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Calling Australians!

Discussion in 'English Only' started by M56, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. M56 Senior Member

    Madrid
    Britain. English.
    For me, the reply below is incorrect both in Standard BrEng and in my regional variety. And yet, a few posters (none of them Australian) on another forum have said that it is quite common and goes unnoticed in AusEng. Is that true?

    A: My Goodness! Look at that cast!
    B: *I’ve broken my leg in a skiing accident.

    ..............
    Again, for me, it is incorrect because we do not use the present perfect to give more information about a presupposed event. In the above, both speaker and hearer are aware of the fact that the leg is broken.
     
  2. TimeHP

    TimeHP Senior Member

    Liguria
    Italian - Italy
    ... for me, it is incorrect because we do not use the present perfect to give more information about a presupposed event...

    Even if the leg is still broken?
    Examples:
    He broke his leg (last year, now the leg is ok)
    He has broken his leg (yesterday, the leg is still broken)

    I'm very interested in this rule.
    Ciao
     
  3. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    I am Australian and I agree with TimeHp. To me, that sentence sounds perfectly O.K. because the leg is still broken. If you were looking at a cast that had been removed and was lying in the corner of the bedroom, I would use the past tense.
     
  4. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Adelaide
    Australia English
    I'd go along with your reasoning, more or less.

    I would be happy with:
    A: My Goodness! Look at that cast!
    B: I’ve broken my leg.

    or
    A: My Goodness! Look at that cast!
    B: I broke my leg in a skiing accident.

    I don't think anyone in Oz would say "I’ve broken my leg in a skiing accident":cross: .
     
  5. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    At the moment when I realised the leg was broken I would say, "I have broken my leg."
    Long afterwards, after the cast has been removed, I would say, "I broke my leg."

    I think that I would change from have broken to broke very soon after the break, but which I would say could also depend on the context.

    A week after the break I can imagine:
    "Why is your leg in plaster?"
    "I have broken my leg."
    or
    "I broke my leg skiing in France."
     
  6. M56 Senior Member

    Madrid
    Britain. English.
    I see. I've not come across that use before. Thanks.
     
  7. M56 Senior Member

    Madrid
    Britain. English.
    Charles would.
     
  8. M56 Senior Member

    Madrid
    Britain. English.
    Exactly. There is no presupposed event in that mini-dialogue. It's OK to use the Pres. Perf. there.
     
  9. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    I could have/might have/must have broken my leg. But never "I have broken my leg."
     
  10. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Adelaide
    Australia English
    Do you use the "present perfect" in other situations?
     
  11. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    "I have broken my leg in a skiing accident" doesn't sound correct to me. "I have broken my leg" does.
    I've just realized that the sentence had been shortened in the second post and my initial response was related to that. Adding "in a skiing accident" changes the whole sentence.
     
  12. TimeHP

    TimeHP Senior Member

    Liguria
    Italian - Italy
    I agree.

    So wouldn't you say 'he has just broken his leg'?
     
  13. lemmego

    lemmego Junior Member

    Florida, USA
    Germany (German)
    Exactly. The 'skiing accident' refers to the specific time in the past when the leg was broken. Simple past must be used in this case.
     
  14. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    I rarely run into broken bones, so it's hard to say. "I think he has just broken his leg." "He fell so hard he must have broken his leg." But if I'm sure it's broken, I would say, "He just broke his leg."
     
  15. jinti

    jinti Senior Member

    To me (a speaker of American English), when I say I broke my leg, I'm referring to a specific event in the past. I'm not referring to the fact that a fracture continues to exist in my leg; I'm referring to the moment in which I broke the bone.

    If I broke a teacup last week, I'd use simple past tense to tell my friend about it. Never mind that the teacup is still broken and always will be. It's an event that was completed in the past, so it gets the simple past tense.

    So "I have broken my leg" isn't what I'd say while I'm hobbling around in a cast. I'd say "I broke my leg." (Or I could possibly say "I have a broken leg.")

    But of course, to each his own (variety of English).
     
  16. SydneyNeps Junior Member

    Sydney, Australia
    English (Australia), French
    I would say that both would be correct in Australia depending on the context.

    "I broke my leg" is fine in relation to any historical reference to that fact. For example, "I broke my leg while skiing", "I broke my leg 4 years ago", "I broke my leg so badly I was in plaster for 3 months".

    However, "I've broken my leg" would be used for the very recent past, or in response to a question as to what you've done. So when the ski patrol finds you laying on the ground in agony, you'd say "I've broken my leg".

    A month later if a friend walks up to you whilst you're in plaster and says "what happened to you?", you could say either "I've broken my leg" because it is still broken, or you could say "I broke my leg", referring to the break itself as discrete event that has happened and is no longer continuing.

    I hear it all the time when people say "I've had my hair cut" rather than "I had my hair cut", 'I've had my house painted" rather than "I had my house painted" to lend the past act some currency, as the newness of the haircut or painting is still obvious, or wants to be reinforced.
     
  17. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Adelaide
    Australia English
    "He just broke his leg" strikes me as the colloquial AE version of the BE "He has just broken his leg."

    AE seems to use preterite with "just" and "yet", but they are markers for the present perfect in BE.
    It always grates on my ears when Americans as "Did you do it yet?"

    If I heard a BE speaker say "He just broke his leg", I would interpret it to be the equivalent of "He only broke his leg", in other words, "He broke only his leg, and not his neck."

    I would not take it to mean that the break had occurred a short time ago.
     
  18. M56 Senior Member

    Madrid
    Britain. English.
    In which context?
     
  19. M56 Senior Member

    Madrid
    Britain. English.
    For what would you use the resultative present perfect in AmEng?
     
  20. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    In the interest of continental drift,

    http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cach...ctus.pdf++"resultative+present+perfect"&hl=en

    compares AE and BE usage of the resultative present perfect.

     
  21. moodywop Banned

    Southern Italy
    Italian - Italy
    The site mentioned by Cuchu says that BE uses the present perfect with just (when just means recently). What about just now, as in I saw him just now but I don't know where he is now. I'm pretty sure that BE speakers would use the past simple in this example.
     
  22. M56 Senior Member

    Madrid
    Britain. English.
    All those uses are correct and common in English, but would you use "I've broken my leg in a skiing accident" in response to something such as "Wow! Look at that cast!"?
     
  23. M56 Senior Member

    Madrid
    Britain. English.
    The first example is not the present perfect. In the first example, "eaten" is either the past participle (being used in a passive sentence) or it is an adjective.
     
  24. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Thanks so much for pointing out the obvious difference between AE and BE usage...which I believe is what the cited source also does.
     
  25. M56 Senior Member

    Madrid
    Britain. English.
    Yes, so I see. That still leaves me asking what AE speakers use the resultative present perfect for.
     
  26. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Some of AE speakers think that the distinction highlighted in that cited source is bogus.

    BrE BE and AE: The apples have all been eaten (implies that there are none left) and, of course, may imply that the worms have feasted on the apples, all of which are still left, however unappetizing they may now be...

    This example could just as well be AE.
     
  27. M56 Senior Member

    Madrid
    Britain. English.
    I would hope so.
     

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