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On Sun, Jul 13, 2008 at 3:20 AM, <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>  Ex-parrot. I
> can imagine you might want to know, "how would you
> distinguish between 'he was dead yesterday' and 'he died
> yesterday'." I would say, "yesterday he already dead" if
necessary.

What about "yesterday he was already dying"?  Meaning that he
didn't die yesterday, but the transitional process started
yesterday.

That actually illustrates how problematic tense can be. In English "to be dying" means that you aren't dead yet, but will soon be dead. But when we say "he is jumping" it doesn't mean he's getting ready to jump. Or perhaps as a better analogy, "find" is also a process with completion, like "die". But we don't say "he is finding it" to mean that he has begun the process of looking. In Japanese, incidentally, "die" is "shinu," but the meaning of "shinde imasu", or "is dying," is actually "to be dead". In Japanese you would need to say something like "shinisou," which means "he seems likely to die". So I would suggest using a term like "soon die" to mean what you intend to mean by "dying".

--
Jens Wilkinson
Neo Patwa (patwa.pbwiki.com)