Tenses: I am a tad confuzzled!

Ciamar a chanas mi.... / How do I say...
Níall Beag
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Unread postby Níall Beag » Sat Jun 14, 2008 1:12 pm

I'm going to let you all in on a very well-kept secret: there is no simple present in English.

I work in an office. This isn't really "present" because right now I'm sitting at home, and I'm not doing.

Just like in Gaelic, if I'm doing it now, I'm doing it now.

What is commonly referred to as the "present simple" is actually the "present habitual simple". It's a habit that I have just now.

I ride a bike. (habit) but I'm typing on my computer. (present action)

The only major difference between the way Gaelic and English handle this habitual is that English has it's own tense, whereas Gaelic uses the future for the habitual.

"But what about 'I love you'? Isn't that present simple?"

No, because using the present tense wouldn't be romantic. "I love you" means that it is my habit to love you, and just like you never forget how to ride a bike ("I ride a bike"), when you tell someone you love them, you're saying now and always. It's habitual, not present.

"And what about 'I have a car'?"

That's not common English -- most people say "I've got a car".

OK: one exception.
There is one word in English with a simple present tense: "BE". I am, you are, etc are present simple. And guess what? This is exactly the same as Gaelic!



neoni
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Unread postby neoni » Sat Jun 14, 2008 3:31 pm

what about;
i want (a drink)
i wonder (if he'll come)
i must (clean my room)
i should (leave)
i may (take more)
i see (what he did)
etc

surely it's not so simple?

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Unread postby Tearlach61 » Sat Jun 14, 2008 4:38 pm

I was thinking how it would work in French.

If you said, "Je travaille au centre-ville" that pretty much implies a habitual type action. If you want to convey a contuous present action, in Quebec we'd say, "Je suis en train de travailler au centre ville." Actually, it Quebec it'd come out: "J't' en train de travailler..."

Níall Beag
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Unread postby Níall Beag » Sun Jun 15, 2008 2:09 am

If it was simple, I wouldn't need to oversimplify it, would I? ;-)
neoni wrote:what about;
i want (a drink)

That's because "to be wanting" originally meant to lack something. "I want" implies a desire arising from a long-term lack of something.
It's an exception, and like most exceptions is the result of an unexpected change.
i wonder (if he'll come)
That's a thought process -- just like "think" and "believe". The think here is that we want to present our thoughts and opinions as stable, reasoned and reliable. Using "-ing" would suggest that they're transitory.
We don't use the present, because we think it makes us look stupid or uncertain.
i must (clean my room)
i should (leave)
i may (take more)
These are auxiliary verbs used to start a new tense/aspect.
Moreover, "simple tense" means a tense with only one verb, but I must do it has two verbs.
i see (what he did)

I see and I understand. These are interesting.

If I understand something now, am I likely to not understand it later? No. I didn't understand; you explained to me; at this moment I understand; I now do and always will understand. This is why English doesn't use the present tense: we have created a new habit: the endless habit of understanding something that has been said once.

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Seonaidh
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Unread postby Seonaidh » Sun Jun 15, 2008 11:40 am

Hen rwtsh a bondigrybwyll - is eile rudan coltach. Ma tha sibh mu bhruidhinn air rudan ghràmair Bheurla, anns a' Bheurla, 's dòcha gum bi mise a' bruidhinn air rudan ghràmair Chuimris anns a' Chuimris. Mar a thuirt Hamlet, "a bhith no nach bith, sin a' cheist" - ach bha esan a' bruidhinn Dainis, tha mi a' creidsinn.
Chan eil teachdail anns a' Bheurla, feumaidh sibh auxiliary a chleachdach. Uill, tha i coltach ris a' Ghàidhlig. Tha cuimhne agam air rudan obscure mar "aorist tense", "pluperfect subjunctive", "past conditional" - cuideigin - ach chan eil a' Bheurla a' conform leis na rìaghaltan ghràmair classical sin. Bruidhinn air "the present tense" amsaa anns a' Bheurla - agus anns a' Ghàidhlig fhèin - carson? Chan eil an straitjacket a' fiteadh.

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Unread postby Níall Beag » Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:56 pm

Seonaidh,

I'm only talking about English grammar to remove a misconception about the difficulty of the Gaelic tense system.

People are understandably confused with the notion of using the future in Gaelic where in English they would be using the present.

If you accept that the so-called present tense is not truly present, that confusion evaporates.

To distill it down:

The present is really habitual.
If I do something as a habit, I'm certainly likely to do it at some point in the future.

Where's the problem?
Dead easy.

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Seonaidh
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Unread postby Seonaidh » Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:19 pm

Níall Beag wrote:People are understandably confused with the notion of using the future in Gaelic where in English they would be using the present.

If you accept that the so-called present tense is not truly present, that confusion evaporates.


Ay, I think you've got it in a nutshell there, mheaban. Divven't knaa about youse, but it feels "natural" to me to say sommat like "Bidh mi ag ithe mo bhracaist eadar 7 is 8 uairean", to mean that it's what I usually do. To say "Tha mi ag ..." feels odd to me. As you say, it's a continuous thingie, what you're actually deeing, not what you always de.

The fault is wi the strict labelling "X is future", when it ain't necessarily so.

Agus an deireadh - "We go tomorrow morning" - "We're going tomorrow morning" - meaning definitely future, not a "future tense" in sight. Ciamar a tha daoine ag ionnsachadh Beurla? And you thought Gaelic was difficult???

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Unread postby Stìophan » Tue Jun 17, 2008 12:01 am

Agreed, that does indeed put it in a nutshell! 8-)

I must admit other than my aforementioned confusion with smaoineachadh etc ... I do actually find most of the Gaelic tenses easy.

My main problem is using the conditional, especially when there's 'ifs' involved, although I'm getting better at it.

:)

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Unread postby amhlaobh » Tue Jun 17, 2008 10:40 am

Now you see it, now you don't ...

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Unread postby GunChleoc » Tue Jun 17, 2008 6:57 pm

Chì is chan fhaic :P
Oileanach chànan chuthachail
Na dealbhan agam

neoni
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Unread postby neoni » Tue Jun 17, 2008 7:16 pm

is e toki pona an cànan as fhèarr, gun tràithean sam bith :spors:

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Unread postby faoileag » Tue Jun 17, 2008 10:25 pm

http://www.tokipona.org/

Inntinneach, ceart gu leòr! :lol:

sina pilin seme, a neoni? :spors:

ale li pona!

neoni
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Unread postby neoni » Tue Jun 17, 2008 11:10 pm

mi pona. sina fhèin pilin seme?

na h-uairean a chàill mi leis a' ghàidhlig - 's e toki pona an dòigh!

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Unread postby amhlaobh » Thu Jun 19, 2008 1:12 pm

Colors
Toki Pona has five root words for colors ... laso (blue)

laso (Welsh glas 'sky, blue-green')

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Seonaidh
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Unread postby Seonaidh » Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:55 pm

Dè "blue"? Dè "green"? Dè "grey"? Dè "brown"? Chan eil na dathan a' correspondadh eadar cànanan.

Blue - gorm, liath - glas
Green - glas, gorm, uaine - gwyrdd, glas
Grey - glas, liath - llwyd
Brown - donn, ruadh - brown, rhudd

Glasgau - "green hollow"
Llwytgau - "grey hollow" (+ Llyn- "Loch-")

Chan eil pona toki pona, saoil - 's e toki chaol a th' innte.