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LEC Translation and Interpretation Studies, English Minor, 2013/ course coordinator: D.

Ionescu Course 3: THE CATEGORY OF TENSE 1.0. Time vs. Tense Tense - an intrinsic feature of the verb (-s/-ed/will); formally, semantically, pragmatically marked. The tense markers of S {-V (inflections); - adverbials, adverbial phrases}. Definition of TENSE= the chronological order of events in time as perceived by the speaker at the moment of speaking. Notions to be defined: TIME, CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER OF EVENTS, MOMENT OF SPEAKING. Time - objective time not inherent to objects, it is a form of our perception of the situations in the W - these situations are perceived sequentially. Time has no absolute {R} outside the form of our perception of the W. It belongs to the perceived Subject. Time has then empirical reality, in relation to the perceived objects. Time is the form of our experience of the W. Time is an epistemic notion, not an ontological one. Otto Jespersen, 1965: Time and Tense - Tense = the linguistic expressions for the natural (or notional) concept of time and its subdivisions. Time has a linear representation : _____________ - durational - reversible, bidirectional (Physics) Humans experience space and time - unidirectionally - irreversibly. We can only refer to events by choosing certain segments of time. The division of time into segments is performed by two different procedures: - a personal, subjective estimation of Duration; - a public estimate based on the periodicity of natural phenomena. The cross-linking of these 2 procedures of segmenting Time yields conflicting results. 3Subjective time: liable to contraction or expansion, acc. to ones own experience of the possible world. (Personal time, W.Bull, 1971). 3 The clock time (public time): established on the periodicity of some observable natural phenomena.(time measured by mechanical devices, clocks, etc. i.e. revolution of the earth round its own axis, the coming of seasons). C. To be able to order perceived events, one has to set them in relation to one another. Events occur either before or - after or - simultaneously The axis of orientation has a source event, relative to which a chronological order can be established for the perceived events: they can be either taking place simultaneously with the source event of the axis, or they can occur sequentially (before/after). To establish what kind of events can serve as source events for axes of orientation, THE MOMENTS OF SPEECH are considered as the primary axis of orientation. Two perceived events are sequential or simultaneous only in terms of an observer. But the order of events is not the same for all observers. Because of the existence of SPACE and the distinct velocities of light and sound, by convention, simultaneity and sequentiality of events are converted at SPEECH TIME into a construct of 3 points: - moment of speech (locating speaker in time and relative to the speech event; - other events (present/past/future). In actual speech, the primary axis of orientation is the speech moment: NOW (present point - PP): _______________________ __________ __________________________________ the axis of the present; the axis of the past; ________________________ the axis of the future. with the respective event. which preserves the sequential character of our perception of the W. This representation allows us to infer the properties of time: - segmentable

Therefore, there are projectional possibilities of time perception. RP is recalled at PP. AP is anticipated at PP. Total recall implies that we remember at PP hta once, we anticipated an axis from RP - the RAP (retrospectiveanticipated axis). Ch. Bull outlined a Tense-Time specification related to a representation like the one below: _______________________________________ _________________________________ __________________________________________ ____________________________________________ Tense is deictic, it grammaticalizes features of the context of utterance. NOW is central according to which PAST and FUTURE represent axes of orientation (directions). Hans Reichenbach (1947) gave a semantic interpretation of Tense in terms of PRIMITIVES (ST, ET, RT) along the axis of time representation; these primitives are translated into time specifiers in the language: tense realization (tense inflection(s)) and time adverbials (temporal phrases). Speech time (ST) - at which a certain S is uttered. Reference time (RT) - T indicated by the S need not be the same as ST. Event time (ET) Examples: (1) She won the price last week. ET = RT (not specified) RT, ET ST ; ST =now; RT - past/ET =? WHEN? (not specified) (2) Marilyn had already won the prize last week. How do these primitives interact to form the tense structure of a S? ST - now RT ST ET RT 1982, Hornstein: time moments (or intervals on the time line) are considered ways of temporarily representing events vis-a-vis the moment of speech. Each tense appears represented as a complex configuration with a characteristic structure whose elements are ST, RT, ET concatenated by the relations of simultaneity or sequency. TENSE = an ST,RT,ET configuration structured by the relations of simultaneity and sequency. A set of sentences not fully specified for a temporal interpretation: (3) Mary is leaving tomorrow. ST = now RT ST ET = RT ST = now RT ST ET RT - the moment when the event occurs.


