Thursday, 22 November 2012

Logical Structure Of The Verbal Group: Primary & Secondary Tense

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 337, 338):
The logical structure of the verbal group realises the system of tense. … Thus tense in English is a recursive system.  The primary tense is that functioning as Head, shown as alpha.  This is the Deictic tense: past, present or future relative to the speech event.  The modifying elements, at beta and beyond, are secondary tenses; they express past, present or future relative to the time selected in the previous tense… In naming the tenses, it is best to work backwards, beginning with the deepest and using the prepostion in to express the serial modification.