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Download PDF Tense and Aspect in English and in German: From a learners perspective

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Unterhalb der Hauptnavigation befindet sich der Inhaltsbereich. Die Feinnavigation findet sich - sofern vorhanden - in der linken Spalte. In der rechten Spalte finden Sie ueblicherweise Kontaktdaten. Traditional approaches to the study of the morphosyntax of learner language were often based on experimental or elicited data e. With more and more learner corpora for various target languages becoming available to the research community see, e.

Learner corpora present many advantages to both individual researchers and the community: i they are usually large typically, hundreds of thousands or millions of words , making it easier to achieve empirical validity; ii they are often publicly available, making it easier to check whether previous results can be reproduced and substantiated; and iii annotations of linguistic features can be produced collaboratively and shared along with the original data.

All these advantages contribute to making the research efforts of the community more data-driven, and thus more reliable and representative of authentic learner language. More specifically, the expression of temporal relations in terms of tense and aspect is central in all processes of communication Housen , but commonly perceived and described as a hurdle for non-native speakers see, e.

Therefore, the topic of tense and aspect has already received considerable attention in the literature see, e. With this workshop, we intend to close this gap und to show which additional insights into the area of tense and aspect in learner language can be gained using corpus data, addressing the following aspects, amongst others:. We invite contributions for oral presentations of 20 minutes plus 10 minutes discussion that address these issues and use material from language corpora potentially in combination or contrast with other types of data to shed light on the acquisition of tense and aspect in learner language.

Please send abstracts of words exclusive of references to valentin. Notification of acceptance will be sent out by the end of April Davydova, Julia. The present perfect in non-native Englishes: A corpus-based study of variation. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. The acquisition of temporality in a second language.

Tense-aspect processing in second language learners - [email protected]

Amsterdam: Benjamins. The answer why Languages are so different simply is: In some languages this properties did develop, in some other it did not. None of the features of any language are really necessary to be able to communicate. If you are speaker of a certain language, you know how to use its possibilities. When we German native speakers talk German with each other, we don't need continuous tense. We have no need to use it. That's why there is no continuous tense in German and many other languages.

International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching

Some dialects have it, and in these dialects you can use it. I'll give you another example: My really first Language that I learned as a little child was a German dialect spoken in the south-east of Austrian province Styria. The dialect of the region does not have a genitive case, and dative and accusative case was almost the same. So I grew up with a version of German that had just 2. I had to learn genitive case in school like a foreign language, and also had to learn to distinguish between dative and accusative case.

But the important thing is: That there is a German dialect without Genitive shows, that Genitive case is not really necessary. And this is true for almost all features of all languages.

How Many Tenses in English?

So if you are missing some feature of your own native language in some other language, don't ask why those people didn't come up with something useful. The fact is: Although it seems useful to you, since you are used to it, it is not really necessary. The question should be why English dropped the preposition before the gerund.

13 Responses to “How Many Tenses in English?”

My answer: Because English has a strong tendency to shorten. There is a difference. In German this form is used only occasionally. It is mostly used with a valency of zero or one in High German. Note that the verb has to be capitalized. The remaining question is why it is not mandatory? Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site the association bonus does not count.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead? Home Questions Tags Users Unanswered. Ask Question. Is there any historical change or reason behind this? What are the historical reasons behind different forms to express continuous aspect? The short answer is that the English language has developed the continuous aspect after it had left the continent: en. CarstenSchultz: It says: "Rise of the periphrastic aspect, particularly the progressive form i. BE verb-ing: I am writing, she was singing etc. The progressive form developed in the change from Old English to Middle English.

Similar constructs are rare in Germanic languages and not completely analogous. For example, Dutch. It would be nice to get more details on this topic.


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It does, it's just not yet considered as standard as in other languages. And you know how hard it is to pin down why one construction is considered more prestigious than another. Dutch does not have a continuous tense. That's why Spanish has a continuous tense with its Yo estoy dormiendo. Crissov: It doesn't have the "tense" but there are semantically approximate forms. First a correction regarding the underlying facts: It is misleading to say that standard German does not have a progressive aspect. As pointed out in a passage you quoted, standard German has an extremely short and efficient method to express the progressive aspect: adding the adverb gerade , which roughly translates to right now.

It's just not obligatory. And most German dialects have additional ways of marking progressive aspect that are structurally more similar to how it is done in English. Moreover, for intransitive verbs the Dutch style of marking the continuous with daran sein, etwas zu tun literal translation: to be at it to do something is well established in colloquial German of most regions by now.

All not obligatory. Another feature of colloquial standard German that got some attention and its name rather recently is the absentive aspect. Structurally this is about as similar to the English progressive aspect as possible, the only difference being that it uses the infinitive rather than the present participle, just like the Dutch progressive does. The commonality is that in all three languages it's the verb form that functions ordinarily as a noun.


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The real difference is for now in what it expresses. The absentive typically expresses that someone is in a different location right now in order to do something there that can only be done there. This doesn't just mean that she is cooking right now; it implies that she regularly goes to some other place in order to cook there, and that's where she is right now.

Dutch also has this construction with the same meaning. It is misleading to say that English has the progressive aspect in common with most other Germanic languages and many other languages.

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In English it is essentially obligatory to mark this aspect, i. Whereas ways of marking progressive aspect abound in all sorts of languages and in fact many have more than one, this obligatory nature is actually quite rare. In particular, English is the only Germanic language which has this phenomenon.

So English is about as odd in this respect as German. Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic did not have a progressive aspect. Latin and French Latin has had a lot of influence on the evolution of Germanic languages, not just as the ancestor of French, but also directly as the scholarly lingua franca for many centuries. How progressive aspects and similar features come up Grammatical features evolve naturally and gradually, often out of idioms. How aspect marking can become obligatory quickly Speakers of all languages like to mark progressive aspect because it tends to make statements livelier and stronger.

How aspect marking can stay non-obligatory for a long time Dutch-style progressive marking is still very clumsy in German, and extremely so for transitive verbs. Hans Adler Hans Adler 8, 28 28 silver badges 29 29 bronze badges. Thanks for the through answer. I added further findings to my questions also. My Latin is very rusty, but as far as I know Latin has a kind of progressive aspect, as in Marcus laborans but I'm not sure whether this can be considered a sentence, although I'm sure est can be left out.

Exellent point re Latin progressive using present participle. This is actually believed to have had an influence on the situation in English. Also, apparently one can think of the imperfect vs. From that point of view Latin even has special verb forms for it, though only in the past tense. I have made some corrections above. It does not make much sense to ask why a certain language has this or that feature.

Trigger or Signal Words for Tenses in English

More important: None of the features of any language are really necessary to be able to communicate. Because it is not necessary. Not really. It just happened without any further reason. People in different regions developed different habits of speaking. Hulk 4, 10 10 silver badges 27 27 bronze badges. CarstenS: Acht andere Leute wird erschrecken, dass es jemanden gibt, der dieser Antwort ein Downvote gegeben hat. Asking why something exists the way it is, is the driving force behind the human pursuit for knowledge.

Denying that it makes sense is purest ignorance. You are also ignoring the field of historical linguistics and the OP's interest in it.