9.2. THE MODAL NET

We have considered two sides of a hypothetical fruit. Let us now think if we could arrive at the theory net “weight”: we people usually purpose something real for theories.

Let us compare the time frames for the more objective or so-called real time and those for the mind or think time.

I can see hypothetical fruit.
The fruit is theory, but ability to see generally does not belong with the PRESENT only, and this is why the thought has an open frame: the time reference is not singular, only PRESENT.

46. I see hypothetical fruit.
The time reference is singular, it is ON the grammatical PRESENT.

47. I have seen hypothetical fruit.
The time reference is dual, TO the grammatical PRESENT, to embrace a span from another mark in time. The frame is open.

Let us compare real-time Aspects, for the Modal closed frame.

Real-time Aspect

48. Maybe we HAVE learned something good.
The Perfect Aspect, real-time variable {TO}

48a. Maybe we learned something good.
The Simple Aspect, real-time variable {ON}

Mind Modal frame

48b. We MAY HAVE / MIGHT HAVE learned something good.
The Modal form does not tell between the real-time variables {TO} and {ON}.

Modal phrases yet will keep the real-time value {IN}.

49a. Maybe we are learning something good.
Real-time variable {IN}

49. Maybe we HAVE been learning something good.
Real-time variables {IN} and {TO} combined into the variable {AT}

49b. We MAY HAVE / MIGHT HAVE been learning something good.
The Modal phrase retains the variable {IN}.


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We could say the mind time is relative to real time. We do not keep the syntactic marker for real-time spans (TO); we only balance the variables {ON} and {IN}.
We can call this our Modal net. We net (nullify as non-essential) the Perfect, our variable {TO}. Our syntactic HAVE can work as a time anchor then.
It will look a linguistic device, if we think about theory as compared with knowledge of what happens.

50. You COULD HAVE been more careful with the handle.
It is absolutely possible to get an answer as,
50a. I was. Someone else MUST HAVE broken it off.

A closed Modal frame may be interpreted for a suggestion that something did not happen.

51a. We COULD HAVE gone for a walk yesterday, we had enough time, but Jim came in, and we stayed to study (closed frame).

51. We had enough time yesterday, and we COULD go for a walk; it was lovely (open frame, we took the walk).

The impression yet comes with ability anchored on particular time. The context will anyway decide:

51b. We had plenty of time yesterday, and we COULD go to the movies, we COULD go for a walk, or we COULD go see Jill. But Jim came in and brought those books we didn’t have so we stayed to study. Jill joined in.

51c. We COULD HAVE gone for the walk yesterday, so we took the opportunity.

If we like to associate the grammatical article with the time frame, we may note we COULD go for a walk, and COULD HAVE gone for the walk, a route or hike we know. Part three of the journey has the grammatical article, and part four has the nodi of time.

If we want to deny something happened, we best use the Negative.
50b. It COULDN’T HAVE been anyone else near the handle, yesterday.
50c. I knew I COULDN’T repair it, and I left it alone.

Let us now think about Modality and main grammatical time.
52. We have enough time; we COULD go for a walk today.
52a. We are going to have the time; we COULD go for a walk tomorrow.
52b. We had the time yesterday, so we COULD go for a walk.

Let us picture our linguistic devices so far, like in a toolkit.

“Full gear”, we always know the grammatical time from context. This time influences verb forms mostly within the main and Modality extents.
53. There is time enough; we can go for a walk, the PRESENT.
53a. There was time enough; we could go for a walk, the PAST.
We may learn more with Reported Speech.

Please mind, our devices are linguistic tools. We do not follow the term of the “language acquisition device”, for human brains. We stay with human language faculties.
We keep our auxiliary HAVE always green, whether it brings an open or closed time frame. We retain only the basic distinction between auxiliary and head verbs. Grammar requires thinking, and it would not be a good idea to get dependent on crayons.

Let us get to a few more details on Modal structures:
■→SUBCHAPTER 9.3. DETAIL ON MODAL STRUCTURES

■→This text is also available in Polish.


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