Verb. The category of tense. The problem of the future tense.
Description of the English verb: the categorical meaning of the verb, its morphological system, syntactic function. The category of tense in different linguistic theories. Absolute and relative tenses in M. Bloch’s teaching. The category of primary time. The category of prospective time. The interrelation of the two categories. The problem of the future tense in the foreign and home linguistic.
The verb is the most complex part за speech. The reason for it is the central role the verb performs in the expression of the predicative functions of the sentence.
The categorical meaning of the verb is process. Verb I is the only part of speech in present day English that has a morphological system based on a series of categories. They are the category of person, number, tense, aspect, voice, mood and correlation. The procetial of process lexico-grammatical meaning of the verb conditions its peculiar combinability with nouns or noun equivalents denoting the doer 9agent) and the recipient of the acion expressed by the verb. It is also modified by adverbs. The verb always performs the function of the predicate in the sentence. The verb has such forms as the infinitive, the gerund and the particle which occupy a peculiar position in its system. They are the non-finite forms of the verbs. One of the typical functions of the finite verb is the immediate expression of grammatical time or tense.
Time as well as space are the basic forms of the existence of matter. Time should be appraised by the individual in reference to the resent moment (linguistically the moment of speech). The present moment serves as the demarcation line between the past and the future pr. Смирницкий and Illish consider that the three main divisions of objective time are represented in the English verbal system by the three tenses: present, past and Future. However Illish admits that the future in the past doesn’t easy fit into a system of tenses represented by a straight line running out of the Past into the Future. The starting point of the future in the Past is not the present from which the past and Future are reckoned but the Past itself. According to Bloch the grammatical expression of verbal time that is tense is effected in 2 correlated stages. At the first stage the process receives an absolute time characteristics by means of opposing the past tense to the Present tense. The marked member of the opposition is the Past form. At the second stage the process receives a non-absolutive relative time characteristics by means of opposing the form of the future tense to the forms of no-future marking.
The 2 stages of the verbal time denotation are expressed separately by their own oppositional forms. So extended reason to recognize in the system of the English verb not one but two temporal categories. Bi\both of them answer the question what is the timing of the process but the first member expresses a direct retrospective evaluation of the time. It fixes the process either in the Past or not in the Past.
The second category whose strong member is the Future tense gives the timing of the process a prospective evaluation. It fixes the process either in the future or not in the future. The first category is called by Bloch ‘the category of primary time’ and the second ‘the category of prospective time’ to ‘prospect’. The category of primary time as has been stated provides for the absolute expression of the time of the process that is the expression of it in reference to the moment of speech. The formal sign of the opposition constituting this category is with regular verbs the dental suffix –(e)d[d,t,id] and with irregular verbs different phonemic interchanges. The suffix marks the verbal form of the past time. The opposite form is unmarked. An additional reason for identifying the verbal past – present system as a separate grammatical category is provided by the fact that this system is specifically marked by the do-forms of the indefinite aspect.
Thus, the opposition is rendered by the formula the past-tense vs. non-past \ present tense. The specific feature of the category of primary time is that it divided all the tense forms of the English verb into two temporal plains. The plain of the present and the plain of the past which also affects the future tense. There are two futures in the system of the English verb. On the one hand, the future of the present that is as prospected from the present, on the other hand the Future of the Past that is as prospected from the past. The following example illustrates the four member correlation.
*Jane returns from school at 5 o’clock. At 5 Janу returned from school.
I know that Jane will return from school at 5 o’clock.– Future present. I knew that at 5 Jane would return from school.
The fact that the present tense is the unmarked member of the opposition explains a very wide range of its meanings exceeding by far the indication of the moment of speech. Indeed eh present time may be understood literary as the moment of speaking that is the zero point of all subjective estimation time made by the speaker the meaning of the present I this case will be conveyed by such phrases as at this very moment or exactly now or some other phrase like that. The present will still be the present if we relate it to such vast periods of time as this month, this year, in out epoch etc. Still furthermore if we utter general truths as for instance 2 + 2 maked four or the sun is a star we imply always and so at the moment of speech.
Problems of the Future tense
The combinations of the verbs shall and will with the infinitive have lately v\become subject of renewed discussion. The controversial point about them is whether these combinations really constitute together with the forms of the Past and Present the categorical expression of the verbal tense or are just model phrases. Many grammarians recognize the existence of the Future tense. O. Jespersen a recognized authority on English grammar denied the existence of it because according to him the verbs shall and will preserve some а their original meaning. Shall- the meaning of the obligation and will – volition. With O. Jespersen English has no way of expressing pure futurity. Professor Illish considers that these arguments are not convincing. Though the verbs shall and will may in some context preserve their original meaning of the obligation and volition as a rule they are devoid of any meaning and express near futurity.
*In this case I’ll have to change my plan. Tomorrow’s weather will be cold and cloudy.
A well-grounded objected against the inclusion of the construction shall, will + infinitive in the tense system of the verb on the same basis as the forms of the present and past has been advanced by L.S. Бархударов. His objection consists of the would-be tense form by one and the same category. The combinations in question express at once both the future tense and the past tense (Future-in-the-Past).It hardly makes only sense in terms of a grammatical category. The principle of the identification of any grammatical category demands that the forms of the category in normal use should be mutually exclusive the category is constituted by the opposition of its forms but not by their co-position. However reconsidering the status of the construction shall, will + infinitive in the light of opposition approach we see that far from comparing with the past-present verbal forms as the thirst member form of the category of primary time it makes its own grammatical category namely that of prospective time. The meaningful contrast underline the category of prospective time is between an after action and a non-after action. The after action of the future having its shall-will feature constitutes the strong marked member of the opposition. The category of prospect is also temporal but the semantic basis of the category of prospect is different in principle from that of the category of primary time while the primary time is absolute that is Present-oriented, the prospective time is surely relative. It means that the future from of the verb only shows that the denoted process is prospected as an after-action relative to some other action or state or event, the timing of which marks the zero level for it. The two times are presented in prospective coordination. One is shown as prospected for the future. The future is relative to the primary time either present or past. As a result the expression of the future receives the two mutually complementary langvistations. One manifestation for the present time plain of the verb (shall, will | infinitive), the other manifestation for the past time plain of the verb )should, would + infinitive).
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