10.1. NIERZECZYWISTA PRZESZŁOŚĆ CZY TRYB WARUNKOWY: RZECZYWISTY CZAS

(TRANSLATION IN PROGRESS)

Let us try a few more quotes.

 

More than that, and breaking precedent once more, I do not intend to commence any sentence with these words ― „If George Washington had been alive today”, or „If Thomas Jefferson”, or „If Alexander Hamilton”, or „If Abraham Lincoln had been alive today…”
Theodore Roosevelt, American President

PICTURE: PRESIDENT THEODORE ROOSEVELT

PRESIDENT THEODORE ROOSEVELT

 

Grammar resources might label the quote from Theodore Roosevelt as the 3rd Conditional, Unreal Past, or even the Past Unreal Conditional, dependent on the grammar approach solely.

 

Some of those resources would tell we build the 3rd Conditional of the Past Perfect and the Future in the Past.

 

We would have to recognize the Past Perfect for a potentially Unreal form, then.

 

Worse still, our „Unreal Past Perfect” would be as good as merely a fancy. Please compare a quote from Gerald Ford.

 

If Lincoln were alive today, he’d be turning over in his grave.

 

PICTURE: PRESIDENT GERALD FORDPRESIDENT GERALD FORD.

 

It is not only for our pension plans that we might be unwilling to have the Past Perfect for merely a fancy.

 

With Perfect tenses overall, our syntactic HAVE helps tell about real time. It has an open, real-time frame. To compare physical space, we might think about paths or routes on real ground.

 

{TO} is our cognitive variable.
We have the variable to render duration and time spans.

 

TEXT EXTENT: I HAVE WORKED -- I HAD WORKED

 

With the Unreal grammatical time or Conditional, HAVE brings hypothetical time. It is not part the real map, then.

 

It comes with an auxiliary compass for relative time, and closes the frame for the theory. We attach the auxiliary compass to the Modal.

 

Our cognitive variable is {ON}.

 

TEXT EXTENT: WE MAY HAVE WORKED -- MIGHT HAVE WORKED

Duration and time span become generalized.
We have called it our Modal Net.

 

TEXT EXTENT: MODAL NET, MAY HAVE JUMPED, MIGHT HAVE STOPPED

Whether our verb would be to read, to speak, to run, to stop, or to jump, duration becomes non-essential, with a theory closed frame.

 

The matter is exactly the same with the anchor HAVE in Theodore Roosevelt’s quote. The phrase, “had been alive”, is not concerned with longevity or shortness of life.

 

The phrase narrates about being alive generally, and we could quote Gerald Ford’s wording, “were alive” for an exact paraphrase.

 

Naturally, we might note that live people would not be likely staying in their graves, but our thing here is to work grammar for language uses as they are, even if absolutely abstract or humorous.

EMOTICON: SMILE

We may recur to CHAPTER 10. Our example was
„If you HAD eaten the cookie, you WOULD NOT HAVE had it (at some later, but still PAST time)”.

 

Again, the anchor HAVE pays no heed to the length of time it takes to eat a cookie. It helps mind if the cookie remains, or has been consumed in the course of events.

 

The syntactic role is narrative, not factual.
We may compare SUB-CHAPTER 9.2.
I thought the handle MIGHT HAVE / COULD HAVE broken off.
(It turned out it was still in place.)

 

However we know the theory was against fact, we can tell our story with the anchor HAVE.

 

About stories and their telling, the Conditional or grammatical „unreal time” are often backtrack logic: we look to the consequent, to speculate on the premise.

 

Let us think if language might transfer features.

 

PICTURE: BACKTRACK LOGIC, FEATURE TRANSFER

 

We can view the phrase had eaten as a transfer of the syntactic anchor from the consequent.

 

We may think about a similar transfer for the Passive, where the object becomes the subject and the predicate adapts.

 

We do not need to view the anchor HAVE as the real-time Past Perfect. For speculation as “had been alive” or “were alive”, the choice is purely stylistic.

 

Do we need to recognize the 3rd and other Conditionals? Let us try another president quote.

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„If I had permitted my failures, or what seemed to me at the time a lack of success, to discourage me, I cannot see any way in which I would ever have made progress.”
Calvin Coolidge, American President

PICTURE: PRESIDENT CALVIN COOLIDGE

CALVIN COOLIDGE IN 1910, LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

 

Grammar resources might label the above as the 2nd Conditional, or view the phrase „I WOULD have made progress” as a Modal modification of a real-time „I HAVE made progress”.

