pennerkm at mcmaster.ca
Mon Sep 19 09:59:14 EDT 2005
The below assertion is using the word "tense" in an unconventional way. By
definition, tense is grammaticalised expression of location in time. The
difference between "John sings" and "John sang" is one of tense (Comrie,
Tense, 9). Grammaticalization is "the idea that semantic features that are
common to many languages may be captured or signalled by the grammatical
forms and systems of individual languages" (Palmer, Mood and Modality, 4).
Time is notional or semantic; tense is grammatical (Palmer, 7). If we are to
communicate effectively, we must agree on the use the terms. Perhaps what is
meant below is that English utterances have time reference, but verb forms
out of context do not.
> I reiterate: English utterances have tense; English verbs do not, no
> matter what the textbooks say.
> Stoney Breyer
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