are some basic grammatical structures (like past simple etc) that do not change much and can be taught with definite meanings and rules, but when we get to the finer nuances of advanced English things are much more in a state of flux. Certainly it is too complex to be defined by written language which would essentially kill the language by trying to maintain it in a static condition.
    So that leaves us with a slight quandary - how do we decide what is the correct use of an expression or word ? People often say that an expression is used wrongly - but this may mean that the use has changed slightly or that the person is using an antiquated expression who's original meaning or expression is no longer like the original, or that they simply use the expression differently in their part of the world . Dost thou doubt me ? for example would sound ridiculous in todays English but "do you doubt me" would have seemed most vulgar or even unintelligible a few centuries ago.
    "I'm just after seeing Bill" would cause horror on this forum yet its common usage in Ireland.
    This is why I think we cannot afford to define our oral language with written language because oral language changes much faster than written language (this may be changing as a result of the internet) - and as the wider world community seeks to learn English we have a responsibility to explain to our students (I am talking about more advanced students not beginners, intermediate etc) that the rules are sometimes just guidelines and that the rules of English are not set in stone.
    Lets take the example of "beggars the question" - how do we decide what the correct use of this expression is. According to that article historically it was used to translate the concept of "petitio principii" but at some point somebody decided to use it to mean "raise the question" and now "begs the question" is in common use - and I can see why such a transition might have come about as a antidote to commonly presented disingenuous statements. The I suppose the crux of matter is whether the original change is due to complete ignorance and misunderstanding causing a clear break with the original meaning (in this case possibly) or a transition of meaning which has its roots in the original meaning (in this case again possibly).
    Once its in common use however its it adopts a new meaning regardless of historical precedents - but it will still maintain the original meaning to those who study it to a deeper level . There are probably many expressions used in English whose erroneous origins are lost in the mists of time and yet whose use now is totally accepted. For a while pedants will complain that the use is incorrect - and they may well be right at first - but then the phrase will become incorporated into common usage. I guess this might be viewed as degradation - but I would say this depends on whether the changes in the language reduce the amount of concepts the language is capable of expressing.
    Previously class was used to define the purer forms of English in the UK - however this is no longer appropriate as English is now an international language and the class system and the snobbery it entailed no longer have the power to shape language. So as well as common usage amongst the general population, we could look to popular authors , historical precedents, journalists, poets, historical figures and actors to guide us . We might also want to take into account the level of education of the person talking.
    Basically language is defined unconsciously by the native speaking population , and language, especially its finer nuances, is a constantly morphing, geographically diverse phenomena that cannot be pinned down by the written word alone. The popularity of English worldwide means that increasingly people are looking to learn it and they are looking for hard and fast rules to help them do so. By catering to this need and presenting the language as something that we can learn in such a way I believe we are doing something which is extremely misleading. Non natives are therefore constantly surprised by native speakers speaking grammatically incorrectly. However this is not the case - the truth in many cases is that the language is changing and that the grammar books are out of date or simply not sophisticated enough to encompass the full range of the English language.
    Most linguists argue that all language can be explained by a set of hidden grammatical rules. I am not sure if this is true - in the case of the current thread I believe that if it is true then the rules are a lot more sophisticated than the grammar books would have us believe.
    As children we learn language without the help of grammar books or dictionaries. As adults we decide that we should learn from books . Why ? Some psychologists say that there is a part of the brain related to language acquisition that becomes dysfunctional after the age of about 7 or 8 and therefore it is impossible to learn in the same way as a child after this age. I doubt this for several reasons. I am beginning to think that we are going about language teaching completely the wrong way - I think first we should teach people to speak first and read and write second. I realise this is simply not possible in many places but when you've got things like Language Learning with Livemocha | Learn a Language Online - Free! coming on the scene it's becoming more and more feasable.
    Last edited by GUS22; 19-May-2011 at 18:31.

