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On 16/05/2019 03:55, Stewart Fraser wrote:
> I am quibbling here. But no harm in a little quibble.

Indeed - and IMO the quibble you raise is not trivial, but an important one.

> And said … “The present tense is compatible with events construed
> holistically and as wholly occurring at the present moment.”
> 
> Now when say “present tense” are you talking about language (1) ? or
> are you talking about that REALITY (2) which is described by
> language ?
> 
> Failure to distinguish between (1) and (2) leads to a lot of talking
> in circles, a lot of confusion.

Yes, indeed, it does lead to a lot of cross talking and confusion.  It
is IM0 unfortunate that we do not have distinct terms to refer to (a)
"[t]he grammatical category which correlates most directly with
distiinctions of time" and (b) "[a]ny particular tense form exhibited by
a particular language, such as the English past tense"  [quotes from
Trask].  Failure to distinguish the two leads to confusion.

> If you are mean (1) then things are language specific. Present tense
> (1) it is the morpheme(s) a certain languages takes to present tense
> (2). These same morphemes usually intrude into the semantic fields
> of habitual (tense ?) and progressive (aspect ?)* and every language
> differs in how this intrusion patterns.

Exactly.  And was clearly referring to the _English_ present tense:
{quote}
In English we find no end of felicitous present tense perfectives, e.g.
in narrative present, in plot summaries, in live commentary, in
performatives ("I hereby name this ship Hepsibah"). (The English Simple
Present is unspecified for perfectivity...
{/quote]

As an example of the narrative present, also known as the historic
present, Trask gives "This guy comes in, right? He goes up to the bar
and asks for a whiskey."   Now "comes", "goes" and "asks" are indeed
English simple present tenses.  But in Stewart's sense (2) and my (a),
the three verbs are _past_ perfective - not present perfective.

> It would not be proper to talk about present tense (1) without
> mentioning the specific language at least. So I will assume you are
> talking about present tense (2).

But And did mention English.

> Present tense is the infinitely small slice of time occurring NOW.
> Now the human brain can’t do much in an infinitely small slice of
> time so lets make it 0.5 of a second centred on NOW.

0.5 second is a long time in this day and age when in computing we talk
of nanoseconds!   It has been questioned whether _present_ time has any
reality at all as even while I'm typing on the keyboard here it's all
going into the past.  Sure, we can look back at the past, whether the
immediate past a few nanoseconds ago and the remote past several billion
years ago, and talk of events either perfectively, i.e. without any
particular reference to the internal temporal consistency of the
situation, or imperfectively.

The same applies to the future; whether we hold a deterministic view of
the future or hold that the future is one of possibilities is beside the
point for this purpose.  We can talk of (pdetermined/probable/possible)
future events either perfectively or imperfectively.


> Now when you said “The present tense is compatible with events
> construed holistically and as wholly occurring at the present
> moment” I guess you must be taking about verbs with punctual
> aktionsart here (you said “wholly occurring”). So you reckon a verb
> such as “blink” would be compatible with present tense (2).

I don't think And meant that, but I may be mistaken.

[snip]

> So I disagree with “The present tense is compatible with events
> construed holistically and as wholly occurring at the present
> moment”.

So do I if by present tense we mean 'present tense' in the sense of
correlating directly with the present moment.  Indeed, in that sense I
find "present tense is compatible with events construed holistically and
as wholly occurring at the present" to be meaningless. If, however, we
mean "present tense" of a pariculsr language, e.g. English, Garman,
Latin, Swahili, Urdu etc, then that is a whole different matter.

Ray