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    #1

    Why does the speaker use the present tense here?

    Hi, everyone.

    I am watching a documentry about Bach. In the documentry, Robert Marshall, who is a music professor in Brandeis University, says the following:

    He lost his parents at the age of ten. And I think that drama, that shuddering experience, formed his outlook on the world for the rest of his life. He felt abandoned. He felt the world would be a deceitful, untrustworthy place. This worked very well with his religious understanding as a Lutheran where the same attitude towards the world is preached. In many ways what he then was going to do with his music was to, in a sense, create his own world, his own better world, the perfect world, in a sense he himself is going to become a creator.

    The whole story is told in past tenses and all of a sudden he uses is at the end.

    I did some research on bing.com and according to what I found I would assume he is a native speaker of the language.
    See the link here:http://www.brandeis.edu/facultyguide...8b32ed6082d0d8

    I've read that it is acceptable for one to use present tenses to describe a historic event. But I don't understand why he suddenly changes the tense to present. Is this is a kind of usage intended to deliver time-related imformation which I failed to receive? Or this is simply a mistake on his part?

    The preofessor prosounces it very clearly. However, the likelyhood of a faux par on my side remains. So I will put down the link through which you can listen to it at 11:04. You will have to wait until the end of some advertisements which last about one minute.
    http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNjQxNjUxNjYw.html

    Many thank

    Richard

    PS: I realised I used what wrongly in the title but it's already too late to change it.
    Last edited by cubezero3; 04-Apr-2014 at 15:27.

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    #2

    Re: What does the speaker use the present tense here?

    He could be using it for dramatic effect- we can change from the past to the present in narratives.

    (My connection's playing up I haven't watched it yet.)

  1. Roman55's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: What does the speaker use the present tense here?

    Quote Originally Posted by cubezero3 View Post
    However, the likelyhood of a faux par on my side remains.
    I am not a teacher.

    Your English is a lot better than your French. It's a faux pas, mon ami.

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    #4

    Re: What does the speaker use the present tense here?

    This is very interesting. Are there any rules with regard to this? Can the change of tense occur at any part of narratives, for example?

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    #5

    Re: What does the speaker use the present tense here?

    There are no rules at all.

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    #6

    Re: What does the speaker use the present tense here?

    Thank you, 5jj. Would it be right if I take it as these kind of changes happen and the best way of knowing how to use them is to read and listen more and see how they are used by native speakers?

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    #7

    Re: What does the speaker use the present tense here?

    "Use sparingly" is a good rule of thumb. You don't want your reader to get whiplash from switching tenses excessively.

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    #8

    Re: What does the speaker use the present tense here?

    Quote Originally Posted by cubezero3 View Post
    He lost his parents at the age of ten. And I think that drama, that shuddering experience, formed his outlook on the world for the rest of his life.
    Hello, cubezero3.

    I think the underlined words should be 'trauma' and 'shattering'.

    (Please forgive me if I'm wrong.)

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