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Of these three statements the first can be accepted with but a brief comment. The evidence seems satisfactory that the devices for the expression of the future originated in those words and forms with meanings naturally looking to the future for fulfillment. One should, in passing, however, call attention to the fact that a considerable number of diverse languages have tried out the same set of devices for the future, although with differing results. The Germanic languages thus used haban, munan, skulan, wiljan, wairpan.7 Late Latin and the Romance languages tried out velle, posse, debere, vadere, ire, venire, as well as habeo. Late Greek used not only the subjunctives but also Exw and féλw.70 Coptic used NA the primitive word meaning to go and also the preposition E meaning toward as devices for the future."


'Will, appearing in the periphrastic future, appears no less in a manifold gradation of meanings, which gradually sink from the more decided expression of the will into weaker shades of the notion.' . . . .

'With the weakening of both the primitive meaning has not perished. The glimmering through of the latter gives to the modern tongue, on the one hand, occasion to avoid ambiguity, on the other, to express more delicate shades of thought, apart from the conventional distribution of the auxiliary verbs among the several persons.'


C. B. Bradley, 'Shall and Will, An Historical Study', Trans. of Am. Phil. Ass. 42. 15, 16, 17 (1911): 'Shall started in English with (1) the idea of pecuniary obligation or indebtedness . . . .I owe . . From this narrow beginning its scope was gradually extended to cover the field (2) of moral obligation in its specific sense of duty and propriety. . . . From this use shall ranges upward through (3) the shall of superior authority in commands and laws. . . . to (4) the compulsion of force or of fate. . . . Its meaning ranges also downward to (5) the shall which indicates merely that the action is determined upon, or scheduled to come off . . . . and forward (6) to that which is considered to be inevitable or certain, and so is vouched for by the speaker. . . . . At this stage it is clear that attention and interest are already shifted from the idea of circumstances which are now conditioning action, to the idea of the future event.' 'In polar antithesis to shall, will started with impulse from within, and meant (1) to desire, to wish, But desire may be heightened till it becomes resolve and will then means (2) to purpose, to intend, . . . . or it may be lowered to (3) to be willing, to consent to The connotation here, it will be noted, is negative rather than positive. The proposed action encounters no opposition from the person named as agent, and so is in a fair way to take place. Exactly as we found in the case of shall when motive and circumstance sink in importance, interest and attention shift to the event.'

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7 See Grimm, Deutsche Grammatik, 4. 206–19.

7b See Grandgent, An Introduction to Vulgar Latin, 56–8.

70 See Jannaris, Historical Greek Grammar 552-9 (Appendix IV, The Future Indicative Since Attic Times).

7d See Steindorff, Koptische Grammatik, §§ 273, 278, 279, 289, 290; and Stern, Koptische Grammatik 219-23.

The process indicated in the second statement can also be accepted. These original meanings gradually fade and the words tend to become merely form or function words-auxiliaries of a future tense. The assumption, however, that this loss of full word meaning is the end of the process seems an invalid one and the statement that whatever connotations these expressions may still carry are 'glimmerings through' of previous meanings is plainly inadequate, for the three following reasons: (1) Although such an explanation would account for the meanings of desire or wish which might be suggested in a future phrase with will it does not account for the cases in which will with the second or third persons implies a compulsion to be brought upon the subject."

(2) Although the explanation would account for any suggestions of compulsion which may attach to a future phrase with shall it does not account for the many cases in which the meanings of resolve or determination on the part of the subject attach to the future expression with shall.10

I am repeating here two sentences, and in the footnotes several examples from my article, "The Periphrastic Future with Shall and Will in Modern English', Pub. of Mdn. Lang. Ass. 40. 963-1024.

'Some examples of this use are the following:

'You will go to your room and stay there!' (The speaker's command.)

'A. He says that he has decided not to go to the court.

B. Well, he will go to the court even if we have to carry him.' (The subject is threatened with such pressure as will force him to act in direct opposition to his wish or resolve.)

In the following from Masefield's The Faithful, 1. 2. 51, the 'you will' expresses the speaker's not the subject's promise and determination.

'Kurano-Kira taught you the wrong ritual?


Kurano-You will not go unavenged.'

The 'you'll', etc., in the following from Jane Shore, V., p. 208, line, 393, implies a threat of the speaker against the subject.

'Shore-Infamy on thy head!

Catesby-You'll answer this at full.-Away with 'em.'

10 Some examples of this use are the following:

Masefield, The Faithful, I, 11, 11

'Lord Asano-This alters everything, I shall go at once to the Envoy's court and appeal against Kira.'


