Perception of time

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Re: Perception of time

Post by k1234567890y » Thu 17 Sep 2015, 13:51

cntrational wrote:Examine these following sentences. They all indicate a future time, but fail to use "will".

1. Hurry! The train leaves in five minutes.
2. Lisa can't watch TV until her grades improve.
3. When is the last day to register to vote?
4. She's going have a baby.
5. We're having pizza for dinner!

Now look at these sentences that use "will":

6. Will you please pass the salt?
7. A lion will attack only if it's hungry.
8. No matter what, John just won't listen to anything I say.
9. The game will be finished by now.

It's difficult to argue that these are really future, time or tense. You could say 6 is talking about the immediate future, but you can just as easily say "Please pass the salt". All that "will" is doing here is to soften the request.

7 could be interpreted as making a prediction, but it is better interpreted as a timeless statement of fact. True for nearly all lions.

8 uses the negative contraction of "will not", but doesn't describe a future event. It's similar to 7, but describes an event true in the past and up to the present, but doesn't explicitly state that it has to be true in the future.

9 makes its present-ity explicit with "by now". "Will" here does nothing but indicate that it is a prediction, but a prediction of the past.

And if you need to have it hammered in more, I'll quote a bunch of guys:
David Crystal, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language wrote: How many tenses of the verb are there in English? If your automatic reaction is to say "three, at least"--past, present, and future--you are showing the influence of the Latinate grammatical tradition. . . .

[ i]n traditional grammar, [t]ense was thought of as the grammatical expression of time, and identified by a particular set of endings on the verb. In Latin there were present tense endings . . ., future tense endings . . ., perfect tense endings . . ., and several others marking different tense forms.

English, by contrast, has only one inflectional form to express time: the past tense marker (typically -ed), as in walked, jumped, and saw. There is therefore a two-way tense contrast in English: I walk vs I walked--present tense vs past tense. . . .

However people find it extremely difficult to drop the notion of "future tense" (and related notions, such as imperfect, future perfect, and pluperfect tenses) from their mental vocabulary, and to look for other ways of talking about the grammatical realities of the English verb.
(The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. Cambridge University Press, 2003)
Bas Aarts, Oxford Modern English Grammar wrote:English has no future tense, because it has no future tense inflections, in the way that many other languages do, nor any other grammatical form or combination of forms that can exclusively be called a future tense.
Ronald Carter and Michael McCarthy, Cambridge Grammar of English wrote:There is no future tense ending for English verbs as there is in other languages . . ..
Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum, The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language wrote:[W]e do not recognise a future tense for English. . . . [T]here is no grammatical category that can properly be analysed as a future tense. More particularly, we argue that will (and likewise shall) is an auxiliary of mood, not tense.
Randolph Quirk et al., A Grammar of Contemporary English wrote:[M]orphologically English has no future form of the verb in addition to present and past forms. . . . In this grammar, then, we do not talk about the future as a formal category...
tl;dr: Don't conflate semantic future time with grammatical future tense.
ok :) thank you for your opinion.
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Re: Perception of time

Post by Lao Kou » Thu 17 Sep 2015, 14:00

Most American prisoners have drunk milk. We may therefore conclude milk consumption results in criminal behavior.
k1234567890y wrote:while Chinese and Japanese are examples of languages with weak future tenses) or not influences whether the speakers will have more future-oriented behaviors like saving, smoking, weight-control, etc., and ironically, speakers of languages that DON'T have strong future tenses(that is, languages that have weak future tense) have more future-oriented behaviors, speakers of languages that DON'T have strong future tenses save more, smoke less and are less likely to be overweight.
Turn off the Zen-inducing, exotic East bamboo flute music for a moment. Chinese people don't smoke?! [O.O] Stock market "readjustment"? Tianjin chemical explosion? I'm not feeling any more "the future is now" behavior than anywhere else. Should one really argue these from a linguistic angle?

How is:

我明天和家里人吃饭。

different tense-wise from:

I'm having dinner with my family tomorrow?
k1234567890y wrote:they listed English as one with strong future tense, as English speakers almost always use the aux verb "will" when talking about the future.
No, they don't.

Usw., usw., usw.
Last edited by Lao Kou on Thu 17 Sep 2015, 14:08, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Perception of time

Post by k1234567890y » Thu 17 Sep 2015, 14:08

Lao Kou wrote:Turn off the Zen-inducing, exotic East bamboo flute music for a moment. Chinese people don't smoke?! [O.O] Stock market "readjustment"? Tianjin chemical explosion? I'm not feeling any more "the future is now" behavior than anywhere else. Should one really argue these from a linguistic angle?
You can blame your government and the greedy business people for those unresponsible behaviors.
Lao Kou wrote: How is:

我明天和家里人吃饭。

different tense-wise from:

I'm having dinner with my family tomorrow?

