10.2. THE RELATIVE PROGRESSIVE

Our Modal relativity extent always keeps the variable {ON}; we do not say, *we are maying, *we have mighted, or *we have been musting, but we can think about “modifying” real time Aspects with Modal verbs.

REAL TIME

You read.
You are reading.
You have read.
You have been reading.

MODAL MODIFICATION

You may read.
You may be reading.
You may have read.
You may have been reading.

Let us now compare theory and “modified real time”.

93. I may have seen this movie; I’m not sure.

93a. I must have seen it, but I don’t remember it well.

In 93 we guess if we have seen a movie. In 93a we say we know we saw it, but it did not win much of our attention. The time frame will be closed for both theory and “modified real time”; it would be open for phrases as,

93b. I may see the movie one day;
93c. I must see it.


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Let us now focus on our cognitive map and the way syntax expands.

Modal verbs close the frame with ancillary regards to time, and real time opens the frame for auxiliary extents.

Common sense or intuitively (language intuitions are not anything unconscious), we might say it is an open matter with a Modal, and a thing of a marked boundary in real time, if we compare the examples:

94. She may be reading (or doing something else, open frame).

94a. She is reading (the phrasing does not bring anything else, closed frame).

Modal or Relative Progressive will close the frame only with an anchor. Frames and anchors are useful with Reported Speech, where we can interpret them with Nodal time.

To sum up, we can manage Modal verbs balancing the variables {ON} and {IN}, the degree of Modality (we have expressed it in cubes), and deciding on our time frame. Imagery for Modal verbs definitely deserves to be more of a pleasant thing.

■→10.3. MORE FORM RELATIVITY PRACTICE

■→This text is also available in Polish.


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