John had eaten the cake.


ST = now RT ST (after) ET RT In Reichenbachs theory: the number of possible tenses is the number of possible ST, RT, ET configurations, structured by the operations of sequence and simultaneity. Each tense need not appear in any one specific language, rather this theory delimits the range of tenses a G chooses from in constructing the particular tense Grammar of a natural language.

John will have eaten the cake.

Course 4 (TENSE, II) THE VALUES OF THE ENGLISH TENSES (1) (2) The Simple Present Tense (values: generic, habitual, instantaneous, future time, past). The Simple Past Tense The simple past tense has a basic time association with a past moment of time, e.g. then, yesterday, 2 h ago etc. which are deictically interpreted and create a restrospective axis of orientation, the axis of the past. Along this axis events are interpreted according to the same spatio-temporal relations of simultaneity, anteriority or posteriority. Hence, at ST NOW, the content of the event or state is recollected: e.g. a. I bought this bronze statue when I was in Naples. b. I misplaced my pencil a moment ago and I can't find it. The past tense is used to represent an act as done, or as regularly or habituallt don in time wholly past at the present moment, although it may have been performed only a few seconds before. So, according to this characterization, the simple past can be defined as describing a situation that occurs before the present moment at a definitely specified time (in the past0: yesterday, last week etc. If we analyse a sentence like: The lightning struck a house yesterday, the temporal adverbial yesterday specifies a definite time in the past; the past tense inflection (-ed)+definite past time adverbial specify the RT wh. is anterior to the NOW of the ST. The ET of the S is simultaneous to the RT as it receives no special characterization. The analysis: ST = now RT = yesterday, past, RT ST ET - nonspecified, ET = RT ATR [RT ST; ET= RT ]. The past tense is used to locate an event or state at some specified time in the past. The content of the event or state is recollected at ST. Past time adverbials are most frequently associated with the simple past tense: yesterday, last NP (night, week, month, year) etc. the other say, once, two days ago, in the year 1901, on Monday, in June, when I was a child etc. All these adverbs specify a definite point or interval of time in the past. a). Cases with no time adverbial specification, where the adverbial can be inferred from the larger context in which a S occurred: e.g. This time last year I was in Vienna. Oh, how curious, I was there too. b). Past Ten without adverbial specification: I've been in Switzerland once. How did you like it? It was glorious. We had , we had beautiful weather all the time.

The present perfect is used to introduce an event unspecified that takes place anterior to ST in a period that began in the past and includes ST. So the frame of reference is established: PAST for the discourse. when reference is resumed to the already introduced event, it is made by a definite past time specifier, i.e. the simple past tense. c). A third case - the simple past tense can be used without a definite indication of time when a comparison is drawn bet. present and past conditions: e.g. England is not what it was. Life is not so pleasant as it was. Jespersen: such vague implications of the past are usually expressed by the frequentative: used to, which denotes repeated action but also permanent state in the past: I used to live in Chelsea (no time specification state) Conclusion: All these examples show the deictic use of the simple past tense, i.e. oriented to ST, in combination with a deictic temporal adverbial. Besides the deictic use, the simple past tense is also apparent in the narrative mode, i.e. non-deictically, to narrate situations that happened at a time before now, but which is not given. Such Ss inform of situations ordered with the aid of common information not present in the sentences themselves. "She sat at the window watching the evening invade the avenue. Her head was leaning against the window curtains.... ("Eveline', J.Joyce) In the non-deictic, narrative mode, the past tense is used without temporal adverbs, as its main function is to convey information about the events, sattes, processes that make up the fiction network. Among the possible semantic values of the PAST TENSE, we have to mention the following (RT ST; ET = RT): 1. the habitual past (similar to the habitual S s in the present tense): e.g. John got up at noon vs. John got up at noon every day during his childhood. The past habitual can contain an adverbial that indicates the interval during which the recurring event took place: during his childhood (RT). Frequency specifications, common to present or past tense occurrences: 3 times a week, every afternoon, at 3 o'clock that year. Habitual interpretations can be context-bound: At lunchtime, every day the same thing happened: Mary ate an apple. C. Smith (1978): An ambiguity with habitual past sentences occurs because they may contain adverbials that specify the interval in wh. the repetition took place: Jane swam from June to September (every year, during her childhood). 2. The simple past tense with Past Perfect value As we know that the simple past is used to describe events that happen either simultaneously or sequentially along the past axis of orientation, we have to draw a semantic distinction bet. the following Ss: e.g. a. He enjoyed and admired the sonnets of Petrarch. b. He addressed and sealed the envelope. In a. we have 2 state predications. States denote duration, hence, the S is understood to describe 2 simultaneous states. In b. 2 events wh. can be performed only consecutively, therefore the event of addressing is prior to that of sealing the envelope. This sequential interpretation results from our general knowledge about the way people proceed with envelopes in such cases. Therefore, the semantic interpretation of the temporal expression in b. is: RT ST ET RT. So, to underline, the past perfect interpretation of b. is based on our general knowledge of the world we live in, more specifically about the way activities are performed. In short, the past perfect interpretation is based on pragmatic assumptions. the same will stand for; a. He knocked and entered. (only a sequential reading) b. He shaved and listened to the radio (either simultaneous or sequential).