Usw., usw., usw.
hmm...
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Re: Perception of time

Post by Lao Kou » Thu 17 Sep 2015, 14:18

k1234567890y wrote:You can blame your government and the greedy business people for those unresponsible behaviors.
Perhaps - perhaps not, but I'm not blaming it on a "strong future tense" in English or the supposed lack thereof in Chinese, which was the original point.
Last edited by Lao Kou on Thu 17 Sep 2015, 14:22, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Perception of time

Post by k1234567890y » Thu 17 Sep 2015, 14:20

Lao Kou wrote:
k1234567890y wrote:You can blame your government and the greedy business people for those unresponsible behaviors.
Perhaps - perhaps not, but I won't blame it on a "strong future tense" in English or the supposed lack thereof in Chinese, which was the point.
ok :) sorry if I misread your and others' comments
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Re: Perception of time

Post by HoskhMatriarch » Fri 18 Sep 2015, 20:32

Lao Kou wrote:Most American prisoners have drunk milk. We may therefore conclude milk consumption results in criminal behavior.
k1234567890y wrote:while Chinese and Japanese are examples of languages with weak future tenses) or not influences whether the speakers will have more future-oriented behaviors like saving, smoking, weight-control, etc., and ironically, speakers of languages that DON'T have strong future tenses(that is, languages that have weak future tense) have more future-oriented behaviors, speakers of languages that DON'T have strong future tenses save more, smoke less and are less likely to be overweight.
Turn off the Zen-inducing, exotic East bamboo flute music for a moment. Chinese people don't smoke?! [O.O] Stock market "readjustment"? Tianjin chemical explosion? I'm not feeling any more "the future is now" behavior than anywhere else. Should one really argue these from a linguistic angle?

How is:

我明天和家里人吃饭。

different tense-wise from:

I'm having dinner with my family tomorrow?
k1234567890y wrote:they listed English as one with strong future tense, as English speakers almost always use the aux verb "will" when talking about the future.
No, they don't.

Usw., usw., usw.
Yes. I would say that English uses "will" for less than half of the future tense sentences, especially once you include all the "going to"s, but even without that, people tend not to use "will" with most temporal adverbs, except with things like "it will be cold tomorrow" because for some reason you can't say *it's cold tomorrow.
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Re: Perception of time

Post by Salmoneus » Fri 18 Sep 2015, 21:42

I for one rarely use 'will', and nor do people I know.

It's raining tomorrow. It's due to rain all weekend. Remember, X and Y are arriving on Saturday - they're getting in at 5, so I'm picking them up from the airport. Remember to go shopping, and have dinner ready by six. They don't eat pineapple. They're here all week, and then they leave on the next monday. It's a bad time to have to fly, since it's half-term that week. But X's job starts that wednesday.
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Re: Perception of time

Post by clawgrip » Sat 19 Sep 2015, 03:19

It's just pseudo-science that explains why you don't need to feel bad that other people are better than you.
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Re: Perception of time

Post by Lao Kou » Sat 19 Sep 2015, 03:49

La Cigale et la fourmi goes to Yale.

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Re: Perception of time

Post by Keenir » Sat 19 Sep 2015, 05:41

k1234567890y wrote:
Lao Kou wrote:Turn off the Zen-inducing, exotic East bamboo flute music for a moment. Chinese people don't smoke?! [O.O] Stock market "readjustment"? Tianjin chemical explosion? I'm not feeling any more "the future is now" behavior than anywhere else. Should one really argue these from a linguistic angle?
You can blame your government and the greedy business people for those unresponsible behaviors.
And what are the Anglophones' excuse?

(since when are Chinese people unable to smoke? and how is NOT smoking, an unresponsible behavior?)
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Re: Perception of time

Post by MrKrov » Sat 19 Sep 2015, 05:51

Keenir wrote:(since when are Chinese people unable to smoke? and how is NOT smoking, an unresponsible behavior?)
Not smoking is the baseline norm here. Smoking is the rascally behavior being called unresponsive and introduced.
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Re: Perception of time

Post by Lao Kou » Sat 19 Sep 2015, 06:41

Keenir wrote:
k1234567890y wrote:
Lao Kou wrote:Chinese people don't smoke?! [O.O] Stock market "readjustment"? Tianjin chemical explosion? I'm not feeling any more "the future is now" behavior than anywhere else. Should one really argue these from a linguistic angle?
You can blame your government and the greedy business people for those unresponsible behaviors.
(since when are Chinese people unable to smoke? and how is NOT smoking, an unresponsible behavior?)
I interpreted k1234567890y's comment to mean that s/he considered smoking the irresponsible behavior.
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Re: Perception of time

Post by Ànradh » Tue 22 Sep 2015, 02:36

HoskhMatriarch wrote:Yes. I would say that English uses "will" for less than half of the future tense sentences, especially once you include all the "going to"s, but even without that, people tend not to use "will" with most temporal adverbs, except with things like "it will be cold tomorrow" because for some reason you can't say *it's cold tomorrow.
Even in those situations it's usually reduced to X'll, at least in speech.
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Re: Perception of time

Post by clawgrip » Sat 26 Sep 2015, 13:49

Ànradh wrote:
HoskhMatriarch wrote:Yes. I would say that English uses "will" for less than half of the future tense sentences, especially once you include all the "going to"s, but even without that, people tend not to use "will" with most temporal adverbs, except with things like "it will be cold tomorrow" because for some reason you can't say *it's cold tomorrow.
Even in those situations it's usually reduced to X'll, at least in speech.
I totally disagree with the theory, but I think you're splitting hairs here. "'ll" functions identically to "will".
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