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Thread: who is online

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    #51

    Re: who is online

    "One of the reason why I'd be inclined to take 'habitual' meaning not as a modal meaning is that it makes the analysis of the Present Simple more complicated. This is my most humble opinion, though."

    Hello Roro

    I too would be interested in this line of thought. It seems to me that we should be able to exclude "iterative" usages from modality: they seem to be neither epistemic nor deontic.

    MrP

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    #52

    Re: who is online

    I have a sudden doubt about using the distinction between the "known" and the "temporal past" as a criterion, when establishing modality.

    Can we always distinguish "past-ness" from "known-ness"? Sometimes something is known precisely because it's past. The known-ness is inseperable from the past-ness.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ | ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    On to another aspect...

    It seems to me that the "persistence" pair you mentioned do show signs of a temporal past/present relationship:

    1. He will eat oysters for breakfast. [No wonder he's sick.]
    2. He would eat oysters for breakfast. [No wonder he died.]

    To paraphrase:

    1a. He insists on eating oysters...
    2a. He insisted on eating oysters...

    MrP

  3. #53

    Re: who is online

    Hello MrPedantic, hello there!

    Sorry for my terribly slow reply.
    I think I will be ready tomorrow!

    On to another aspect...

    It seems to me that the "persistence" pair you mentioned do show signs of a temporal past/present relationship:

    1. He will eat oysters for breakfast. [No wonder he's sick.]
    2. He would eat oysters for breakfast. [No wonder he died.]

    To paraphrase:

    1a. He insists on eating oysters...
    2a. He insisted on eating oysters...

    MrP
    It's new for me. Seems quite interesting.

    See you tomorrow,

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    #54

    Re: who is online

    Good evening. Glad to see MrP got his groove back and that Roro's feeling better.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPedantic
    I have a sudden doubt about using the distinction between the "known" and the "temporal past" as a criterion, when establishing modality.
    I feel it's a problem only iff we fail to take into account that "tense" refers to temporally order predicates; e.g., I could do that (before). Cf. He would do that (in the past/?before).

    Quote Originally Posted by MrP
    Can we always distinguish "past-ness" from "known-ness"? Sometimes something is known precisely because it's past. The known-ness is inseperable from the past-ness.
    Right, and the very reason the working term "known" needs new clothes.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrP
    It seems to me that the "persistence" pair you mentioned do show signs of a temporal past/present relationship:

    1. He will eat oysters for breakfast. [No wonder he's sick.]
    2. He would eat oysters for breakfast. [No wonder he died.]

    To paraphrase:

    1a. He insists on eating oysters...
    2a. He insisted on eating oysters...
    Nice one, MrP. Had one leg over the fence, sort to speak, then had to stop: 1. is "rare", though, and productivity is . . . important. Hmpf. There may have been a present/past tense distinction, once, but it's no longer productive, today (or as productive, today, if we take dialect variation into account).

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    #55

    Re: who is online

    But:

    1. He will keep going on about...
    2. He will insist on...
    3. He will keep asking me if...
    4. Well, if you will eat cheese before you go to bed...
    5. He won't listen...
    6. He won't do a thing I say...

    All quite rare in written English, I grant you. But very common in two kinds of discourse – in BrE, at least:

    a) Mothers talking about/to their children.
    b) Women talking about/to* their boyfriends/husbands. (aka "going on at")

    With the possible exception of #4, they all convert into temporally past "would" without a whimper. And they're equally common, in that form, when women are telling other women about their boyfriends/husbands/children.

    (Some non-BrE listeners may be wondering why I stress the "feminine" aspect of this usage. Unfortunately, some nuances of tone are not available to the British male. It is not considered proper, for instance, to discuss your wife's/girlfriend's habits in accents of genuine indignation. You must adopt a tone of humorous resignation. Otherwise your friends and drinking companions will shun you.)

