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ArtikelThe Functions of Past Tenses: Greek, Latin, Italian, French  
Oleh: Pulgram, Ernst
Jenis: Article from Journal - ilmiah internasional
Dalam koleksi: Language Sciences (Full Text) vol. 6 no. 2 (1984), page 239-269.
Fulltext: 06_02_Pulgram.pdf (1.59MB)
Isi artikelLatin grammarians describing their language (or laying down rules for the proper use of it) owe much to their Greek predecessors, notably Dionysius Thrax (c. 170-90 B.C.), whose rules they sought to replicate and whose terminology they translated. But since Latin is different in structure from Greek, and since in particular it does not have the same number of past tenses as Greek, the syntax of its tenses is not congruent with that of Greek either. And if the names of Greek tenses indicated in some measure, however awkwardly, their function, translation of these names into Latin could not but be misleading. Since also modem grammarians often base themselves on this Graeco-Roman grammatical tradition, the rules for the use of tenses and the names they devised in imitation of that tradition are less than satisfactory and at times confusing, whether they pertain to the temporal or the so-called aspectual function of the past tenses. It is argued that language in general, and tenses in particular, do not always or necessarily present faithfully the physical reality but rather re-present it, Filtered, as it were, through the speaker. In this manner, the use of one or the other past tense evokes that perception of the action expressed by the verb which the speaker wants the hearer to receive. It follows that the same reality can be stated by, say, either the "imperfect" or the "past" (simple or compound) in Italian or French, depending on whether the speaker wishes to have the hearer contemplate what goes on as a picture (though movement may be involved), or whether he wants to report to the speaker the occurrence of an event, or of a series of events. In the first case, the verb answers the question - posed or implied - "What was the state? What were the circumstances?"; in the second, the question is "What happened? What happened next?".
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