The future tense system in French has undergone important reorganisations during the period from Middle to Modern French. During this period the synthetic future (parlera ‘will talk’) has changed from a system in which it expressed two semantic values to a system in which it expresses one single value. At the same time, the analytic future (va parler ‘is going to talk’) has undergone the opposite evolution having thus expanded its domain of use and covers nowadays a part of the domain formerly belonging to the synthetic future.
At the same time, it is interesting to observe a parallel between the change of the grammatical forms of the future tenses and their acquisition by learners of FLE. Indeed, the learners seem to master the future tense form in progression (i.e. the analytic future) earlier than the future tense form in the process of reduction (i.e. the synthetic future). Furthermore, they tend to use the analytic future as their default form.
In this contribution, three major factors are proposed as an explanation of this order of acquisition: 1. The frequency of the future tense forms in the oral and written input that the students receive in and outside the classroom; 2. The transfer from the students’ native language (Danish) which only possesses an analytical future form (will + infinitive); 3. The relation between the form and the function of the two future tenses.
Finally, it is discussed to which extent the linguistic forms in the process of reduction should be taught.
Copyright (c) 2019 Jan Lindschouw, Stephanie Kim Löbl
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).