Are Greek Verbs Not Marked Temporally Even In Indicative Clauses?
furuli at online.no
Wed Mar 3 10:23:53 EST 1999
Carl Conrad wrote:
>Is it possible that "aorist"'s semantic meaning involves only aorist
>aspect, but when used to describe historic situations it acquires temporal
>This is more complicated. You'll probably start getting answers from the
>so-called 'aspect-geeks' on this question and you may find those answers,
>as well as my own, more confusing than helpful (I say that not in
>disparagement of the so-called 'aspect-geeks' but rather because they don't
>seem to be in total agreement with each other about some of the basic
>Let me just state what I think is a "more-or-less" agreed and traditional
>view: the "tense" stems really do express only aspect, but when the AUGMENT
>(whether temporal or syllabic) is added in an Imperfect, an Aorist, or a
>Pluperfect form, then temporal indication of past time is also clearly
>there. But to this must be added that even that statement will be disputed
>by some who will claim that an Aorist indicative may point to present time
>or even to future time, and that other factors in the sentence, including
>the nature of the verb being used as well as adverbs, etc., etc., enter
>into play in indicating the time frame.
>And if that's not confusing enough, perhaps others will contribute--either
>to further obfuscation or even to clarification.
About a year ago, you made some comments regarding Mari's discussion of
aorist, and I construed you to mean that her discussion had (almost?)
convinced you that the "semantic meaning" of aorist was not past tense but
only perfectivity. I remember this because at that time I was sceptical to
her conclusion regarding aorist. Since that time I have gone deeper into
the material and I accept her conclusion that aorist is tenseless while the
imperfect codes both for imperfectivity and for past tense. Have you
changed your mind, and in that case, why? Or have I misunderstood you?
Btw, the more I work with Mari's model, the more impressed I become
regarding its explanatory power. I cannot think of a better approach to
find the meaning of verbs than her scrupulous differention between
"semantic meaning" and "conversational pragmatic implicature"; the model is
excellent also for Hebrew studies.
Lecturer in Semitic languages
University of Oslo
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