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Thread: shall


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    #51

    Re: shall

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    You have to define exactly what you mean by a proof in that sense.
    The difficult of defining such idea in English was on of the main reasons I decided to dive in Math and Physics rather than in Linguistics.

    An ESL should know that to learn English he must interact with native speakers in all possible ways - it is not just a matter of reason. It takes not a simple book or a teacher to do the job.
    I believe that I have defined both; what isn't proof, reported speech, and what is proof, the fact that no examples of modals having tense can be generated in the very language they are supposed to have tense in.

    Yes, ESLs must interact with native speakers in all possible ways, so why would we want to tie their hands and make unavailable to them structures that ENLs use everyday.

    Further, why would we burden them with false ideas about modals that lead them to create unnatural language -- He could go to Rome to mean He was able to go to Rome?

    why would we burden them with false ideas about modals that lead them to think they can't use 'might' for a future possibility, -- We might go swimming tomorrow.

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    Nowadays anyone can construct his site dedicated to English grammar, it is so easy - do you have yours? Many of them are not even run by native speakers and/or academics. It is up to the users to select the good ones.
    We must remember that there have been many academics who have perpetuated many falsehoods over the centuries. I pointed out a college website in a previous posting and below that is riddled with errors about English. It's not the only one.

    Albert Einstein was not an "academic" in the sense you suggest, yet we know what he did. He looked at the available academic ideas and found them seriously flawed.


    Albeit wrote: Really, one has to ask why, considering that this site is the site for a US college that is actually attempting to teach students about English grammar.

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    Ok, ok, I agree with you here.
    Just to clarify for everyone, if it is unclear. I was not referring to this website when I said "this site" [underlined in my quote, above]. I don't think that I provided a link to that website. That was on purpose. I didn't want any ESLs going there for advice on language.

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    #52

    Re: shall

    I really have to wonder if albeit is a reincarnation of riverkid.


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    #53

    Re: shall

    2006 wrote:

    What absolute rubbish nonsense! "can" doesn't work because you need the past tense "could"!

    You can not say 'When I was young I can run a mile...'.
    It has nothing to do with semantics. Do you realize how foolish you sound?
    Nothing to do with semantics, eh?

    A: Where is the money?

    B: Bill could have it.

    B: Bill might have it.

    B: *Bill can have it. *

    [* --- * denotes ungrammatical for the situation]

    Why do you suppose 'can', a purported present tense can't be used here in a present time situation, but 'could' and 'might', both purported past tenses, can be, 2006?

    =====================

    may might could can in their epistemic sense, all relate a sense of possibility

    It may rain.

    It might rain.

    It could rain.

    It can rain there in the winter.

    Yet when we try to use the last three, can could might in this fashion in the subjunctive,

    May you have a long and fruitful life.

    *Can you have a long and fruitful life.*

    *Could you have a long and fruitful life.*

    *Might you have a long and fruitful life.*

    [* --- * denotes ungrammatical for the situation]

    they don't seem to work. I wonder why that is.
    Last edited by albeit; 06-Sep-2009 at 18:16.


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    #54

    Re: shall

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    If you were my wife, I should drink it. -- Winston Churchill. Here the should is as conditional as a would.
    It is in a conditional, Konungursvia, but I don't quite understand why 'should' should be called the conditional of 'shall'.

    I'm not even sure why it should be called a conditional any more than might, may, can, could, have to, need to, want to, shall, will, be going to, ... could be called conditionals.

    If I can borrow the money, I might, may, can, could, have to, need to, want to, shall, will, am going to, ... go to Tahiti.

    Aren't conditionals conditionals only when they are conditionals?

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    #55

    Re: shall

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    If you were my wife, I should drink it. -- Winston Churchill. Here the should is as conditional as a would.
    My daughter (she is 14) asked me if you were sure that he meant it conditionally, she thought it might mean; "I ought to drink it", I said that I thought you probably knew that he meant it conditionally. Having never seen the quote myself, is she right or is she wrong?

