8.1. The earthling basic variable

We have merged the Progressive and Perfect language patterns (chapter 8). Another way round, we can think if we may find a basic pattern, in our language grammar. Let us compare language features as in a chart.




An Aspect that is both Perfect and Progressive is the Perfect Progressive. An Aspect that is neither Perfect nor Progressive is the Simple.


In the light, some theoretical approaches might tell we can have the Aspects for options. Options can be mutually exclusive. We would take one option, and leave out the other choices. Variables would promote work together, also simultaneously.


For our resolve, we can compare the Simple and the Perfect, our values {ON} and {TO}. They both happen to use the verb to HAVE. This gives language learners trouble, sometimes.


We can think about language framework and content, as in Exercise 14 (subchapter 4.1). The verb to HAVE can work in the language framework as an auxiliary verb. It may work for the language content, to tell about ownership. We underline the possessive, content form. We mark auxiliaries green, and head verbs mauve.




Madame Règle speaks excellent American English. Her friendship with Jill Smith started over a website forum discussing philosophy and linguistics. They agreed that Latin had had {TO} influence over English and French thought, although the languages belonged to diverse language groups.




This is 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 a Germanic language, and French belongs with the Romance language group. Some American insignia have {ON} Latin mottos.


We could hear or read sometimes that American English is an international language. There are no international languages really. Esperanto does not have {ON} many features of a natural language. We can say that American English is a lingua franca, that is, 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 someone exempt from service, at liberty. The Roman Empire rule over the present-day territory of France collapsed early, and ancient Romans knew the local people as Franks, who took government over from the Gaul. Read in Wikipedia.


America and France have had {TO} historic ties. The French were American allies in the War of Independence. The Statue of Liberty is a memorial to American independence and alliance with the the French.




There are many Statues of Liberty. The most famous statues are in New York and Paris. A French sculptor, Frédéric Bartholdi, designed the Statue. Bartholdi patented it as Liberty Enlightening the World (La Liberté éclairant le monde, in French). The American statue stands on the Liberty Island, in New York Harbor.


Liberty Island




Madame Règle has {ON} a small book of poetry with her today. She has finished {TO} the 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 surprised at her reading habit. The special edition of Larousse Gastronomique he got from her last Christmas has {ON} an elevated and celebrated place in his restaurant main hall. The guests have turned {TO} many of its 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 recur to the River of Time. We can use the verb to read.




We can compare our Fields of Time, too (Chapter 1).




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


Let us compare a more acquainted value, {IN}. We can focus on the initial, underlined words in our patterns.


In all natural languages, words can have more than one meaning. The verb to have can mean being in possession or eating. Madame Règle likes the extra Larousse dishes by Monsieur Sauf.


Tomorrow at this hour, Madame Règle
WILL BE having her extra Larousse and reading a book. {IN}


Madame Règle
IS having her extra Larousse and reading a book now. {IN}


When Jill walked into the restaurant yesterday, Madame Règle
WAS having her extra Larousse and reading a book.{IN}


Here are our Fields of Time, again.




Here are our Stones of Time for the Progressive.




For all tenses, this is always the first element in the verb pattern, here the verb to be, to change for the grammatical time. It changes the same in our Fields of Time. We can say it is the form closest to our cognitive ground. It changes the same for our value {ON} (we may recur to chapter 1). The elements to change for grammatical time are underlined.




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




We can focus on the value ON, and view other Aspects as syntactic expansion.




Please mind that finding a basic value does not impose any particular order to use the values, 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, for our resolve. 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 have {ON} our cognitive map. Our regarding an entire cognitive extent does not need to imply we are preoccupied: we only say what we know there is or exists. After all, we live on planet Earth, and none of us could preoccupy it.


Existent matters can be regular as well as out of the ordinary. We may have an intuition to distinguish our feelings and thinking about a dream come true: dreams coming true are not anything regular. The Progressive Aspect, 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 cognitive map, for matters we perceive as irregular, emphatic, or generally for matters we delineate in time.


More, if we view the value {ON} as basic, we can think about values {IN}, {TO}, and {AT} as expanding syntactically on the Simple Aspect.



In this view, we can have the value {AT} for the most divergent from the regular, basic {ON}. Could we have a natural feeling to return to the basic map, 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.)


Some grammar resources and grammarians might not agree with the use. However, if we had grammars prescribing what language should be like, we might recur to Middle English.

Thinking about free speech, let us consider which of the two we would rather hear, or see written:
“I hate you”,
“I am hating you”.


We can compare human perception on physical space.

“I am hating you” is {IN} an area only.



“I hate you” is {ON} the entire extent.


Our grammar is correct when it properly renders how we feel and think. We can be emotionally as well as grammatically better off to say “I’m hating you”, rather than to memorize and always say “I hate you”, in case. This can be our proper egoism: we have our grammar render our cognition, rather than adapt our cognition to rules that hardly could be universal. Naturally, we do not have to be gravely serious about everything we say.

__Smiley PNG


Our brains are live structures and have 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 manner we describe in the Simple:

“I‘m loving you”,

would not mean

“I don’t love you”.


Planet Earth is our natural habitat. When we people think what there is {ON} a geographical map, we do not deny the fact there are, simultaneously, areas {IN} regions, routes {TO} places, as well as locations {AT} places.


Cognitively, our lives, experiences, knowledge, and personalities can be our thinking grounds. We can think these grounds work in psychological extents. Activities {IN} progress are not entire grounds or extents. We can tell what has happened {TO} a time or event we choose to mark, as well as what we have been progressing {AT}. As with natural and geographical mapping, we can have more than one map, and four variables. The value {ON} can be our earthling basic variable, for moving about as well as language.


Feel welcome to practice.

8.2. Practice for all grammatical Aspects