LINGUIST List 8.872

Sat Jun 14 1997

Sum: Tense

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  1. minako nakayasu, Query Summary: Tense

Message 1: Query Summary: Tense

Date: Thu, 12 Jun 1997 13:42:07 +0900
From: minako nakayasu <nakayasukwc-u.ac.jp>
Subject: Query Summary: Tense

Dear LINGUIST Subscribers,

A month ago I sent out an E-mail inquiry on tense in complement
clauses. I would like to thank the following people for their kind
replies. I will enclose a summary of their answers.

Special thanks to linguists who answered my questionnaire:

Frederik Fouvry
Deborah Miliam Berkley
David Houghton
Annabel Cormack
Gordon Nicholson
Eleanor Batchelder
Keira Ballantyne
Gerald B Mathias
Peter Keiser

Deepest gratitude goes to linguists who sent their own or friends'
papers:

Raphael Salkie
 "Time Reference in Reported Speech," by Salkie, R. and S. Reed, 
 to appear in a new journal, English Language and Linguistics.
Renaat Declerck
 "Constraints on Tense Choice in Reported Speech," by Declerck, R. 
and
 K. Tanaka, in Studia Linguistica 50-3, 1996.
Nobue Mori
 "Tense Restrictions on Interclausal Quantifier-Binding," by Nunes, 
	J.
 and E. Thompson, in Proceedings of the Tenth Eastern States 
 Conference on Linguistics, 1993.
 "The Discourse Representation of Temporal Dependencies," by Nunes, 
 J. and E. Thompson, in Temporal Reference, Aspect, and Actionality, 
 Vol. 1: Semantic and Syntactic Perspectives by Bertinetto, V., J. 
 Bianchi, and M. Higginbotham, Rosenberg & Sellier, 1995.

I am also greatful to a linguist who let me know some pieces of 
information concerning Declerck & Tanaka's paper:

Kaneaki Arimura

The summary is as follows:
My question was "Is the present tense OK?", so I will use "Yes" (the
present tense is OK) and "No" (not OK). Note that some linguists
answered all questions, while the others did not. The numerals show
the number of the linguists who have had the opinion. As for (5),
(6), (17) and (18), I will just write down the opinions.

(1) a. They thought Oxford was/is in London. (Yes 1; No 5; was is better
 1)
 b. They thought Oxford University was/is in London. (Yes 1; No 4; 
 was is better 1)
 c. They thought Oxford Street was/is in London. (Yes 1; No 4; was 
is
 better 1)
(2) a. John said Mary was/is a liar. (Yes 5; No 1; ?? 1)
 b. I said Mary was/is a liar. (Yes 5; No 1; ?? 1; OK if said is 
 stressed 1)
 c. I said I was/am a liar. (Yes 4; No 2; ?? 1)
 d. John said I was/am a liar. (Yes 5; No 1; ?? 1)
(3) a. John thought Mary was/is a liar. (Yes 1; No 5; ? 1)
 b. I thought Mary was/is a liar. (Yes 1; No 5; ?1)
 c. I thought I was/am a liar. (Yes 1; No 5; weird even if the 
past 
 tense 1)
 d. John thought I was/am a liar. (Yes 2; No 5)
(4) a. John told me Mary was/is a liar. (Yes 4; No 1; ?? 1; past is a 
little
 better 1)
 b. I told myself Mary was/is a liar. (Yes 4; No 1; ?? 1; past is a
 little better 1)
 c. I told myself I was/am a liar. (Yes 4; No 1; ?? 1; past is a 
little
 better 1)
 d. John told me I was/am a liar. (Yes 4; No 1; ?? 1; past is 
better 1)
 e. John told Mary she was/is a liar. (Yes 4; No 1; ?? 1; past is 
better
 1)
 f. I told Mary she was/is a liar. (Yes 4; No 1; ?? 1; past is a 
little 
 better 1; marginally acceptable 1)
 g. I told Mary I was/am a liar. (Yes 3; No 2; ?? 1; past is a 
little 
 better 1; marginally acceptable 1)
 h. John told Mary I was/am a liar. (Yes 3; No 2; ?? 1; past is a 
little
 better 1)
(5) In (2)-(4) above, you must have found some examples
 where the complement clause can have a present tense.
 Is your judgment still the same if we put "always" in the
 main clause?
 [Yes - 2] [No] [less acceptable -2] [the present tense is acceptable
 with all but (3)] [a little odder]
 A linguist has made an example where the present tense is OK:
 (i) John always told me that Mary has her head in the clouds, and
 now I think he's right.