Temporal relations bet. 2 consecutive events are overtly marked by: - an adverbial or conjunction, HAVE (for anteriority marking), both: e.g. I thought of him v. much after I went to bed. As soon as she heard that, she rose quickly. He dropped the letter before he went away. ( St - now, Rt - he went away, past: RT ST); ET - before RT; ET RT). 3. The simple Past referring to Future Time We have established that within RT specification in a S, the combination past morpheme of the V+future time adverbial does not specify an RT. Therefore, the use discussed now is similar to the historical present tense, in tha tiit is also a fictional license and does not occur in everyday speech. It is a use confined to literary style, more specifically to science fiction. E.g. It was the year 2088. The interplanetary vehicle made a routine journey to the Moon with 45 people on board. The simple past tense is SF is employed in virtue of the existent, known convention about recounting events, i.e. events that took place in the past. Tis convention is a make-believe technique, according to which future events are recounted as if they were recollected, not as if they were anticipated, thus projecting the reader further in time than the time specified in the narrative (retrospective view). 4. The simple past tense referring to the Present Time In everyday conversation a possible extension of the meaning of Past tense is its use with the present time reference. No adverbial specification occurs with such use. It is the context that disambiguates the use of the paste tense. Use of the simple past tense with present time reference describes events that happened in the past and once performed, they cannot be changed after their occurrence. The context in which it appears is that where the speaker elicits information from the listener. E.g. A: Did you want me?/Do you want to see me? B: Yes, I hoped you would give me a hand. Despite the use of the past tense, the speakers wishes over the listener would probably be present. The Present and Past are in fact interchangeable. There is,, however, a difference in tone: the effect of the Past is to make the request indirect, therefore, more polite. It avoids a confrontation of wills. The Present Perfect Tense ATR: ST now RT = ST ET RT The main problem with the description of the meaning of he went (simple past or preterite) and he has gone (the present perfect): McCoard (The English Perfect: Tense Choice and Pragmatic Inferences, 1978) tackles the various interpretations given to the past tense and preent perfect opposition: One of the questions wh. was raised several times is whether the perfect is a Tense. Some linguists tried to give arguments against this assertion and tried to demonstrate that the Present Pf., although it has a tense element wh. is unmistakable (have) is rather a marker of aspect and not of tense, identifying it with the Slavonic perfective aspect. This main argument is that the have marker shows result and completion of the activity. For reasons that we shall explain in detail in the course about Aspect and along with > McCoard,, A. Cornilescu and I. Stefanescu (and more recently, I. Baciu), we shall consider the HAVE Perfect a tense marker, which can be realized for the present, past and future inflection (have+en, had+en, and shall/will+Have+en). There are two different theories related to the interpretation of the present perfect, as outlined by McCoard: a). The Indefinite Past Theory: The crucial element in the theory is the claim that the present perfect locates events somewhere before the moment of speech, but without pointing to any particular occasion. The time reference of the perfect is thus

indefinite. The preterite narrows down the temporal emplacement of the prior event to some well-defined limits. Hence the time reference of the past is definite. A Parallel : a book he has gone (indefiniteness); the book he came (definiteness). e.g. (1) a. or: particular time). (2) (2) a. b. A man and a dog came up to me. The man looked ill (the same man). I have been to Carnegie Hall only once. b. Did you hear the N.Y. Phillarmonic ? (on that occasion) c. Have you heard the N.Y. Phillarmonic ? (have you ever, not necessarily then, at that

A man ran between us.