    MrP

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    #56

    Re: who is online

    Surely, one's BrE drinking companions wouldn't know a nuance if they tripped over one.

  7. #57

    Re: who is online

    Hi there, long time no see...
    Casiopea, I've promised to give some synopsis of typologists' point of view on 'habituality' and temporality, modality. Days ago! Let me continue, little by little. I have a request: I sincerely implore you, please don't take my words as if I'm trying to give some 'lecture,' okay?
    .................................................. ..........................................

    (quote from MrP's post)
    "One of the reason why I'd be inclined to take 'habitual' meaning not as a modal meaning is that it makes the analysis of the Present Simple more complicated. This is my most humble opinion, though."

    Hello Roro
    I too would be interested in this line of thought. It seems to me that we should be able to exclude "iterative" usages from modality: they seem to be neither epistemic nor deontic.

    MrP
    Hello MrP, I think so, too, that is, we should be able to do it, introducing some basic distinction between modality and temporality. More later,

  8. #58

    Re: who is online

    It's obvious that your goal and typologists' goal is different. The latter seeks only the general picture to construct a broad overview of the nature of verbal categories across languages, and not to study language-specific details. At the same time they are mutually dependent; typologists extract valid data from detailed descriptions of individual languages; the 'general picture' which typologists propose should be able to provide some useful tool with regard to some basic concrete language-specific questions. This is why I'm interested in your discussion (although I'm not a typologist ... I'm simply interested in it). So let me continue. To begin with, I'd like to introduce several basic perspectives / key notions.

    [0] Semantic properties of verbal categories such as 'tense', 'aspect' and 'mood' are universal phenomena with language-specific manifestations; they can profitably be studied in a cross-linguistic perspective.

    [1] The distinction between meaning level (common semantic substances) and morphological level (grammatical markers in individual languages) is very important. The former is a primitive element. The latter may express more than one primitive meaning (or combination thereof), thus polysemous.

    [2] It is to be desired that common semantic substances (or 'a set of universal semantic content') be describable by means of some semantic metalanguage. These elementary semantic substances constitutes several coherent semantic domains.

    [3] Among the main verbal domains, at least the following three are to be distinguished: the tense domain; the aspectual domain; the modal domain.

    [4] They are construed not as a mere list of meanings, but rather as a coherent semantic relations (structured somehow).

    .................................................. .....................

    I know well what is expected of me is some summary on [3] and [4]. And this is also what I wanted to do. I didn't realised then what this means... The difficilty lies, primarily, in that many topics are still under dispute, as you certainly know well. So I'd like to introduce a mere basic scheme.
    (Several hours later, though. I got to go now.)
    Last edited by Roro; 11-Oct-2005 at 00:22.

  9. #59

    Re: who is online

    Actually it's not clear to me yet to what extent the 'general picture/scheme' could be useful when it comes to the classification of English several 'would.' I did print out this whole thread in order to study closely...

    (yes I did ;)

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    #60

    Re: who is online



    If modal "would" (habitual) admits a past and a present (I dare not say "tense") and other modals, both auxiliary ("will/would" #1) and aspectual (may/might, can/could, shall/should) admit the same, why then the two categories for "WILL": I. auxiliary modal and II. aspectual modal? Looking at the similarities (i.e., pastness) has brought us to a point where we should be asking, "What are the differences?", notably, "will/would" (category I). Shouldn't it be in category II?
    "Modals are not marked for tense. What is historically the past tense mark (e.g. the –d or –t, could, would, might, should) no longer indicates past time: e.g. I may swim tomorrow, I might swim tomorrow, To indicate an earlier time, the auxiliary “have” is added. e.g. I may have done that yesterday. Some remainders of the historical past tense can be seen in what is referred to as back stepping in reported speech (e.g. She says she will come becomes She said she would come.) Today, the past tense form indicates tentativeness or politeness rather than past time."

    Source:
    www.clas.ufl.edu/users/rthompso/interactioncommands.html

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