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--- On Sat, 7/12/08, [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> > [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jens
> Wilkinson
> 
> > In English, even native speakers sometimes have
> trouble with 
> > tenses. We have these dumb rules about having to say
> "He said 
> > the earth was flat" rather than "he said the
> earth is flat," 
> > so you're not sure if he meant that the earth used
> to be flat 
> > and is now round, or whether the verb is just put in
> the past 
> > tense to accord with the past tense of
> "said". Well, I may be 
> > wrong. In the first case maybe you're supposed to
> use the (to 
> > me) ludicrous "He said that the world had been
> flat." Or I 
> > suppose "He said the world was once flat".
> But either way, 
> > it's really difficult for L2 speakers. 
> 
> This is one reason I don't like required tense markers.
>  There
> is some confusion, especially in a narrative sense like
> your
> example.   During a narrative, we may also use the present
> for
> something that happened in the past.  It would be easier to
> just
> leave the markers off, and the narrative context will
> already
> indicate when the serious of events took place.

That's why Eo and Ido don't shift the tense in indirect discourse. One of the greatest failings of Novial was that J actually extended tense shifting and made it worse.

Steve