Chapter 4. Time rambles different with different people

We might like to set own pace, with time and language. To achieve this, we need to make our grammars work for us. We need to make our language thinking economical.


Our human minds have a natural habit to associate time and place (Chapter 1). Let us think about a few words we might use to talk about places. The words could be on, in, and to.


We have found three Aspects so far, the Simple, the Progressive, and the Perfect. Let us focus on the Aspects. We can compare them with the way we orientate in physical space.


We can imagine an abstract map. It is to symbolize an extent or scope we may give to thought about space, in language. We can process a picture of an area. Grammar is not geography, and how we feel and think cannot pertain with a particular geographical area only.




The Simple: We can use it to speak about habits, as well as feelings and thoughts — all that does not change often. We may have the habit to do something usually, as well as… never. We can use the Simple to tell what we generally see that existed, exists, or we think will exist ON the map. We already have extracted the general pattern for the Simple Aspect (Chapter 3.1).







The Progressive: We can use it to say that something was, is, or will be IN progress, IN its course. To visualize this Aspect, we could picture activity or faculties in an area.



We already have extracted the general pattern for the Progressive pattern.




The Perfect: we can use it to say what had taken place, has taken place, or will have taken place TO a moment in time. The moment does not have to mark the end of the state, activity, or faculty work. We may be viewing the course or occurrence of the activity as a way to a place. We know the general pattern for the Perfect Aspect.






We can associate the Aspects with prepositions on, in, and to, for a better language economy. Speaking good language takes fast making choices (!)


Grammar schools may vary on word forms such as on, in, to, or at. Some grammars will have them for adverbs, sometimes. Further, in same contexts, adverbs may go into categories, such as manner or place, dependent on the grammar approach only.


Let us remember that word forms are language forms. In French, we could say sur, in German auf, and in Russian на (Latin alphabet na), in contexts we say on in English.


Link to post: What is language form?


We can decide to have ON, IN, and TO for prepositions. Prepositions are function words. They connect, combine. We can take up the prepositions to connect and combine our thinking about time and language as if we had a map with language markers.


SIMPLE, PROGRESSIVE, and PERFECT patterns with variables


We recognize the Aspects by their patterns. We always build the Progressive with be, and the Perfect with have. All Aspects can work with will in the FUTURE Field of Time. The Simple can work without an auxiliary. Chapter 5 shows the Simple with the auxiliary do.


All along, let us mind that we are not building a system. Systems need to be finite. Language is not a finite entity: it is not possible to count all phrases and collocations we people can produce.


We can have our core verbs (BE, HAVE, DO, WILL), time extents (PRESENT, PAST, FUTURE), and tense patterns (SIMPLE, PROGRESSIVE, PERFECT), for a logical array, or set. Such linguistic arrays are not merely collections. They work interconnected. Let us see on an example. The verb to be puts us ON the map. We cannot be IN an area of a cognitive map, without being ON the map. This is how this combined logic can work.


Jake is being mad. He is not really mad. He is really only pretending.




John is mad angry now. His investment has not worked.


With classic grammars, we may learn we use the Present Progressive for things happening “now”. Then, we may get to associate the Progressive tense with the word “now”. However, such a rule will not work any time we speak about the way we feel or think. We yet say,

I am happy now,
I think I like it now
(Present Simple).


We can think about human natural mapping: we live ON Earth, w happen to be IN geographical areas, and we learn and remember ways TO places.


We can use this mapping as variables. With cognitive variables, we only learn to use cognitive extents. For example, if we select part an extent for our view, we mark we do not mean an entire extent:

He is being mad {IN}. He is sane {ON}.


Chapter 5 adds Expression to our picture. Expression regards the Affirmative, Interrogative, or Negative.


Let us try some work with variables. We can think how we have traveled so far. Here, we can use the Present Perfect. Our Present Perfect pattern is “have traveled”.




We can review what we have done TO this point in our travel. We do not have to use the Present Perfect all the time.


We can say we made our passage with the Stones of Time and traversed the River of Time. We could see ourselves as on a map. We pictured ourselves in an area, and we held in view our way to a place.




We may think about all those as about localities at which we were during our travel. We can use the Past Simple. Our Past Simple forms here are “made”, “traversed”, “saw”, “pictured”, “held”, and “were”.




We can present the Past Simple as a combination of abstract variables.




It is when we want to mark activity as relative to the PRESENT that we use the Present Perfect. Otherwise, we can just stay {ON} our maps. We need to learn deciding on our own, how we view the extent, or combine variables.


To this stage of our language journey, we have joined a perspective on Fields of Time with an abstract map. We can envision the Present Perfect as a combination of abstract variables as well.




This is abstract, conceptual thinking to manage grammars in all languages. We need it for our American English, too. We can visualize the Simple, Progressive, and Perfect — together, as abstract variables.




Exercising concepts, we do not  have  to limit our language skills to a prospect of moving on land solely. We can think about travel as we know it.


Bald eagles happen to sojourn in deep woods. They know some more of the way. Shall we follow the eagle to the Rockies?


Eagle in the woods


For centuries, humans have used symbols to encourage thinking (!) Concepts here do not come from Greek Anaximander, we yet may compare ideas.




American eagles can fly very high. The bald eagle symbolizes good language skills, in our grammar course. The bald eagle is a national symbol of the United States of America.



To become high fliers, we must learn independently to determine our extent and ground in language. We cannot have the language ground determining us. However language may influence thinking, there cannot be grammar or other rule good to regulate human thought. Our way with language cannot be as in the picture below.




Feel welcome to the exercises (!)Link to chapter 4.1. Language map practice



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