Tense and Aspect: 1c. A Brief History - Part 3

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Tense and Aspect: 1c. A Brief History of Time (and Tense) - Part Three
Continued from here: https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/threads/287490-Tense-and-Aspect-1-b-A-Brief-History-Part-2


It is not until Kruisinga (1911) that the idea of remoteness, quite apart from time, is explicitly mentioned with respect to tense. Even after this, the majority of writers listed, up to and including Aarts (20ll), still consider tense to be primarily connected with time. Several writers stress the importance of not confusing tense with time, but nonetheless discuss tense in terms of time.


Kruisinga ( [1911] 1931.22): The verb is the only part of speech that has a form one of whose functions is to express distinctions of time. (p 23) We have another special case of the narrative past tense when it is used to express hesitation by making the idea expressed more remote. […] The past tense of remoteness leads by imperceptible stages to the case when the idea of past time is completely absent. […] (p 27) The preterite is frequently used to to express what is thought of as contrary to fact: as an irrealis.

Poutsma (1926.205): By tense we understand a particular form of a verb, or a verb-group, by means of which we show to what time-sphere an action or state is considered to belong.

Jespersen (1931/1954.1): It is important to keep the two concepts time and tense strictly apart. [Tense] varies from language to language and is the linguistic expressions of time-relations, so far as these are indicated in verb forms; but in English as well as in many other languages, such forms serve not only for time-relations, but also for other purposes.

Curme (1931.354): There are four absolute tenses [..] which express time from the standpoint of the moment in which the speaker is speaking without reference to some other act; and two relative tenses […] which express time relatively to the preceding absolute tenses.

Allen ([1947] 1959.80): English has three main time divisions, Past, Present, and Future, expressed by the simple tenses.

Hornby ([1954] 1970.83): The words TIME and TENSE must not be confused. The word TIME stands for a concept with which all mankind is familiar. It is something independent of language. The word TENSE stands for a verb form or series of verb forms used to express a time relation. Tenses may indicate whether an action, activity or state is past present or future. Tenses may also indicate whether an action, activity, or state is, was, or will be complete, or whether it is, was, or will be in progress over a period of time.

Whatmough (1956.234): TENSE – time of action. as he lives (present): preterite he lived or future he will live.

Wood ([1954] 1957. 165): TENSE is the word we use to denote the “time element” expressed in a particular form of a verb.
(p 166) Tense does not always correspond precisely with time.

Vendler ([1957] 1974. 217); The fact that verbs have tenses indicates that considerations involving the concepts of time are relevant to their use.

Zandvoort ( [1957] 1972.58): English grammatical terminology has a special word, TENSE, to denote two verbal forms (past and present) and an equal number of verbal groups (perfect and future) whose main function it is to denote the TIME at which an action takes place. (p 61): The preterite may be used in subordinate clause to express something desirable or conceivable. In this case its function is not to express a contrast between past and present time, but between reality and desirability or mere supposition. This is) usually called the MODAL PRETERITE.

Joos (1964.121): The unmarked tense will be called actual and the marked one remote. The latter name fits the meaning precisely. The modern English remote tense has the categorical meaning that the referent (what is specified by the subject verb partnership) is absent from that part of the world where the verb is being spoken.

Lyons (1968.304). The category of tense has to do with time -relations in so far as these are expressed by systematic grammatical contrasts.

Close ([1962] 1994. 57): In what are generally called the tenses, we are concerned with aspects of activity and of time.

Christophersen and Sandved ([1969] 1970.43: Tense is a set of grammatical forms bearing some relation to time. […] . [T]he term 'past tense', too, may be criticised as inadequate or misleading; sometimes a past tense form merely expresses something unreal or hypothetical.

Crystal ([1971] 1973. 96-97): If we stick to a traditional conception of time, then the hypothesis 'tense in language signals time' is likely to be accepted without question. [...]But the hypothesis can be shown to be false.

Leech ([1971] 2004.5): It is true that there is a rough and partial correspondence between 'present Tense' and present time, and between 'Past tense' and past time. But the ways in which these labels fail to correspond with reality are also notable.

Palmer ([1971] 1972.38): Most European languages have special forms of the verb to mark tense – past, present and future. But it would be a mistake to think in terms of some universal characteristics of time-markers in the verb.

Swan ([1980] 2005.5): There is not a direct relationship between verb forms and time.

Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman ([1983] 1999. 95): The tense forms of any language are a selective rendering of the many distinctions – both direct and indirect – that make with reference to time and speaker perspective on time, in the real world.

Huddleston ([1984] 2000.143}: We will examine the semantic contrast between the two tenses under three headings: location in time, factuality and backshifting. (p 144): The primary use of the past tense is then to indicate that the time of the situation is in the past.

Comrie ([1985] 2004.9): […] tense is grammaticalised expression of location in time.

Lewis (1986.47): Time is not the same thing as tense. The importance of the distinction cannot be overestimated. Time is an element of our experience of reality. Tense is a purely grammatical idea. […] It is easy to think of the present tense having something to do with present time, or the past tense with past time. Experience soon shows us that this is not true.

Alexander (1988.159) Verbs are used to express distinctions in time (past, present, future) through tense.

Sinclair ([990] 1998.245): A set of verb forms that indicate a particular point in time or period of time in the past, present or future is called a tense.

Pinker, Steven (1994.482): tense. Relative time of occurrence of the event described by the sentence, the moment at which the speaker utters the sentence, and, often, some third reference point: present (he eats), past (he ate), future (he will eat).

Yule ([1998] 2006.54) To describe the different forms of the verb, we need to talk about TENSE, which often has to do with the location of a situation In time. (p 58): Conceptually, the present tense form ties the situation described closely to the situation of utterance. The past tense form makes the situation described more remote from the situation of utterance. (p 60): The widely recognised difference in time between situations referred to via the past and present tense forms can be interpreted in terms of remoteness (or non-remoteness) in time from the time of utterance,


Biber et al (1999.460): From a semantic point of view, both tense and aspect relate primarily to time distinctions in the verb phrase.

Parrot (2000.106): The term 'tense' is sometimes used to refer to the present simple (e.g., I eat) and the past simple (e.g. I ate). This book follows most modern coursebooks in using the word more generally to refer to the large variety of forms we use to refer to different aspects of time.

Huddleston (2002.116): The general term tense applies to a system where the basic or characteristic meaning of the terms is to locate the situation, or part of it at some point or period of time. (p 148): In some constructions the preterite expresses modal rather than temporal meaning.

Declerck (2002.22): We should make a careful distinction between 'tense' and 'time'. TIME is an extralinguistic category. That is, it exists independently of language. TENSE is a linguistic concept: it denotes the form taken by the verb to locate the situation referred to in time, i.e. to express the temporal relation between the time of the situation in question and an 'orientation time' which may be either the 'temporal zero-point' […] or another orientation time that is temporally related to the temporal zero-point.

Carter & McCarthy (2006. 926): Tense – A grammatical category to indicate the relationship between the form of the verb and the time reference of an event or action,

Aarts (2011.23): The term tense denotes a grammatical system which is used to locate situations in time
 
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