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Monday, February 05, 2007

Another Linguistic Musing

Since I'm taking elementary German and Spanish, I've been trying to figure out how to word things I say in normal conversation. Bad thing about that is (as if that is translatable), my grammar and vocabulary are too limited to express my thoughts completely.

Thinking about the ambiguous meaning of present tense in both languages, I pondered on a few English words I've found terribly interesting recently.

Since the past tense, in English, of "have" is "had" and sometimes I use "had" in place of "ought," is there another English verb with "had" as a correct conjugate, in any tense? Furthermore, in English I use the following words interchangably:

"could" with "can" or "able", "would" with "will", "should" with "ought"

So are they equivalent? What is the etymolgy of could/would/should and are they all related? In a foreign language, how do I express "could" except with "able?" &c.


And it's embarassing. "Would" is actually a past participle of "will," "could" of "can," and "should" of "shall." Simple enough, and to note "ought" is but a synonym to "shall" (as an interrogative only, or with intended action? Is "intended action" what we call a "subjunctive?")


since I'm in a pondering mood, how do I digram:

"I have had..." or furthermore "I should/would/could have had..."

in returning to my original thought?

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