 

The argument might be, the words definitely refer to a time span, between some time PAST and PRESENT, in which progress has been made.

 

Let us consider two views to our syntactic structures. We began building our language structures joining the grammatical Person, Time, and Aspect.

 

Modal verbs have brought form relativity and auxiliary grammatical time. Let us picture these language components.

 

PICTURE: THE BASIC POOL OF LANGUAGE COMPONENTS

Let us think where the verb TO HAVE might occur, as an auxiliary or head verb.

 

PICTURE: THE VERB ‘TO HAVE’ AS PART THE LANGUAGE COMPONENTS

 

For the auxiliary time, we may compare SUB-CHAPTER 9.1.
Modality is not indispensable:
we can have auxiliary time without it, too.
I am happy to have exercised;
I was happy to have exercised;
I will be happy to have exercised.

 

Let us change the verb „to exercise” into the verb phrase „to make progress”.
I am happy to have made progress;
I was happy to have made progress;
I will be happy to have made progress.

 

Let us modify our infinitive with the Modal form MAY.
I am happy I may have made progress;
I was happy I might have made progress.
I will be happy I may have made progress.

 

We can view phrases as modified, as well. Our view is likely to depend on the context and word sense, as duration is not always the focus, yet it also can be.

*****

Let us think how the Modal frame closes. With our modified infinitive above, Modality is attached as a subordinate clause. It does not make the main grammatical time.

 

Let us compare Modality for our main or head, real time.

 

If someone asked,
„What HAS she BEEN doing?”
An answer as,
“She MAY HAVE BEEN working”,
would close the hypothetical time on the grammatical and real-time PRESENT, just as the question.

 

Saying, “She MAY HAVE finished by tomorrow”, or “She WILL HAVE finished by tomorrow”, we would close our hypothetical time on tomorrow.

 

We can use our auxiliary time extent with all grammatical time, but we need to mind the form of the Modal verb alone, for the main time.

 

PRESENT Modal forms tend towards the grammatical PRESENT or FUTURE.

If we say we CAN or MAY work, the hypothesis goes into the FUTURE a little. Our Modal frame remains open. SYMBOLICS: RELATIVE TIME OPEN FRAME

 

Modal shapes we class as PAST tend towards the PAST or PRESENT. It is only with the open frame that we can use PAST Modal forms for the grammatical FUTURE.

 

We might say,
„We COULD do this tomorrow,”
but without auxiliary HAVE.

PICTURE: MODAL VERB TENDENCIES IN THE FIELDS OF TIME

For our main time, we would not produce forms as
*She COULD HAVE / MIGHT HAVE finished by tomorrow.

 

The only exception would be the Modal WILL itself, but it is our regular mapping word for the FUTURE.
She WOULD HAVE finished by tomorrow.

 

The form „CAN” is quite special. We use it to tell what we are really able to do; we have the skill, or even mastery and finesse. Many grammar resources discourage closing the frame on it in the Affirmative, whatever the grammatical time.

 

If we are tentative about a future result, we can say
„Maybe it WILL HAVE ended by tomorrow”.
We may view the structure as the real-time Future Perfect, with an open real-time frame.
PICTURE: REAL-TIME OPEN FRAME

*****

Language is not a record or chronicle. It does not require absolute certainty about things coming true, or confirmation in events, for the thought to be real and for the structure to be grammatical.

*****

Do we need to resolve between labels as „Unreal Past” or „Conditional”? Let us mark individual verbs for grammatical time, in these words by Franklin Delano Roosevelt:

 

“No group and no Government CAN (FORM: PRESENT) properly prescribe precisely what SHOULD (FORM: PAST) constitute the body of knowledge with which true education is (FORM: PRESENT) concerned.”

 

It is obvious there must be a relative interpretation for grammatical from, and the extent for this relativity embraces the verb phrase.

 

A verb phrase can be one verb, or a verb structure, as with auxiliary HAVE.

 

Classing entire stretches of language as Conditional or Unreal Past, we might feel lost for the main time. We can stay by terms as „a relative verb form”, or „verb form relativity”.

 

Verb forms would be relative to the main grammatical time, the reference we make for the real time.

*****

Well, we may have worked out some logic. If we were lazy, we would have been doing something else for the past hour.
EMOTICON: A JOKE

For a competent insight into our syntax, let us consider the Progressive. Feel welcome.
10.2. FORM RELATIVITY: THE PROGRESSIVE
BUTTON: 10.2. FORM RELATIVITY: THE PROGRESSIVE

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LINK: READ THIS IN A SLAVIC LANGUAGE, POLISH

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