Objectives • Learn to distinguish the various tense, aspect, voice, and mood properties of English. • Learn to identify the modals and auxiliaries that represent these distinctions.
1. Tense • Tense refers to the time of an event relative to the time at which the sentence is either spoken or written. • E.g. • John left • The act that John left happened before the time of writing or saying this sentence
Tense E = the time at which the event occurred U = the time of the utterance or writing • Past tense: E < U John danced b. Present tense: E = U He likes ice cream c. Future tense: U < E He will eat dinner
Tense • In English, tense is marked with an –edsuffix or the verb comes with a special past tense form. The present tense is either unmarked (for first or second person or plural subjects) or marked with an –s suffix. • In formal speech, the future is marked with the modal auxiliary will. In less formal speech, the auxiliary gonna (or going to) is used.
Exercise I • Identify whether the following sentences are in the past, present, or future tense by circling the correct answer:
Notation • TENSE itself is a value of the feature SEM (for semantics). We use the following features to represent the following tenses: • [SEM [TENSE past]] • [SEM [TENSE present ]] • [SEM [ TENSE future]]
2. Perfect aspect • While TESNE is defined by looking at the relationship between the time of the event and the time of the utterance or writing, ASPECT is defined by making reference to some other point, typically other than the speech time, then looking at when the event happens relative to that reference point. • E.g. • John had eaten his sandwich before I could get him his pickle. • • reference point • The perfect happens when the time of the event (E) occurs before some referent point (R). So the perfect E < R
Definition • The perfect is always indicated in English by using the auxiliary or helping verb have (has or had) combined with a special form of the main verb known as the participle . The participle in English can be formed four ways: • By attaching an –en or –n suffix: eat → eaten, fall → fallen • By attaching an –edsuffix: dance → danced, love → loved • By using a special participle form: drink → drunk, sing → sung • By making no change at all: hit → hit
Definition • We can tell the difference between a participle and a past tense by the fact that the participle always appears with an auxiliary verb like be, have or their variants • E.g. • He danced → past • He has danced → participle / perfect aspect • To identify the perfect, we need to look for two things • an auxiliary has/ have/ had • a participle The Perfect Formula = HAVE + PARTICPLE
Exercise II • Underline the verb & auxiliary marking the perfect • I was driving into Tuscon to buy some tortillas, when I noticed that my car was nearly out of gas. I was surprised because I had filled the tank yesterday. I had driven all over town. However, I hadn’t gone that far.
DiscussionThe perfect aspect can be combined with each of the tenses • E.g. • I hadeaten the beef waffles • ASPECT: perfect (had + eaten) • TENSE: past (had) • Past perfect: E < R < U
DiscussionThe perfect aspect can be combined with each of the tenses • E.g. • I haveeaten the beef waffles • ASPECT: perfect (has + eaten) • TENSE: present (have) • Present perfect: E < R=U
DiscussionThe perfect aspect can be combined with each of the tenses • E.g. • I willhave eaten the beef waffles • ASPECT: future perfect (will + have + eaten) • TENSE: future (will) • Present perfect: U < E=R
Definition • The opposite of perfect is imperfect
3. Progressive aspect • The progressive aspect indicates an on-going event relative to the reference time. • E.g. • Jeff was dancing with Sylvia, while Amy sat angrily at their table. There is co-occurrence between the reference time & and the time of dancing • In English, the progressive aspect is always indicated by combining what is traditionally called the present participle form of the verb with some version of the auxiliary verb be. • Present participles in English are always marked with –ing. • Present participles will be referred to as gerunds
3. Progressive aspect • Like the perfect, the tense marking in progressive is typically indicated on the auxiliary. The progressive aspect is always presented in English by the pairing of the gerund with be. • The Progressive Formula = BE+ GERUND
Discussion • E.g. • I waseatingthe beef waffles • ASPECT: progressive (was + eating) • TENSE: past (was) • 2. I ameating the beef waffles • ASPECT: progressive (am + eating) • TENSE: present (am) • 3. I willbeeating beef waffles • ASPECT: progressive (be + eating) • TENSE: future (will)
4. Voice • Voice refers to a phenomenon that changes the number of participants that are described in an event. • E.g. Eat • Calvin ate the beef waffles • Calvin eater DP / External Feature • The beef waffles the eatee DP / Internal Feature • In a passive • The beef waffles were eaten
5. Combined tense, aspect & voice • It is possible to combine the three rows to form complex verb forms • E.g. • The soup had been being eaten past perfect progressive passive • PAST: • PERFCET: • PROGRESSIVE: • PASSIVE:
5. Combined tense, aspect & voice • E.g. • The soup will have been being eaten • PAST: • PERFCET: • PROGRESSIVE: • PASSIVE:
9. MOOD • Mood refers to the speaker’s perspective on the event; whether the event is a possibility, a probability, a necessity, or an obligation . • Mood is expressed through modal auxiliary verbs • Mood can also be expressed through adjectives (it is possible that), other auxiliaries or verbs (Calivn has to eat his tune), or adverbs (possibly John will leave) • The modals of English: can, could, may, might, would, shall, should, must
NOTATION • We use one more SEM feature to indicate MOOD. • MOOD has the following values: • Possibility • Probability • Necessity • Obligation