  7. #17
    bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Default Re: Present perfect vs Present perfect continuous (natives only please)

    Quote Originally Posted by GUS22 View Post
    Interesting link. I have been mulling this over. Although historical precedents must not be ignored if language is not to be degraded - it cannot ultimately define it.
    Language is not principally defined by grammar books , dictionaries or websites - it is defined by common usage and principally, oral usage. If this were not true how do you explain the use of language before the first dictionaries and grammar books were written ? What about the many languages that still exist today without a written form ? Language is spoken and then grammar books and dictionaries etc are written afterwards to help explain how the language works - not the other way round. After all the word "language " itself comes from the Latin lingua meaning "tongue".
    There have been many divides in class and geographical location over the years with a variety of different English dialects and accents springing up as a result. None of them can objectively be said to be "correct" or "incorrect" . Language changes over time and due to the "law of babel" changes according to geographical location. Received pronunciation itself, which many view as the purest form of English, is actually further away in terms of pronunciation from the original English spoken by the Angles, than the English spoken in the North of England. What is grammatically correct now was not grammatically correct 300 years ago - yet that doesn't mean we are speaking incorrectly - it means the language changed. I cannot say that Americans don't speak "true" English because they have a strange accent or say cookies instead of biscuits - because the language changed.
    Now there are some basic grammatical structures (like past simple etc) that do not change much and can be taught with definite meanings and rules, but when we get to the finer nuances of advanced English things are much more in a state of flux. Certainly it is too complex to be defined by written language which would essentially kill the language by trying to maintain it in a static condition.
    So that leaves us with a slight quandary - how do we decide what is the correct use of an expression or word ? People often say that an expression is used wrongly - but this may mean that the use has changed slightly or that the person is using an antiquated expression who's original meaning or expression is no longer like the original, or that they simply use the expression differently in their part of the world . Dost thou doubt me ? for example would sound ridiculous in todays English but "do you doubt me" would have seemed most vulgar or even unintelligible a few centuries ago.
    "I'm just after seeing Bill" would cause horror on this forum yet its common usage in Ireland.
    This is why I think we cannot afford to define our oral language with written language because oral language changes much faster than written language (this may be changing as a result of the internet) - and as the wider world community seeks to learn English we have a responsibility to explain to our students (I am talking about more advanced students not beginners, intermediate etc) that the rules are sometimes just guidelines and that the rules of English are not set in stone.
    Lets take the example of "beggars the question" - how do we decide what the correct use of this expression is. According to that article historically it was used to translate the concept of "petitio principii" but at some point somebody decided to use it to mean "raise the question" and now "begs the question" is in common use - and I can see why such a transition might have come about as a antidote to commonly presented disingenuous statements. The I suppose the crux of matter is whether the original change is due to complete ignorance and misunderstanding causing a clear break with the original meaning (in this case possibly) or a transition of meaning which has its roots in the original meaning (in this case again possibly).
    Once its in common use however its it adopts a new meaning regardless of historical precedents - but it will still maintain the original meaning to those who study it to a deeper level . There are probably many expressions used in English whose erroneous origins are lost in the mists of time and yet whose use now is totally accepted. For a while pedants will complain that the use is incorrect - and they may well be right at first - but then the phrase will become incorporated into common usage. I guess this might be viewed as degradation - but I would say this depends on whether the changes in the language reduce the amount of concepts the language is capable of expressing.
    Previously class was used to define the purer forms of English in the UK - however this is no longer appropriate as English is now an international language and the class system and the snobbery it entailed no longer have the power to shape language. So as well as common usage amongst the general population, we could look to popular authors , historical precedents, journalists, poets, historical figures and actors to guide us . We might also want to take into account the level of education of the person talking.
    Basically language is defined unconsciously by the native speaking population , and language, especially its finer nuances, is a constantly morphing, geographically diverse phenomena that cannot be pinned down by the written word alone. The popularity of English worldwide means that increasingly people are looking to learn it and they are looking for hard and fast rules to help them do so. By catering to this need and presenting the language as something that we can learn in such a way I believe we are doing something which is extremely misleading. Non natives are therefore constantly surprised by native speakers speaking grammatically incorrectly. However this is not the case - the truth in many cases is that the language is changing and that the grammar books are out of date or simply not sophisticated enough to encompass the full range of the English language.
    Most linguists argue that all language can be explained by a set of hidden grammatical rules. I am not sure if this is true - in the case of the current thread I believe that if it is true then the rules are a lot more sophisticated than the grammar books would have us believe.
    As children we learn language without the help of grammar books or dictionaries. As adults we decide that we should learn from books . Why ? Some psychologists say that there is a part of the brain related to language acquisition that becomes dysfunctional after the age of about 7 or 8 and therefore it is impossible to learn in the same way as a child after this age. I doubt this for several reasons. I am beginning to think that we are going about language teaching completely the wrong way - I think first we should teach people to speak first and read and write second. I realise this is simply not possible in many places but when you've got things like Language Learning with Livemocha | Learn a Language Online - Free! coming on the scene it's becoming more and more feasable.
    Just two points (I have to say that I have only skimmed your post), Firstly, I think most of us in ESL teaching do "teach people to speak first and write second". Secondly I doubt very much that any teacher on this forum would react with horror at "I'm just after seeing Bill" I think most of us would point out that it's not standard English but is used in Ireland.

