Now, what’s the deal with that?

The strange case of Now.

In the Sicilian grammar that I downloaded I found the sentence

Iddu vinni ora di la casa ‘He came now from the house.’

That’s the original translation. Obviously, now is in the wrong place. We’d more naturally say “He now came from the house”.

As we all know, the more you think about a word and say it over and over, the stranger the word becomes. I started thinking about now, and couldn’t help but feel that it was somehow wrong, not because it was in the wrong place, but because there was something about the time.

You have now which indicates present time, but a verb which indicates past time. The more I looked at the sentence above, the more I wanted to turn the translation into “He came from the house just now”. By adding just, a past event has relevance to present time.

Out of context, the original sentence sounds like it’s part of a story and now makes the narative feel vivid, sort of like the historic present, but set in the past.

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