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    #56

    Re: shall

    She's right that I knew it was meant as a conditional, if I'm right about what you are asking about:

    Lady: "Sir Winston, If I were your wife, I should flavour your tea with poison."
    Winston: "If you were my wife, Madam, I should drink it." (should = would).

    I thought BrE preferred should to would in such conditionals, by the way.

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    #57

    Re: shall

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    She's right that I knew it was meant as a conditional, if I'm right about what you are asking about:

    Lady: "Sir Winston, If I were your wife, I should flavour your tea with poison."
    Winston: "If you were my wife, Madam, I should drink it." (should = would).

    I thought BrE preferred should to would in such conditionals, by the way.
    In fact she thought that maybe he didn't mean it conditionally, she thought that, possibly, if it had been his wife, he would have been obliged to drink it.
    In my experience most BrE speakers would use "would" in that kind of situation. My daughter was born in Ireland, but has been educated (up until now) in India and France.

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    #58

    Re: shall

    Possibly, but if both those famous Brits supplied conditions in the same sentence, then I think we can take their "should do" clauses as conditionals.

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    #59

    Re: shall

    Let us come back to the main point

    Quote Originally Posted by albeit View Post
    in fact, all modal verbs in modern day English are tenseless.
    Deciding whether such modal verbs in modern English have or have not tense will not change their everyday usage. Usually English native speakers use all of them correctly. When usage mistakes occur that is not because the speaker thinks about 'tenses'.

    Quote Originally Posted by albeit View Post
    There is no relationship in modern English between any of the modal verbs as regards tense.
    If you want to say they are all tenseless, that is ok, I don't see any problem. That is a systematic classification, you are modelling language to study it, that is good. But that is one possible model, not the very only one. Anyone else who wants to study language classifying those modals according to tense has his rights.

    It is a fact that all the examples presented in this post have an equivalent in other languages. And in many of those languages, those example tenses do have a 'tense', even though the idea does not correspond to that exact tense.

    Quote Originally Posted by albeit View Post
    "Whatever business challenges you face, it is highly likely that another member of your group will have already tackled it. ..

    As you will have already seen I have changed the colour scheme.
    Let us take exactly those examples above. Although you use 'will', these senteces do not have refer to future actions, ok. However, if you express them in other languages, they will be classified in some kind of 'future tense', with the very same meaning in English, that is, without referring to a future action. To fix the ideas you may think in Portuguese, but other similar languages will do as well. In those languages, one has much more than one simple future, but several different futures [ futuro do presente (present future), futuro do pretério (past future), etc ]. Depending on the situation, one uses a 'future tense' without properly referring to a future action. So what you are claiming to be a big grammar historical mistake runs the same way in other languages besides English.

    Quote Originally Posted by albeit View Post
    Modals carry emotive/modal meaning into sentences, not tense.
    Whoever takes a look at the following table:
    can - could
    may - might
    will - would
    shall - should
    is tempted to look for a regularity, and is tempted to think about the present x past relation. That is something undeniable.

    Let me repeat:
    I appreciate your ideas regarding the tenseless of modals. That is something very interesting, even though it is not the only way to look at it. I do not know whether there are good acknowledged linguistic texts standing up for those ideas - I believe there are plenty of them. I would like you to point out some good reference in this subject which advocate the ideas you defend here in your posts.

    Once we agree that your idea is possible and interesting, we have another poblem to face. Namely if the teaching of such idea to ESL students, instead of the old fashioned one, will bring real benefits to them. That is something which has to be firmly grounded in serious research. Maybe it will work better with specific L1's.

    Finally I would like to add that I haven't studied English grammar yet (not even the 'traditional' one), mainly because of lack of time. I will do that soon, maybe in my next vacation. I am still deciding which grammar books to buy.

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    #60

    Re: shall

    My idea is that can has "could" as a past tense incarnation, and "could" as a conditional, a different word spelt the same. The same might go for shall and should, "I should think."

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