(6) In (2)-(4) above, you have found other examples where
 the complement clause can accept only a past tense.
 What will happen if we change the situation in the 
 complement clause to "someone be lying," e.g. she is 
 lying? or "someone be still lying"? Is the present tense
 OK in such a case?
 [No - 5] [only in (2)] [OK in all but (3)]

(7) a. I thought Scotlant was/is too far. (Yes 2; No 5; odd 1; past is 
 better 1)
 b. Scotland, I thought, was/is too far. (Yes 6; No 1; odd 1)
 c. Scotland was/is, I thought, too far. (Yes 6; No 1; odd 1)
 d. Scotland was/is too far, I thought. (Yes 6; No 1; odd 1)
(8) a. He thought Scotland was/is too far. (Yes 2; No 4; odd 1; past is
 better 1)
 b. Scotland, he thought, was/is too far. (Yes 6; No 1; odd 1)
 c. Scotland was/is, he thought, too far. (Yes 6; No 1; odd 1)
 d. Scotland was/is too far, he thought. (Yes 6; No 1; odd 1)
(9) a. You thought Scotland was/is too far. (Yes 2; No 4; odd 1; past 
is
 better 1)
 b. Scotland, you thought, was/is too far. (Yes 6; No 1; odd 1)
 c. Scotland was/is, you thought, too far. (Yes 6; No 1; odd 1)
 d. Scotland was/is too far, you thought. (Yes 6; No 1; odd 1)
(10) a. Galileo believed the earth moved/moves. (Yes 5; No 2; a little
 odd 1)
 b. I believed the earth moved/moves. (Yes 5; No 2; a little
 odd 1)
 c. John believed the earth moved/moves. (Yes 5; No 2; a little
 odd 1)
(Some point out that the past tense implies a specifc movement, whereas 
the present tense implies a general movement.)
(11) a. Galileo believed the sun moved/moves. (Yes 4; No 3; a little odd 
 1)
 b. I believed the sun moved/moves. (Yes 4; No 3; a little odd 
 1)
 c. John believed the sun moved/moves. (Yes 3; No 4; a little 
odd 1)
(12) a. I said I was/am going to do it. (Yes 5; No 1; ?? 1; OK if said 
is 
 stressed 1)
 b. I said you were/are going to do it. (Yes 5; No 1; ?? 1)
 c. I said she was/is going to do it. (Yes 5; No 1; ?? 1)
 d. You said I was/am going to do it. (Yes 4; No 2; ?? 1)
 e. You said you were/are going to do it. (Yes 4; No 2; ?? 1)
 f. You said she was/is going to do it. (Yes 5; No 1; ?? 1)
 g. She said I was/am going to do it. (Yes 5; No 1; ?? 1)
 h. She said you were/are going to do it. (Yes 4; No 2; ?? 1)
 i. She said she was/is going to do it. (Yes 5; No 1; ?? 1)
(13) a. Did you know I had/have come? (Yes 3; No 5; came is better 1)
 b. Did you know Tom had/has come? (Yes 3; No 2; ?? 2; came is
 better 1)
 c. Did you know I had/have lost a tooth? (Yes 5; No 1; ?? 1; 
lost is
 better 1)
 d. Did you know Tom had/has lost a tooth? (Yes 5; No 1; ?? 1; 
lost
 is better 1)
(14) a. Did you know I was/am here? (Yes 2; No 6; was is better 1)
 b. Did you know Tom was/am here? (Yes 4; No 1; less acceptable
 1; ?? 1; was is better 1)
 c. Did you know I was/am in Tokyo? (Yes 4; No 3; was is better 
1)
 d. Did you know Tom was/is in Tokyo? (Yes 5; No 1; ?? 1; was is
 better 1)
(15) a. They told me you were/are in London. (Yes 4; No 3; distinct 
 nuance 1)
 b. They told me Tom was/is in London. (Yes 6; No 1; ?? 1)
 c. They told me you were/are here. (Yes 4; No 4)
 d. They told me Tom was/is here. (Yes 7; No 1; ?? 1)
(16) a. They said you were/are in London. (Yes 2; No 4; distinct nuance 
 1)
 b. They said Tom was/is in London. (Yes 5; No 1; ?? 1)
 c. They said you were/are here. (Yes 2; No 5)
 d. They said Tom was/is here. (Yes 4; No 2; ?? 1)
(17) In (13)-(16) above, we have found some examples where
 the complement clause can accept only a past tense.
 What will happen if we put "still"in the complement
 clause? Is the pressent tense OK?
 [the present tense is not OK - 6]
 [only for 3rd person] ["still" introduces a duration - some present
 tense is OK]

(18) In (13)-(16) above, the speaker is addressing to the
 hearer directly. Are your judgments still the same if we
 change the situations like this: the speaker is
 talking on the phone to the hearer, who is in a distant
 place?
 [the same] [No - 2] [Yes for (13a) and (14a) - 2] [for some of them 
the
 present would be possibly acceptable] 
A linguist points out that for (13a) and (14a) to be OK, there should be 
some ill feeling between the participants, e.g. the hearer will be 
angered or surprised by the presence of the speaker.

Sorry for anything which might have been missed out. I will present a
paper at the 114th meeting of the Linguistic Society of Japan to be
held at Gakushuin University, Tokyo, Japan, on June 15. I will take
some of these results into consideration. Others will contribute my
future research immensely. I would like to thank again those who have
helped me in various ways.

Minako Nakayasu
Assistant Professor
Kagoshima Women's College
1904 Uchi
Hayato-cho, Aira-gun, Kagoshima
899-51 Japan
nakayasukwc-u.ac.jp
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