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Mike wrote:

> > One thing which nobody has mentioned yet in this thread is that while in
> > all Germanic languages which I know the past tense is obligatory — you
> > *have* to use it where appropriate — the expression of the future
through
> > various auxiliaries is still optional.
>
>
> I did mention that in my "going to London" examples.  I was surprised no
> one had mentioned it earlier.  It was one of the reasons I chimed in.
>

Sorry! Perhaps you hadn't yet done so when I started writing my mail, which
I did in three sessions more or less corresponding to the paragraphs,
interrupted by sleep and looking after my grandson. I very much look
forward to learning how he and his cousins will speak when they are around
twenty!

Ray wrote:

>
> But then I've seen a good deal of change over the past 50+ years.
> Language changes; that's the nature of it.  I suspect if an objective
> diachronic study of all modal verbs were done (maybe it has been done),
> we should see many changes of usage.

Taken into account my observations of my grandmother's speech when I
started to notice such things I have in a sense tracked the evolution of my
family's Swedish over twelve decades, and there has been a great deal of
change.  Of course I don't know how much my grandmother, who just barely
was born in the nineteenth century, had changed her vocabulary and grammar
during the eightynine years between her birth and when I consciously
started observing the (to me) peculiarities of her grammar. It may well
have been quite a bit. I actually can remember some things about my Swedish
forty years ago which have changed since — apart from lexis that is. While
this is phonetics rather than grammar I know for a fact that I rolled my
R's in some contexts when I was about four years old from recordings my
father did then. I don't know when I switched to a retroflex approximant
(still alternating with an alveolar tap in some contexts), but it must have
been before I started taking an interest in phonetics in my late teens. Yet
I believe I still have muscle memory of what it was like to roll my R's,
since I can feel it in my tongue as I write this!


Den sön 28 apr. 2019 21:11Mike S. <[log in to unmask]> skrev:

> On Sun, Apr 28, 2019 at 4:28 AM BPJ <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> > One thing which nobody has mentioned yet in this thread is that while in
> > all Germanic languages which I know the past tense is obligatory — you
> > *have* to use it where appropriate — the expression of the future through
> > various auxiliaries is still optional.
>
>
> I did mention that in my "going to London" examples.  I was surprised no
> one had mentioned it earlier.  It was one of the reasons I chimed in.
>
>
> > It is always possible to just use
> > the simple "present" with future reference, even though doing so is
> > certainly more common in Swedish than in English and still more common in
> > Icelandic.
>
>
> It's not always possible to use the simple present form for future
> reference, but to your point I agree that English is still basically
> Germanic in this respect; you can use present forms for future reference
> quite a bit, and rarely if at all for past reference, except maybe in
> colloquial story-telling.
>
>
>
> > Also there are in both Swedish and English (and Icelandic) more
> > than one auxiliary construction which can be used to express the future:
> > _will, shall, be going to_ + infinitive; _ska(ll), komma att_ +
> infinitive;
> > _skall, fara að_ + infinitiv3; less so German where the future is pretty
> > much always expressed with _werden_ + infinitive. Also the "future"
> > expressions all (can) as has already been mentioned repeatedly express
> > shades of volition, intention, obligation or, for _go; komma; fara;
> werden_
> > different, less grammaticalized meanings. All this, but especially the
> fact
> > that you always can use the simple present with future reference while
> the
> > simple past, the perfect and the pluperfect are obligatory in appropriate
> > contexts, makes the expression of past and the expression of future in
> > Germanic languages two different kinds of beast in my book, with "the
> > future" (still) being far less grammaticalized.
> >
> > This said I have noticed another thing in this thread: with the notable
> > exception of Pete I think all the will-as-future proponents are all North
> > American,
>
>
> Data for your poll: I am from the northeast US.  I see "will" primarily as
> a future marker but don't take a position on whether or not Future is
> properly viewed as an English tense.
>
>
> > while Ray and And are both British, and this agrees with what I
> > as a translator from English into Swedish and a Swede who reads
> extensively
> > in English have noted long ago: future _will_ *is* without question more
> > grammaticalized west of the Atlantic,
>
>
> Possibly, but I honestly never noticed that.
>
>
>
> > so it is to some extent the case that
> > Aidan is referencint a different system than And and Ray are.  Since Pete
> > does if I'm not mistaken belongs to a younger generation than And and
> most
> > of us belong to younger generations than Ray I suspect that there is
> also a
> > generational difference within British English. I wonder if it is due to
> a
> > stronger American influence on those of younger generations, or on future
> > _will_ becoming slightly more grammaticalized for each generation!  Jim's
> > feeling that _shall_ future is more old fashioned than _will_ future is
> > also a transatlantic difference which has been long noted.
>
>
> I did notice the greater use of "shall" coming out of Britain.  It's only
> used in my area when trying to sound formal. You can also say it to friends
> in a slightly playful way, as in "Well, that's that.  Shall we go now?"
>
> Everything else in this post I generally agree with, or was informed by.
>
> -Mike
>