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How can one communicate subtle differences in meaning that in other languages would be signaled only by the distinction of Preterite/Perfect when in fact in the language spoken there is no distinction because of disuse of the Preterite and now Preterite and Perfect are the same tense?

For example Italian has both Perfect and Preterite (Passato Prossimo and Passato Remoto) but Northern Italians use almost exclusively Passato Prossimo (the exceptions are historic or literal contexts) and Passato Remoto doesn't seem to have any use in Nortern Italy outside of historic or literal contexts.

If they did use Passato Prossimo and Passato Remoto like they do in Southern Italy (to distinguish between Perfect and Preterite) it would be one burden less.

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  • I'm voting to close because, though these are all good questions, they're only loosely related to each other -- I'd recommend making separate posts for some of these as they can't really be answered together.
    – TKR
    Sep 11 at 20:09
  • @TKR Are the 3 last ones considered a single question (seeking to clarify Perfect and Preterite and it's use in romance languages) or are they 3 (or 2) distinct questions? I am doing away with the first question and changing the title as for the Latin One Latin Stackexhange is probably better. Please let me know if I can do anything better. Sep 11 at 21:14
  • I'd say the two Italian ones are a single question (though it might be off topic here as a "language-specific grammar and usage question" -- that criterion seems to be rather inconsistently applied), while the last one is a separate, more general question.
    – TKR
    Sep 11 at 22:10
  • @TKR Can the last one stand alone? It is just one question. But I need the first ones as examples. Sep 11 at 22:34
  • Retracted the close vote as this version seems much more answerable. Examples could be useful, just not in the form of other questions -- more like "here are some relevant sentences in language X".
    – TKR
    Sep 11 at 22:58

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