Liane Ströbel

Sensorimotor-Based Concepts & Explicit Present Tense

These empty verb constructions or new analytic verbs serve as an explicit present because they focus on the relevance of the utterance for the here and now:

I have faith in you (~ in this particular situation) vs.
I have always faith in you.

J’ai peur, faim, etc. (~ maintenant) ‘I am afraid, hungry, etc’. (~ now) vs.
J’ai toujours peur, faim, etc. ‘I am always afraid, hungry, etc’.

It is an implication of the literal use of ‘have/hold’, ‘make/do’, ‘give/take’ that the speaker and the object of the utterance are most of the time present at the same place (e.g. Latin mihi est > habeo). The speaker is using this feature of the literal use by presenting a concept as if it would be in his/her possession (I have a problem, doubts etc.). is can also be regarded as an attempt to elicit a reaction, for example to make the hearer ask him/her: What kind of problem do you have? Why do you have doubts?

In sum, the rise of perfect markers can be traced back to a strategy whereby the speaker is underlining that he/she has already done something by presenting the result of that action as still in his/her possession. e existence of future markers is due to the fact that the speaker is emphasizing that he/she will fulfill a future action by either presenting it as if the action would already be in his/her possession or that he/she is already on the way to the action. Finally, the rise of a new category of predicate and explicit present markers is motivated by a strategy whereby a concept is represented as an object in the possession of the speaker at the moment of speech. As has been illustrated, the fact that, in general, the notion of present implications is not regarded as a prominent feature of empty verb constructions is due to their high flexibility and frequency of use in any given discourse situation.