  8. #18
    GUS22 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Present perfect vs Present perfect continuous (natives only please)

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    Just two points (I have to say that I have only skimmed your post), Firstly, I think most of us in ESL teaching do "teach people to speak first and write second". Secondly I doubt very much that any teacher on this forum would react with horror at "I'm just after seeing Bill" I think most of us would point out that it's not standard English but is used in Ireland.
    Thats pretty unusual then - in my 5 (actually more like 6) years experience teaching in many different countries its usually the other way round. The result is you get students who are experts at grammar but who cannot speak very well at all. Its deeply engrained in the way we teach. I have never encountered a school that sought to teach English to beginners without the use of a book. Take the First certificate for example - we spend far more time on reading and writing than oral skills. Even though half of it is supposed to be listening and spoken - in actual fact the listening part involves a large amount of reading and writing and the oral part is quite short and almost totally inapplicable to everyday life (for example comparing two pictures of the beach or whatever).
    In regard to your first post , my girlfriend is Irish and teaches English,we have taught in many schools and she has regularly been chastised by English teachers (native and non native) for saying "I am just after" - because it conflicts with what they have learnt in their textbooks.
    Last edited by GUS22; 19-May-2011 at 19:08.

  9. #19
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Present perfect vs Present perfect continuous (natives only please)

    Quote Originally Posted by GUS22 View Post
    "I'm just after seeing Bill" would cause horror on this forum yet its common usage in Ireland.
    If someone asked whether this is acceptable English in an article or dissertation, they would be told, rightly, that it is not. If someone said that they had heard this, and asked about its correctness, then a member who knew about it (perhaps you) would tell them that it is commonly heard in Ireland. There would be no horror - unless somebody said it is perfectly acceptable in all contexts.

    In this forum, where most people are interested in what we might loosely call 'good English' one of us would point out that it is still considered necessary to use an apostrophe when we contract 'it is' to 'it's'

    Lets take the example of "beggars the question" - how do we decide what the correct use of this expression is.
    We also use an apostrophe in 'let's' and a question mark at the end of a direct question.

    According to that article historically it was used to translate the concept of "petitio principii" but at some point somebody decided to use it to mean "raise the question" and now "begs the question" is in common use - and I can see why such a transition might have come about as a antidote to commonly presented disingenuous statements. The I suppose the crux of matter is whether the original change is due to complete ignorance and misunderstanding causing a clear break with the original meaning (in this case possibly) or a transition of meaning which has its roots in the original meaning (in this case again possibly).
    Once its in common use however its it adopts a new meaning regardless of historical precedents - but it will still maintain the original meaning to those who study it to a deeper level .
    I agree with you here, but my link to the article was to point out that, with whatever meaning it is used, the verb is 'beg', not 'beggar'.

