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  1. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #21
    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    The other thing that is spreading in BE is the omission of the auxialiry verb 'have'. This is spreading outside dialect areas into wider circles, although it would still be regarded as an error in exams.
    Yeah. I heard of that. Oops. I mean, I've heard of that. :D

    I've read it has to do with phonetics; that speakers tend to reduce or omit the contracted form of 'have' (-'ve), pronounced as either [v] or [f], to [h], which is a productive sound change process in all of the World's languages.

    Is it slang? I doubt it. It seems more like human physiology is at play. That is, in terms of ease of articulation, it's very economical to reduce the number of gestures it takes to pronounce a given sound.

    Some have even suggested that [v] ~ [f] reducing to [h] started the whole Present Perfect and Simple Past merger. Hmm.

    Cas :D

    Cas :D

  2. jwschang
    Guest
    #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    The other thing that is spreading in BE is the omission of the auxialiry verb 'have'. This is spreading outside dialect areas into wider circles, although it would still be regarded as an error in exams.
    Yeah. I heard of that. Oops. I mean, I've heard of that. :D

    I've read it has to do with phonetics; that speakers tend to reduce or omit the contracted form of 'have' (-'ve), pronounced as either [v] or [f], to [h], which is a productive sound change process in all of the World's languages.

    Is it slang? I doubt it. It seems more like human physiology is at play. That is, in terms of ease of articulation, it's very economical to reduce the number of gestures it takes to pronounce a given sound.

    Some have even suggested that [v] ~ [f] reducing to [h] started the whole Present Perfect and Simple Past merger. Hmm.

    Cas :D
    Sounds ominous. Remember the Tower of Babel!!

  3. jwschang
    Guest
    #23

    Re: Revisiting Present Perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    5. My conclusion (IMHO) is that there are contexts where there is no, or hardly any, difference between the two tenses, and others where the difference is intentional (conscious or otherwise).
    Oh, I agree. It, also, describes the Simple Past (SP) and the Present Perfect (PP) as merging in certain contexts in Singapore English as well. Nice.
    Cas :D
    I think we have digressed somewhat from the original "story" that I heard from my checking up.

    Which is, going back to the "rule": Within the same clause, the Simple Past is used with expressions of a specific time in the past, whereas the Present Perfect is used only with expressions of non-specific time in the past.

    Is there any sort of concensus among us on this "rule"?

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    #24
    I agree in general, although there are some exceptions, such as the AE use of the simple past with 'yet'.

  4. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #25

    Re: Revisiting Present Perfect

    Justice Calls:
    I think we have digressed somewhat from the original "story" that I heard from my checking up.

    Which is, going back to the "rule": Within the same clause, the Simple Past is used with expressions of a specific time in the past, whereas the Present Perfect is used only with expressions of non-specific time in the past.

    Is there any sort of concensus among us on this "rule"?
    Yup. Yes. I agree. Perfect definition. Perfect. :D We've come full circle.

  5. jwschang
    Guest
    #26
    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    I agree in general, although there are some exceptions, such as the AE use of the simple past with 'yet'.
    Myself having asked whether there was any consensus among us on the Present Perfect rule, my own conclusion is this.

    1. The rule, stated in the way that I did, is inadequate for a proper understanding of it: "Within the same clause, the Simple Past is used with expressions of a specific time in the past, whereas the Present Perfect is used only with expressions of non-specific time in the past."

    2. IMO, the use of the term "specific (or non-specific) time" is at the root of the non-understanding of this rule, and the debate arising from it. Plus the "view" that it is some diabolical conspiracy meant to confuse "Asians" (I don't know who can speak on behalf of "Asians", or "Chinese" for that matter).

