What is ‘relevance time’ in the chart below? And would you compare it with ‘narrative time’?

enter image description here (Angela Downing, English Grammar: A University Course)

enter image description here (StoneyB's answer in ELL)

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    It looks to me like her relevance time is what I was taught to call Reference time - which in a narrative I give the distinctive name Narrative time, because in narratives (unlike ordinary isolated sentences) it doesn't stand still but moves 'forward'. – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 28 '13 at 23:53
  • Then what's the difference from 'speech time'? – Listenever Mar 28 '13 at 23:57
  • And by the way - I'm beginning to think Jim's point about the relative clause (at that earlier answer) is at least half right, maybe more: that the past tense in that case, like the 'found' above, isn't part of the same sequence but a 'branch line'. But I'm going to have to puzzle on that. – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 28 '13 at 23:58
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    Speech time (or Utterance time) is the time at which the sentence is written or uttered: the 'present'. – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 29 '13 at 0:02
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    There's some bumph about the distinction here, but I think the short answer for ELL is that @StoneyB is correct - they're effectively equivalent for most purposes. Maybe linguistics would be a better place to dig any deeper than that. – FumbleFingers Mar 29 '13 at 3:18

In this Reference Time refers to the time that has already gone by or the past. Narrative time, is the continuation or the present/future events.

The example is nicely given.

Complete Sentence :: I had once vowed never to smoke a cigarette. So many years have passed since I started the habit. Now I think it isn't a sin any longer.

Reference Time

This is an event that has already happened. So in our story, the Reference time is the time that evolved in this part ::

I had once vowed never to smoke a cigarette

During the past, at some point in childhood, or many years ago, I decided never to smoke. That is the reference time. It ends once we leave the past and move to the present.

Narative Time

This is the event that is happening now or in the future. In our sentence that is ::

So many years have passed since I started the habit. Now I think it isn't a sin any longer.

The years have passed (in the past), the present has arrived. Now (again indicates the present), I think it isn't a sin any longer.

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