Cibber, Love's Last Shift, IV, 66

Damme! Sir, have a care! Don't give me the Lye, I shan't take it, Sir.'

(3) Even if one insists that the 'glimmering through' of the purposeexpressing infinitive with going and about sufficiently accounts for the ideas of intention and determination which attach to the expression of the future in the following examples:

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Pinero, The Second Mrs. Tanqueray, III, 62

My tongue runs away with me, I'm going to alter, I swear

Masefield, The Faithful, II, 1, 62

'Kurano-Are they going to kill me?

4th Ronin-They said they were going to make sure of you.'

'He has bought up two of our neighbors and is about to buy us up too.'

yet such an explanation could hardly account for the suggestion of compulsion or necessity in the following example with the strongly stressed verb to be.

'X-I don't intend to allow anyone to see the books.

Y-But you are going to let us see them for we have the judge's order.'

Nor could it account for the fact that quite frequently the present form of the verb conveys not only a future meaning but also the suggestions of intention, resolve, or determination." Even in Old English we find such an example as the following:

Congreve, The Way of the World, V, 1, 65

'Sir Wilful-Therefore withdraw your instrument, sir, or by'r Lady, I shall draw mine.'

Taylor, The Babes in the Wood, III, 1, 69

'Beetle―There! but let this be a lesson to you, Arabella-the first time you forget it, I shall not return to the Queen's Bench, but I shall certainly apply to Mr. Justice Cresswell.'

"1 Some examples of this use are the following:

Crothers, He and She

'Keith—Aren't you coming in to see the workroom?'

Pinero, The Second Mrs. Tanqueray, I, 40

'Misquith—I go up to Scotland tomorrow, and there are some little matters.

Ibid. II, 52.

'Mrs. Cortelton-We go to town this afternoon at five o'clock and sleep tonight at Bayliss's.'

Ibid. II, 45.

'Aubrey-Well, she's going to town, Cayley says here, and his visit's at an end. He's coming over this morning to call on you. Shall we ask him to transfer himself to us?'

Alfred, Orosius EETS 1. 42. lines 6, 14, 17, 21

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'Hwa is þat þe eall đa yfel þe hi donde wæron asecgean mæ ge ođđe areccan? Eac ic wille geswigian Tontolis & Philopes para scondlicestena spella; hu manega bismerlica gewin Tontolus gefremede syđđan he cyning was; 'Ic sceall eac forlætan þa þe of Perseo & of Cathma gesæde syndon, 'Eac ic wille geswigian þara mandæda þara Lemniađum & Ponthionis þæs cyninges, ic hit eall forlate. Eac ic hit forlæte, Adipsus hu he ægþer ofsloh ge his agenne fæder,

In this example it seems impossible to take these three expressions as conveying differing shades of meaning. They all three seem to me to suggest with the future the purpose of the speaker—an idea which is in no way related to the primitive meanings of two of the three expressions used.

The suggestion, then, which I should offer as the means of accounting for the facts which we find concerning the expression of the future is this. The grounds upon which the future is usually predicted are desire, hope, intention, resolve, determination, compulsion, necessity, or possibility. Any locutions which express any of these ideas related to the future may be taken up and developed as future tense signs. The course of development is in the direction of their losing their full word meanings and thus also losing their limitation to the particular meanings suggested by their origin. They tend to become future tense signs but with colorings which range from an almost pure future sense to distinctly modal ideas. These colorings are not the glimmerings through of original meanings but may be any one of the grounds upon which the future is predicted, depending upon the context. These colorings are thus the inevitable connotations of the future idea. As such they will attach themselves to any locution developed as a device to express the future so that such a locution may suggest any of the ideas related to the future even if these ideas are wholly unrelated to or opposed to its original full word meaning. This process would thus tend to thwart the developing of any phrase or form into a mere sign of the simple future tense.

Of course in a rapid impression with an entirely unemphasized phrase the general future prediction may be all that registers, yet with more attention put upon the statement, directed by greater emphasis on some part of the word group or by the reader's attempted analysis, there often stand out more prominently some of the connotations of the grounds upon which the future is predicted.

In a very brief statement the process could be summarized as follows: A certain limited range of ideas furnish the grounds upon which the future is predicted. Any word or form with meanings within this range of ideas may be taken up and used as a device for the expression of future time. As it becomes such a device the emphasis gradually shifts from the full word meaning to the future idea. But now as a device for the expression of the future it may suggest (depending on the circumstances and without limitation of its original meanings) any of that range of ideas which are the bases of future predictions.

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