Re: Pragmatic/Semantic

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (
Date: Tue Mar 17 1998 - 12:39:34 EST

Jonathan Robie wrote:
> At 12:12 PM 3/17/98 +0000, clayton stirling bartholomew wrote:
> >But I cannot see how there can be an "uncancelable" meaning to a
> >single word or a grammatical form.
> Example: in English, the simple past tense has past reference. This past
> reference is not cancelable, which is why you can't say this:
> *tomorrow I went to the store
> And if you say this:
> today I went to the store
> It is clear that you have already gone to the store, even though the rest
> of the sentence could just as easily be wrapped around another verb form to
> indicate future reference:
> today I am going to the store
> I don't think you can find a context that will cancel the past reference of
> "went" to make it refer to present or future time. I've been wrong before!
> Similarly, I believe the word "yesterday" has a non-cancellable past
> reference.
Agreed. But both "went" and "going" are in a context in this example. If you
intercepted a radio transmission form deep space and all you made out was the
word "going" it would not have any non-cancellable properties whatsoever
either lexical or grammatical.

I have appreciated your comments on this subject and they have clarified how
these terms are being used. I think we better knock this off so that we don't
try anyone's patience unduly.

Thanks again.

Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

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