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October 26, 2011


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Marc Leavitt

Mr. Chen is full of beans. English and German have two tenses; present and past. As you well know,both languages indicate futurity by using auxiliary verbs and other modalities. The distinction between "will" - to wish, want" (Old English "willan") and "willen" in German is slight. "Are you going? I will go. - Gehst du? Ich will(or werde) gehen." Werden is the grammatical auxiliary, but in colloquial speech, in German, willen is just as common. Other means of indicating futurity in English, for example, the participial "going to go" form, or the present simple form: "Are you going? Yes, I go tomorrow," all work quite well to indicate futurity in the absence of a tense form completed by an ending. Apparently Mr. Chen believes in Mr. Whorf's hypothesis concerning the influence of language on our perception of reality. What changes from language to language is prosody and nuance; that's why poetry is really not translateable in the true sense. Sorry for the rant

Virtual Linguist

That's very interesting, Marc. Thanks.

Jemmy Hope

I wonder which official language of the Republic of Ireland was responsible for that nation's financial woes.

Virtual Linguist

Yes .... Thanks, Jemmy. I think Irish Gaelic does have a separate, one-word, future tense. However, whoever is responsible for Ireland's financial woes, it's certainly not Gaeltacht residents!

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