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1) For his new role, John Doe learns French.
2) Dog learns to sing.
Let us say these are headlines.
a) has learned/learned
b) is learning
I think '1' could be either, but '2' corresponds to 'a'.
You might be correct, but the reasoning to reach those conclusions has
little to do with language, and a lot more to do with how newspapers work.
In (2), for example, a newspaper is not likely to print a story saying
that a dog is beginning to learn to sing. The story is interesting only
if the dog has made some progress. That, and only that, is the reason
why "learns" must be standing in for a past or perfect tense. It's
nothing to do with the rules of English.
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia