8.1. EARTHLING BASIC VARIABLE

PICTURE: EARTH FROM ONE MILLION MILES AWAY, NASA

PLANET EARTH FROM ONE MILLION MILES AWAY,
PICTURE BY
■→NASA DEEP SPACE CLIMATE OBSERVATORY.

Close to the surface of the planet, we have pictured the grammatical Aspect as cognitive variables we could use for moving about, as hiking.

As in ■→EXERCISE 14, we have thought about language content and inner framework. In the auxiliary role, the verbs to HAVE or to BE work for the framework. We mark the role green. As content verbs, they can tell about existence or ownership. We mark the role mauve, as we do for all content verbs.

In ■→CHAPTER 6, we compared the variables {ON} and {TO}, the Simple and the Perfect, for the verb to have In ■→CHAPTER 7, we compared the Simple and the Progressive, the cognitive values {ON} and {IN}, for the verb to be. We combined the views, variables {IN} and {TO}, in ■→CHAPTER 8, and made the fourth value, {AT}.

We may compare all variables now, for the time frame as well. We met Madame Règle in ■→SUBCHAPTER 6.1, where we thought about our “linguistic gravitation”. We only think about the time frame, as in the ■→MIND PRACTICE.

Madame Règle speaks {ON} excellent American English. Her friendship with Jill Smith started {ON} over a website forum discussing philosophy and linguistics.

They agreed {ON} that Latin had had {TO} influence over English and French thought, although the languages belonged {ON} with diverse language groups.

This is {ON} one of the reasons for some French reference in our grammar voyage. Latin has affected {TO} both English and French languages.

On the other hand, English and French have {ON} very dissimilar shapes. English is {ON} a Germanic language, and French belongs {ON} with the Romance language group. Some American insignia have {ON} Latin mottos.

We could hear or read sometimes that American English is {ON} an international language. There are {ON} no international languages really. Esperanto does not have {ON} many features of a natural language.

We can say (see ■→CHAPTER 9) that American English is {ON} a lingua franca, that is {ON}, a tongue spoken worldwide.

By origin of the phrase, we can associate a lingua franca with free speech. In Latin, the adjective “francus” also meant {ON} someone exempt from service, someone at liberty.

The Roman rule over the present-day territory of France collapsed {ON} early, and ancient Romans knew {ON} the local people as Franks, ■→WIKIPEDIA.

America and France have had {TO} historic ties. The French were {ON} American allies in the ■→WAR OF INDEPENDENCE. The Statue of Liberty is {ON} a memorial to American independence and alliance with the French.

There are {ON} quite a few Statues of Liberty. The most famous statues are {ON} those in New York and Paris. A French sculptor, ■→FRÉDÉRIC BARTHOLDI, designed the Statue.

Bartholdi patented {ON} it as Liberty Enlightening the World (La Liberté éclairant le monde, in French). The American statue stands {ON} on the Liberty Island, in New York Harbor.

PICTURE: STATUE OF LIBERTY

Madame Règle has {ON} a small book of poetry with her today. She has finished {TO} a book about Descartes. At home, she has {ON} a big volume about influences between French and English thinkers.

She has been reading {AT} two book series, poetry or philosophical commentary, one at a time, all this week.

Latimer Sauf is not {ON} surprised at her reading habit. The special edition of Larousse Gastronomique he got {ON} from her last Christmas has {ON} an elevated and celebrated place in his restaurant main hall.

The guests have turned {TO} many of the pages so far. He has had {TO} another copy to read at home. He has been studying {AT} it to detail. He has {ON} extra Larousse dishes on his menu.

Let us focus on the grammatical time and cognitive variable. We can compare the beginning of our language journey, the Fields of Time (■→CHAPTER 1).

FUTURE
He will have been reading; {AT}.
PRESENT
He has been reading; {AT}.
PAST
He had been reading. {AT}.

How does the Perfect Progressive change for the PRESENT, PAST, and FUTURE? It is the verb to have to change. It changes the same as in our Fields of Time, for our cognitive variable {ON}, the Simple Aspect.

FUTURE
He WILL HAVE a book; {ON}.
PRESENT
He HAS a book; {ON}.
PAST
He HAD a book. {ON}.

Let us compare the cognitive variable {IN}. In the content role, the verb to have can also tell about eating. Madame Règle likes the extra Larousse dishes by Monsieur Sauf.

FUTURE
Tomorrow at this hour, Madame Règle
WILL BE having her extra Larousse and reading a book; {IN}.
PRESENT
Madame Règle
IS having her extra Larousse and reading a book now; {IN}.
PAST
When Jill walked into the restaurant yesterday, Madame Règle
WAS having her extra Larousse and reading a book.{IN}.

We may compare the variable {ON} in our Fields of Time again.

FUTURE
She WILL BE at the restaurant; {ON}.
PRESENT
She IS at the restaurant; {ON}.
PAST
She WAS at the restaurant. {ON}.

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For all tenses, this is always the first element in the verb pattern to change for the grammatical time, and it changes as for the variable {ON}.

PICTURE: ASPECT FIRST ELEMENT

We can view the value {ON} as a basis for other Aspects.

TEXT EXTENTS: I AM A LEARNER, I HAVE A GRAMMAR BOOK

 We also can focus on the value {ON} and view other Aspects as syntactic expansion.

TEXT EXTENTS: I AM -- I HAVE -- I HAVE BEEN LEARNING

Please mind that finding a basic value does not impose any particular order to use them, especially if we come to the resolve that our {ON, IN, TO} and {AT} can be our learned cognitive variables.

Let us turn to American English as it is really. We do not intend to invent a new language.

This is a dream come true. And I’m loving every minute of it.
(NBC Today Sun as in the
■→CORPUS OF CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN ENGLISH, COCA.)

The Simple Aspect can tell what we perceive {ON} our cognitive map; it does not have to take up an entire extent.

The Progressive, the value {IN}, can help mark a matter as different from the regular and basic {ON}.

To compare space, we may feel as IN an area, rather than ON a regular map, for matters we perceive as irregular or ■→EMPHATIC.

The Progressive can help delineate in time, on something out of the ordinary, as a dream come true: dreams coming true are not anything regular.

We can view the value {AT} for the most divergent from the regular, basic {ON}.

PICTURE: ASPECT SYNTACTIC EXPANSION

Could we have a natural feeling to return to the basic variable, after we “go away”? The following example looks spontaneous and shows our matter well.

{AT}. I’ve been loving it. But {ON} I want to keep doing different things. (People magazine as in COCA.)

TEXT EXTENTS: HAVE BEEN LOVING -- WANT TO DO

To speak American freely, we should choose independently if we say that we are hating or loving, or that we hate or love. Our grammar is correct when it properly renders how we feel and think.

This can be our earthling proper egoism: we have our grammatical abilities work for our minds, rather than adapt our minds to rules by people of other minds.

The variable {ON} can be our earthling and basic variable. Who knows, maybe the ancient Latin rules, from which classic grammars derive, resulted from human variables, only the Ancients did not call them variables, having little psychology altogether, hence the “stative use of verbs”?

Planet Earth has been a human natural habitat for millennia. For thousands of years, people to think what there is {ON} a map, have not denied plausibility for places {IN} areas, routes {TO} places, as well as locations {AT} them. Early childhood learning to talk has been getting along with learning to walk.

Humans are likely to learn languages {ON} a planet for an indeterminate future. Astronauts learn {ON} Earth. Associating language, thinking, feeling, and generally space is natural. What would feelings, thoughts, or works be — without room?

VARIABLES OR OPTIONS?

We may come across presentations of language as features.

PICTURE: ASPECT FEATURES, A CHART

An Aspect of features both Perfect and Progressive would be the Perfect Progressive. An Aspect neither Perfect nor Progressive would be the Simple.

Artificial intelligence might promote a picture for language as made of options. Human brains yet are live structures of own simultaneous processes. When we use the Present Simple, our paths for the Perfect Progressive (for example) do not become “switched off”. If we use the Progressive, we do not exclude a possibility for the same thing to happen also in a way we describe in the Simple:

“I‘m loving it”,
does not mean
“I don’t love it”.

Therefore, Aspects are not options. Options can be mutually exclusive. Variables work together, also simultaneously. Naturally, the variable {ON} does not correspond with an option as OFF. We do not turn our brains off, also when we go to sleep.

Feel welcome to some practice. ■→8.2. PRACTICE FOR ALL ASPECTS