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16

at the moment of speaking as in:

Those sonnets of yours have perfectly addled me. Shaw, Candida, III, (161). T.

at a moment previous to that of speaking, as in:

Thank you for the trouble you have taken. Sweet, N. e. Gr., § 2242. You have not lied it tight enough: it is sure to come undone again. ib. It is but natural that in the minds of some persons it is the past, in those of others, the present element that occupies the most prominent place. Those who, in using the perfect, think first of all of what befell in the past time-sphere will naturally be inclined to employ it also when the only reference is to past happenings. Thus the Latin perfect is often employed in narrating what happened in the past, such a form as s c r i p s i corresponding not only to / have written, but also to / wrote: In some languages the old perfect has even entirely lost the power of marking present results. Thus the French passé défini, the lineal descendant of the Latin perfect, has become a pure preterite. Also such forms as wrote, came, gave, etc, and their equivalents in other Germanic languages, which seem, primarily, to have been perfects, have entirely lost the present element, being now only used as preterites. Compare Jespersen, Tid og Temp, (391); Paul, Prinz.3, § 189; Wilmanns, Deutsche Gram, Ut, I, § 97.

Some perfects have gone in the opposite direction and have become'pure presents. Such are the Latin memini, novi, o d i, and the English can, dare, may, must, shall, the so-called preterite-present verbs, which, according to Jespersen (Tid og Tempus, (391), it would be better to term perfee t-present verbs.

The old perfects having lost the power of marking present results, the modern languages have adopted periphrastic forms with to have or to be to supply the want. But also these have, to a large extent, shared the fate of the old perfects, being in some languages frequently employed in describing an action or state belonging to the past time-sphere without any connotation of present results. Thus the French passé indéfini has ousted almost entirely the passé defini in the latest French, especially' of the Northern provinces, e.g. Je 1'ai vu hier. Ils se sont mariés en 1910. According to Wilmanns (Deutsche Gram, III, I, § 98, 2) a similar process may be observed in the dialects of Southern Germany and Austria. Also Standard Dutch has lk heb hem gisteren gezien. Ze zijn in 1910 getrouwd, etc. Such constructions as Ik zag hem gisteren. Wij waren ver-

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