時・条件の副詞節のより深く、有機的な説明

博士論文(第2章)からの引用です。

Consider another example that is more related to grammar.

(12) If I (win / will win) the lottery, I’ll quit my job and travel around the world.

Regarding (12), most learners have been taught in high school that in the time or condition clause, the simple present form is employed rather than the will + base form when the sentence expresses a future occurrence. Thus, in the parenthesis of (12), win (simple present) is the appropriate form. If learners memorize this rule, they will answer this question correctly and this mode of surface learning may allow them to pass university entrance exams. However, this researcher thinks that surface learning of this kind does not help learners to gain native speaker intuition, which is generally called Eigo no Kankaku ‘feeling for English’ in Japanese. Moreover, learners will not find the process of learning English interesting if they simply study it by rote. The researcher believes that this grammatical item can be explained more systematically, which would enable deeper learning. Related to (12), Petersen (1990, p.123) states that contrary to what is generally considered in school English grammar, both (13a) and (13b) are grammatically correct, but the meaning of each sentence differs.

(13) a. If I am late, I will call you.
b. If I will be late, I will call you.

He claims that (13a) is used, for example, when you visit your friend’s place and stay there until late. Upon leaving the place, you are unsure whether you will make the last train or not. In this situation, you can use (13a) to mean that if you are late for the last train, you will call your friend to come pick you up at the station and drive you home. In contrast, (13b) is used when you have a date tonight with your girlfriend, but you might have to take care of some urgent business in your office. If that happens, it will be difficult to be on time for the appointment. You want to inform your girlfriend of your being late as soon as the urgent business arises. In this scenario, being late for the appointment is simply your prediction at the time you call your girlfriend, so (13b) is appropriate. In contrast, in (13a), being late for the train is an existing fact at the time you call your friend. (12) can be understood similarly. In the case where you quit your job and travel around the world, your having won the lottery should already be factual. This is why win is appropriate in the if-clause. If you use will win in the if-clause, you may end up quitting your job when you simply predict or think that you will win the lottery. If you do so, there may be consequences.
If learners understand that the simple present form indicates that the event is factual, while will + base form indicates that the event is merely a prediction as Petersen explains, this researcher believes that they can understand grammatical point (12) more systematically, together with the examples that follow. Consider (14).

(14) a. Tomorrow is my birthday.
b. I’ll be twenty six tomorrow.

Both (14a) and (14b) describe an event that is going to happen tomorrow. However, (14a) employs the simple present form (is), while (14b) employs will + base form (will be). This phenomenon can also be explained similarly to (12) and (13). My birthday cannot be changed and is a fact shown on the calendar. That is why, in (14a), the simple present form is used, but in (14b), at the time of speaking (in this case today), you have not yet become twenty-six years old. Although you are 100% sure that you will be twenty-six tomorrow, it is still a prediction. It will not become factual until tomorrow arrives, and if, in the meantime, you should have an accident and die, you will not be twenty six. For this reason, will + base form is employed. This explanation can also be applied to explain the difference in meaning between (15a) and (15b).

(15) a. Serena and Dan have been married for two years.
b. Serena and Dan will have been married for two years tomorrow.
c. Serena and Dan would have been married for two years today.

The difference between (15a) and (15b) can be explained similarly to (12), (13), and (14). (15a) shows a fact, while (15b) shows a prediction. However, the speaker is 100% sure that Serena and Dan will have been married for two years tomorrow. In addition to the difference between the simple present form and will + base form, the meaning of would + base form can also be introduced. The basic image of the past form is “distance,” of which there are three different types: Distance from now, distance from reality, and psychological distance from the person to whom you are speaking. In (15c), would indicates distance from reality, so the meaning of the sentence is that, in fact, Serena and Dan have broken up, but if they were still married, today would be their two-year anniversary. By systematically understanding the items that have been presented thus far, learners may understand the nuance of (16). In (16), Mana is going to visit the City Library by bike, and wants to know how long it will take her to get there. She asks a woman whom she happens to meet along the way.

(16) Mana: I was wondering if you know how long it takes from here to the City Library by
bike?
Woman: Let me see. It takes about 20 minutes on foot, so it would take 10 minutes by bike.

What this researcher expects the learners to understand in (16) is the difference in meaning between takes and would take in the woman’s utterance. As has been explained above, the simple present form indicates a fact, while would + base form shows an imaginary situation. For this reason, it is understood that this woman has been to the City Library on foot, but she has not been there by bike. Thus, she can say how long it takes from here to the city library on foot, but she is not sure how long it will take by bike and can only make a prediction. Providing learners with the meaning of the simple present form, will + base form, and would + base form helps them to understand several grammatical items more systematically and it is hoped that this will lead to deeper learning and longer retention.

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この記事へのコメント

Hidenori
2017年05月23日 13:15
はじめまして、滋賀県のHidenoriと申します。投稿の内容、拝読させていただきました。先生の言われる通りと思います。If I will be late,...につきましては、黒宮先生さんや、柏野先生も掘り下げて研究されているようですね。時間関係が逆転するというのが彼らの説のようです。SwanやComrieの『Tense』にも書いてあるのと同じみたいですね。大変厚かましいお願いなのですが、ご迷惑でなければ、先生の博士論文(英語版の原本の)コピーをいただくことはできませんでしょうか?メールの添付ファイルでも結構ですし、郵送の場合こちらが送料を負担いたします。どうぞよろしくお願いいたします。

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