Tense and Aspect: 1 b. A Brief History - Part 2


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Tense and Aspect: 1b. A brief History of time (and Tense) - Part Two
Continued from here: https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/threads/287489-Tense-a-Aspect-1a-A-Brief-History

In the list below I have noted what over 50 writers or groups of writers have said about tense and time in English. It will be seen that the earlier writers speak of tense as being associated only with time, whereas later writers also mention what we would now call aspect or Aktionsart. This is not because the earlier writers were less perceptive, but because the progressive aspect was not a firmly established feature of English until somewhere between the second half of the sixteenth century (Trnka, 1930.37) or as late as the eighteenth century (Charleston, 1941.29.)

Writers whose names are printed in red do not unreservedly agree with the close correlation of tense and time. Once again, the list is in chronological order.

Bullokar (1586.24): Thér be threʾ Týmƺ calʾed Tencʾeƺ. The tým that iƺ Now, calʾed the Preſent-Tencʾ: aƺ, I lou. The tým Paſt, calʾed the Preter-Tencʾ: aƺ, I loued. The tým Too Com, calʾed the Futur-Tencʾ: aƺ, I ſhalʾ or wilʾ lou.

Hume (1617?.21): Tyme is an affection of the verb noating the differences of tyme, and is either present, past or tu cum.

Jonson (1640] 1816.304): Time is the difference of a verb by the present, past and future, or to come. A verb finite therefore hath three only times, and those always imperfect.

Wallis (1653.91): Nos suo tantum habemus tempora in quovis verba, Præsens & Prætritum imperfectum. (We have only two times/tenses in verbs, present and past imperfect).

Gildon and Brightland (1711] 1746.104): But there are but three ʃimple Tenʃes or Times, the preʃent, as amo I love; the Paʃt, as amavi, I have loved; and the Future, as amabo, I will (or ʃhall) love.

Greenwood (1737] 1763.58): As for Tenʃes or Times, the natural or proper number is three becauſe all Time is either preſent, paſt or to come [...]. If we conſider whether an action be perfect or imperfect, we may make ſixTenʃes or Times.

Harris ([1751] 1771.119-120): The TENSES are uſed to mark Preſent, Paſt, and Future time, either indefinitely without reference to any Beginning, Middle, or End; or elſe definitely in reference to ſuch diſtinctions.

Buchanan (1762.107): The moſt natural Division of Time is into Preſent, Paſt, and Future, [...]. But the common Number of Times are five, viz. The Preſent, the Preter-imperfect, the Preter-perfect, the Preter-pluperfect, and the Future.

Priestley(1761.13): Verbs have two TENSES; the PRESENT TENSE, denoting the time preʃent; and the PRETER TENSE which expreſſes the time paʃt.

Lowth (1762.45): In a Verb are to be conſidered The Perſon, the Number, the Time, and the Mode.

Ash ([1763] 1785.39): There are five Tenʃes or Times, the Preʃent, the Imperfect, the Perfect, the Pluperfect and the Future.[...] Theſe formations of the ſeveral Tenſes seem to have Reſpect both to the Time and State of the Action ſignified by the verb.

Pickbourn (1789.3). The preſent tenſe, as I love, though lovest &c, conſigns the meaning of the verb to the preſent time. […] The preterite tenſe, as I loved, thou lovedst &c limits the tenſ of the verb to a certain time paſt, none of which now remains.

Murray (1795] 1852.57): TENSE, being the distinction of time […]. (p 60): The present, past, and future tenses may be used either definitely or indefinitely, both with respect to time and action.

Crombie (1836.90): As all things exist in time, and whatever is predicable of any subject must be predicated as either past, present, or future, every action, energy, or state of being, coming under one or other of these predicaments, hence arises the utility of tenses, to express the times, or relative order of their existence.

Mätzner ([1864] 1874.II. 66): Alle Thätigkeit wird in irgend einer Zeit verwirklicht gedacht; das Zeitwort drückt in seine einfachen oder zusammengesetzten Formen zugleich die Beziehung der Thätigkeit und eine in allgemeiner Weise bestimmte Zeit aus. (All activity is thought realised I some time. The verb, in its simple or compound forms expresses the relation of the activity to a time defined in a general manner.)

Angus (1870.207): ‘Tense’ [...] means time, and the word is used to mark that form of the verb which shows the time in which an action is performed. […] Comparing forms like ‘I wrote’ and ‘I was writing’ it is evident that while both express past time they differ in the duration they imply. Hence the distinctions of ‘actual’ time and ‘essential’; The first may be called past indefinite, aorist, or actual; the second is time continuous or essential.

Colegrove (1871.94): Tense is a Mode of inflection used to indicate time.

Bain (1872.134): Tense is the variation of the verb to express the time of an action:- ‘I come’, present; ‘I came,’ past. Other variations of time are expressed by means of auxiliaries:- ‘I have come; I am coming, will come, &c.

Morris (1874] 1890.54): The form or modification of the verb used to indicate time is called Tense.

Peile, John ([1877] 1916.84): The verb was further distinguished in our group of languages by its capacity of expressing different times of action.

Mason ([?] 23[SUP]rd[/SUP] edn 1878): Tense is a variation of form in verbs, or a compound verbal phrase, indicating partly the time to which an action or event is referred, and partly the completeness or incompleteness of the event at the time indicated.

Howell, WC ([1881] 1915.282): In dealing with the tenses, always bear in mind that tense does not denote time only. In the simple tenses – past, present, future - time is the principal thing denoted by the tense form. In the compound tenses – present perfect, past perfect, future perfect – time is still denoted (by some form of have) but the chief purpose of the compound tenses is to denote completed state of the action.

Sweet (1892/1900.97): Tense is primarily the grammatical expression of distinctions of time. (p.105): [...] we need not be surprised to find tenses sometimes used to express ideas which have no connection at all with distinctions of time, [..] a preterite […] expressing hypothesis as opposed to a statement of fact.

Nesfield ([1898] 1908): Tense is the form assumed by a verb (by means of inflexion or with the help of Auxiliaries) for indicating either (a) the time in which an event occurs or (b) the degree of completeness ascribed to an event at the time of its occurrence.

Rigdon ([1899] 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] edn 1903.138): Tense is that property of the verb by which it denotes the time of a relation.

Boehler and Pelham (1903.238): A difference in the form of a verb to denote time is called Tense.

Daniel (1904.75): Tense[...] is that form which a verb assumes to indicate (1) the time of the action or state denoted by the verb, and (2) the completeness or incompleteness of the action or state.

Leonard (1909.112): Tense may be loosely defined as the verbal form that shows time, and sometime completeness or incompleteness of an event.

Continued here; https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/threads/287491-Tense-and-Aspect-1c-A-Brief-History-Part-3
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