    3. Back to the examples that I first posted:

    (a) I have seen Simon before. (OK)
    (b)I have seen Simon yesterday. (not OK)
    Have you eaten lunch?
    (c)I have eaten lunch already. (OK)
    (d)I have eaten lunch in the afternoon. (not OK)
    (e)I have eaten lunch at three. (not OK)
    (f) I have visited Dalian in July. (not OK)
    (g) I have visited Dalian several times since I first arrived. (OK)

    4. 3(g) is not in dispute because the "past expression" is in a subordinate clause.

    5. Is "at three" more specific than "in the afternoon"? And is "in the afternoon" more specific than "before" or "already"? This is where the use of "specific" and "non-specific" leads us off-track, and causes the non-understanding and debate.

    6. IMO the rule makes absolute sense, and derives from the very meaning of the Present Perfect tense (but, see (9) below.)

    7. I understand the Present Perfect to express "(i) an action completed at the present time, or (ii) an action begun earlier and spanning a period up to the present time". So,

    I have seen Simon yesterday. Not OK, because it means:
    Yesterday I have seen Simon. It should be: Yesterday I saw Simon.

    I cannot " Yesterday HAVE seen" Simon; whereas I can "at this moment of speaking HAVE seen" simon (an action completed AT THE PRESENT TIME, or an action begun earlier and spanning a period UP TO THE PRESENT TIME).

    8. The PRESENT perfect is aptly named because it is about the PRESENT TIME (but aspect is PERFECT, i.e. COMPLETED or BEGUN EARLIER). So: I have seen Simon before. OK because it does not mean "Before I have seen Simon". Similarly: I have seen Simon already. OK because it does not mean "Already I have seen Simon".

    9. IMO, the occasion that we may use the Present Perfect with a "specific past time expression" is where the meaning in context (as understood between, say, boss and salesman) is "Have you DONE your visit to Dalian FOR July?" when saying "Have you visited Dalian in July?". Of course, so much more concise to say "Did you visit Dalian for July?".

    I hope I'm not adding to the "confusion".

  6. jwschang
    Guest
    #27

    Re: Revisiting Present Perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Justice Calls:
    I think we have digressed somewhat from the original "story" that I heard from my checking up.

    Which is, going back to the "rule": Within the same clause, the Simple Past is used with expressions of a specific time in the past, whereas the Present Perfect is used only with expressions of non-specific time in the past.

    Is there any sort of concensus among us on this "rule"?
    Yup. Yes. I agree. Perfect definition. Perfect. :D We've come full circle.
    If I may add to my last post (to TDOL):

    1."I have seen Simon yesterday" (not OK) vs "I have seen Simon before" (OK). Although "yesterday" and "before" both are adverbs of Time modifying "have seen", the meanings are very different.

    2. "Yesterday" means yesterday, a TIME. "Before" means either "in the past" or "previously". In the sentence above, it clearly means "previously", not "in the past". Therefore, "I have seen Simon before/previously" is OK.

  7. jwschang
    Guest
    #28
    Come to think of it, I would change the definition of the Present Perfect to "an action already completed BY (not AT) the present time, or an action begun earlier and spanning a period UP TO the present time."

    1. This would cover:
    (a) I have seen Simon = BY NOW, I have seen Simon. ("Seeing" of Simon is done, completed, finished, over by now.) This also distinguishes it from the Past Perfect = By then, I had seen Simon.
    (b) I have lived here since 2002 = From 2001 TILL NOW, I have lived here. ("Living here" is ongoing, not finished yet, not over yet, up to now.)

    2. Using "already" in the definitions for the Present Perfect and the Past Perfect is useful because it means "by now" and "by then".

    3. If the sentence uses words like "since" or "for", it still fits the Present Perfect "rule", because both words mean "from an earlier time till NOW (or then, if past perfect)" = over a PERIOD, not a "past time".
    (a) I have seen Simon FOR the past two weeks = saw Simon a number of times, from two weeks ago till now.
    (b) I have lived here SINCE 2001 = lived continuously from 2001 till now.

