Accidence—The Table Manners oj Language 103 Though the Welsh use their verb to be of the written language with- out a separate pronoun, they usually insert a pronoun after it in speech. The necessities of daily intercourse compensate for the supposititious ments of a flexional system when its agglutinative origin is no longer recognizable to anybody except the grammarian. The need is greater when a language is imposed on a conquered people, or adopted by its conquerors. The absent pronoun of written Latin has come back in its daughter dialect, French TENSE FLEXION Tense flexion, illustrated by the derivative forms loved or gave> may be external or internal. We call the English dictionary form (e.g. love or give) the present in contradistinction to the derivative past form. The words past and present suggest that tense flexion dates an occurrence. This would be a true description of what the French future tense (p. 105) endings do. It is not an accurate description of what the choice of our English present tense form does in she plays the piano If we want to date the occurrence as present^ we do not use the so-called present tense form We resort to the roundabout expression: die is playing the piano. In reality the tense forms of a verb have no single clear-cut function To a greater or less extent in different European languages two distinct functions blend One is the time distinction between past, present, and future. The other, more prominent in English, especially in Russian and in Celtic languages, is what gram- marians call aspect Aspect includes the distinction between what is habitual or is going on (imperfect} and what is over and done with (perfect) This is the essential difference involved in the choice of tense forms in the following (a) the eat th moves round the wn (imperfect) (6) he moved the pawn to qncenfour (perfect) The last two examples might suggest that the distinction between the meaning of the simple present and past tense forms of English is straightforward. This is not true We imply future action when we use the present tense form in. / wilfor Nantucket at noon We imply know- ledge of the past when we use the present in he often goes to Pans, The particle often and the expression at noon date the action or tell us whether it is a habitual occurrence In fact we rely, and those who speak other European languages rely more and more, on roundabout expressions to do what tense flexion supposedly does.