    Basically language is defined unconsciously by the native speaking population , and language, especially its finer nuances, is a constantly morphing, geographically diverse phenomena that cannot be pinned down by the written word alone.
    I don't think you will find many people in this forum who would disagree violently with that. However, while we have no Academy, there are, in each dialect, certain ways of putting words together that are generally considered unacceptable in semi-formal and formal writing. 'I ain't done nothing' is perfectly natural spoken English in certain contexts, and is easily understood even by those of us who would never say it. However, people who do not know that using this in writing and, in many contexts, in speech, will be disadvantaged at times

    There is also the point that many people writing into this forum want to pass written examinations. To try to help most readers, you will frequently find members writing something like, "You will hear this, but I don't recommend that you use it in examinations".
    As children we learn language without the help of grammar books or dictionaries.
    In the beginning, yes, but most native speakers of English spend several years at school learning how to produce forms of English that are generally accepted - with the help of teachers, grammar books and dictionaries.
    Non natives are therefore constantly surprised by native speakers speaking grammatically incorrectly. However this is not the case - the truth in many cases is that the language is changing and that the grammar books are out of date or simply not sophisticated enough to encompass the full range of the English language.
    Sometimes.

    However, when it comes to (semi-) formal language, some informed non-natives know more about acceptable language than some natives. As you said, we need to take into account the level of education of the person concerned. If a learner wants to feel at home in a pub in the East End of London, a non-native teacher will be of less assistance than a local of limited academic ability who left school at 16. However, if the learner wishes to study at a British university, or work for a British firm, a good non-native teacher will be of far more use than the native of limited academic ability who left school at 16.

  10. #20
    GUS22 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Present perfect vs Present perfect continuous (natives only please)

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I agree with you here, but my link to the article was to point out that, with whatever meaning it is used, the verb is 'beg', not 'beggar'.
    .
    Oh I see. I didn't realise you are unaware of the use of "beggars the question".I do not expect you to take my word for it of course as I said in my previous post we can get language guidance from prominent and well educated native speakers as well as common usage. A google search which as is perfectly logical way to assess how many natives speakers use a word or phrase shows the term is in use.
    However if for some reason you disagree with this there are also many examples of the expression "beggars the question" being used in both past and present literature and popular culture and some sources say that "begs the question" was originally "beggars the question".
    Here is just one example of "beggars the question" being used by Tracy-Ann Oberman writing in the Guardian :

    Tracy-Ann Oberman: Sobering thoughts | Life and style | The Guardian

    As someone who trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London and spent four years in the Royal Shakespeare Company and now writes for a national newspaper she probably has pretty good English by anyones standards .
    Here is another example of its use by a top surgeon on the BBC's website :

    BBC News | HEALTH | Transplant drug 'protects against cancer'

    I use it because I heard it used like this as a child at public school in the UK .

    However, when it comes to (semi-) formal language, some informed non-natives know more about acceptable language than some natives. As you said, we need to take into account the level of education of the person concerned. If a learner wants to feel at home in a pub in the East End of London, a non-native teacher will be of less assistance than a local of limited academic ability who left school at 16. However, if the learner wishes to study at a British university, or work for a British firm, a good non-native teacher will be of far more use than the native of limited academic ability who left school at 16.
    Yes but that wouldn't make the way they speak in the East end of London "incorrect" or "unacceptable" - it would merely mean that the way people speak in the East end was not useful for the non - native speakers purpose. It would not mean the non - native speaker spoke "better" English than the Cockney or that they would be able to correct their English to make it conform to what they had been taught. It would simply mean that they had a learnt a form of English which was more suitable to gaining employment in the international arena. I also think the assumption that most people who have cockney accents and inhabit pubs in the East end of London are uneducated reeks of classism, I'm sure there are many people with a strong Cockney accent who also have PHDs .You could equally say learning English from a non native speaker would not help you if you wanted to feel at home in a pub in the East end full of PHD students. It's also feasible that if you wanted to work for Alan Sugar speaking Cockney rhyming slang might help you get the job though personally I'd rather chew my own legs off than work for Alan Sugar .
    Don't get me wrong - there are many non - native teachers who are better teachers than native teachers, in fact I'd say in general that was the case - but I have never met a non native teacher that can speak English better than a native.
    Last edited by GUS22; 19-May-2011 at 19:55.

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