To see how we could cognitively map in language, let us try a mild brainteaser. If we compare our answers with family, friends, or other people and the results are consistent, the mapping is natural for us, even if the idea has not been not well-known: our brainteaser is intuitive. More→
Reference used in writing up the grammar course.
American English (same as any English) is a syntactic language. We need our word order, for language elements to work. Our brains have some natural logic, yet everyone has to learn syntax to have it. We can compare languages of the world for differences. Let us think how our syntax could develop.
We do not have to view Modal, Conditional, or Unreal Past patterns as separate. With Perfect tenses, our syntactic HAVE helps tell about real time. It has an open real-time frame. With the Unreal Past or Conditional, HAVE tells about hypothetical time. HAVE is not part the real map, then. It comes with an auxiliary compass for relative time.
We can view verb forms as generally relative, for hypotheses. PRESENT forms can tell about the FUTURE. PAST forms can tell about the PRESENT. ANTECEDENT PAST forms can tell about the PAST.
We can actually live only in the real-time PRESENT. Our syntactic HAVE does not bring assertion about real time, when we attach it to a Modal and make a hypothesis. We do not need to view it as open-frame real time, then. We can view it as a syntactic anchor and a closed-frame hypothetical time.
Let us focus on the auxiliary have. Would it make antecedent time extents altogether? Antecedent time extents always would be relative to the head time. To shape up a good idea for head verbs and time, we can venture common sense, as also in literature. The common sense truth here is that it can take real time to make hypotheses, but hypothetical time could never be the same as real time.
. . . Let us think about Madame Règle. She has the potential to have lunch at Latimer Sauf’s restaurant every day. He always has a table for his friends and she has enough money. However, her work with Paris haute couture designers often keeps her over the lunchtime. Her coming to lunch is probable, but not certain. CERTAINTY requires both potentiality and probability. Let us think about Monsieur Sauf’s birthday. Madame Règle will come to meet him. It is certain.
To practice independent language use, we have only part the cues to put our verbs into the PAST, and then in the PRESENT. We mind Expression and do not give up on a mild sense of humor. “The grain of sand could think about wisdom. What was wisdom? It might be a grain of wit and manhood well resolved, but the grain of sand did not consider going into a drama like that of Samson the Agonist really necessary. Thinking about own format as potentiality by another, it deliberated whether it was, as a grain of sand, a fruit of ability or mere industriousness.”
For all tenses, this is always the first element in the verb pattern to change with the time extent (PRESENT, PAST, or FUTURE). It changes the same in our Fields of Time. We can say that it is the form closest to our cognitive ground. It changes the same for our value ON.