Anchored advs: yesterday (He left yesterday); Unanchored advs: by now (*He left by now), But; He left today/He has left today [+/- def]. The Perfect is viewed as a tense form that locates the event in an indefinite period before ST. McCoard analyses the relations bet. Temporal advs and these 2 tenses to show that definiteness is not an adequate criterion for separating the past from the present perfect. The interval is: past through a). e.g. From last Friday up till now I have had nothing but problems. *From last Friday up till now I had. b). Another argument: those advs which normally require the past and indeed seem to exclude the perfect altogether: I went back to visit her two months ago. *I have gone back to visit her just yesterday/last weekend. If we combine all these adverbs into an implicitly overall period which extends to ST the present perfect is good: I have gone up to visit her 2 months ago or last week just yesterday (so far) this last adverb opens up another interval. Moreover, adverbs like: never, ever, always, wh. appear to be indefinite according to the ID theory, occur with both the Perfect and the Past: I never learnt how to swim in my youth. I have never learnt how to swim. Adverbs like: this morning, this week, this year occur with both the present perfect and the past, but a characterization in terms of definiteness is not relevant. The criticism brought about with the ID theory is that in the description of the temporal specification of a S, the temporal adverbials apply not to the event but to the reference time. This is necessary to provide for the correct adverbial co-occurrence: Now I see John. Now I have seen John. I saw John yesterday. I had seen John yesterday. We have argued that since only the RT takes temporal adverbials, whenever the ET and RT are not simultaneous, the ET is specified by other linguistic expressions, in our case the auxiliary HAVE, the adverb already, the preposition before which occurs as part of the Adv.Phrase. b). The Extended NOW Theory McCoard (1978): The present perfect is a marker of prior events which are nevertheless included within the overall period of the present (extended now), while the past tense marks events assigned to a past which is concluded and separated from the extended present. He further characterizes the present perfect as a tense form which presents an activity or state taking place in the past but which either may extend up to a present moment of speaking or it may be momentary as in: The messenger has just arrived or else it may last for a certain period in the past, covering a whole period of past time ( Men have died from time to time and worms have eaten them, but not for love, W. Shak.). Along with this theory, the tenses in question (past and present perfect) have been investigated and associated with various adverbs of time.

e.g. lately, recently are commonly regarded as synonyms, but lately can be used only in the context of the perfect, while recently can be used in both contexts: 8. 9. He has been ill recently. He has been ill lately. He was ill recently. *He was ill lately.

On the other hand, there are temporal adverbials like: in the past, in past years, in former years that usually occur with the preterit (past), but which contextually can include the present moment, hence they co-occur with the present perfect as well. e.g. In past years I have been in England many times. Once = formerly: It was a cathedral once. = on one occasion: Ive only seen it once/I only saw it once. Just now goes usually well with either tense: I did it just now. Ive just now received word from you. At the lexicon level, Mc Coard proposed 3 different groupings of adverbs according to their tense idiosyncrasies: [+THEN] long ago 5 years ago since=formerly yesterday the other day on those days last night in 1900 at 3 oclock, after the war no longer As a conclusion, in order to reflect the opposition past including the present (characterizing the present perfect) and past-excluding the present (characterizing the past), we need to set up the notion of INCLUSION. Anteriority is common to both Perfect and past, but the anteriority of the past is always tied to the moment of coding, whereas that of the Perfect need not be. So, the category of inclusion emerges when the Past and Perfect are competing in the same territory. The Perfect will indicate inclusion of the present NOW (RT=ST), while Past will exclude the present NOW (RT ST). In sum, the past time as expressed by the perfect is not a definite contextually-determined time. Following Dowty, we can conclude that the simple past indicates a contextually defined parameter, hence the characterization of the simple past: RT ST, ET=RT. The present perfect shows that the event is to be located in an unspecified interval of time from the past up to the present and including the present. Hence: RT=ST, ET RT. * Discourse Topic and the use of the Present Perfect e.g. Einstein has visited Princeton. (N. Chomsky, 1970) Other uses of the present perfect: Referring to the future time (in temporal clauses) * The Past Perfect (use and values) Futurity in English just now always, never before [+/-THEN] long since in the past once=one time today in my life for 3 years recently since the war before now, lately so far as yet not yet during the 5 years past herewith, [- THEN] at present up till now