    4. (a) Yesterday, I have seen him. (not OK)
    (b) Yesterday, I saw him. (OK)

    5. (a) I have seen him for the past two weeks = I saw him (a number of times) over the past two weeks (from two weeks ago till now). (OK)
    (b) I saw him for the past two weeks. If meaning = I visited him (a number of times) over the past two weeks (from two weeks ago till now). (OK)

    6. (a) I have seen him already. (OK)
    (b) I saw him already. (not OK)
    (c) I see him already. (not OK)

    7. (a) I have seen him before (= previously). (OK)
    (b) I saw him before (= previously). (not OK)
    (c) I see him before. (not OK)

    8. (a) I have seen him before this. (OK)
    (b) I saw him before this. (OK)
    (c) I see him before this. (not OK)

    IMO, (6) and (7) are the occasions why we need to have the Present Perfect.

    In 7, the adverb "before" modifies "have seen". In 8, it modifies "this". So 8 b "I saw him before this" = "I saw him (at a past time)", therefore Simple Past here is OK.

  8. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #29
    Before responding in full--which I'll do in just a moment-- I'd like to stop tape here so as to add to examples 3 (d), (e), and (f).

    (d)I have eaten lunch in the afternoon. (not OK)
    (e)I have eaten lunch at three. (not OK)
    (f) I have visited Dalian in July. (not OK)

    All of the above are OK iff we add "before":

    (d)I have eaten lunch in the afternoon before. (OK)
    (e)I have eaten lunch at three before. (OK)
    (f) I have visited Dalian in July before. (OK)

    The reason being, 'before' turns 'in the afternoon', 'at three', and 'in July'
    into non-specific times: any afternoon, any three o'clock, and any July.

    :D

  9. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #30
    I really liked what I read. It was well thought out not to mention showed you'd done your research. 8)

    I've two comments:

    1) What if, the Present Prefect has nothing whatsoever to do with Time (Tense)? What if, the Present Perfect's function is to focus on the event/action and not the time? If that's the case, then it stands to reason why adverbials which express Time/Tense aren't compatible with the Present Perfect.

    Yesterday = When? The day before today. Ah! A specific day.
    In the past = When? Uhm? Some time? Ah! A non-specific day.

    2) What if,

    Sam: "Have you visited Dalian in July?". (OK)
    Pat: "I've visited Dalian in July. (OK) meaning, any one July, this year's, last year's, two years ago July, and so on.

    Compare:

    Pat: I have visited Dalian in July (July two months ago). (not OK)

    When 'in July' modfies a Present Perfect verb, the resulting meaning is that 'July' is any one of many Julys, not a specific July. The Present Perfect isn't compatible with adverbs that express TIME (specific time), but if such TIME adverbs can be expressed as non-specific, then they're compatible:

    I've been there in July. (any July) (OK)
    I've been there in July of this year. (a specific July) (not OK)

    In short, the Present Perfect is not a Tense, so why attempt to modify its verbs with adverbs denoting Tense? (Psst, that's a Q for Shun). We wouldn't, of course. If we did, we'd get an ungrammatical result:

    I have been there yesterday. (a specific day) (not OK)

    Adverbs denoting Tense are compatible only with verbs denoting Tense.

    I was there yesterday. (a specific day) (OK)

    Adverbs not denoting Tense are compatible with verbs not denoting Tense.

    I have been there in the past. (When? Some time.) (OK)

    Present Perfect verbs have nothing to do with Tense. When deciding which adverb is compatible, ask the question "When is (adverb)?". If the answer is too complicated to compute, then you know the adverb is compatible.

    I have seen him in the past few weeks.
    Q: When is 'the past few weeks'?
    A: Well, let's see. Today is 3-Nov, and 'few weeks' is three weeks, about, and if we substract three weeks from today, we'll get..., let' me look at my calendar to check. It's complicated. Computing non-specific time is complicated.

    Compare:

    I saw him yesterday.
    Q: When is yesterday?
    A: It's the day before today. Computing specific time is easy :D

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