Please, no personal attacks!
jonathan at texcel.no
Wed Jan 6 16:54:46 EST 1999
At 09:33 PM 1/6/99 +0200, Rolf Furuli wrote:
>Jonathan Robie wrote:
>>Unfortunately, I don't know anything about Hebrew, but those using
>>scientific methods to test the above hypothesis have come to three
>>different conclusions for the Greek Aorist:
>>1. The Aorist grammaticalizes inherent past time reference
>>2. The Aorist grammaticalizes implied past time reference
>>3. The Aorist grammaticalizes aspect only, and not past time reference
>>I gather that there are also differences of opinion on the Hebrew tenses.
>>The experts differ. So will participants on this list. The experts have
>>studied different bodies of evidence. So have the participants on this list.
>Thank you for your post. I agree that Broman Olsen's book is valuable. The
>relationship she outlines between time/tense, and what she calls
>"grammatical aspect" and "lexical aspect" is almost perfect, and given her
>assumptions it is extremely difficult to counter her conclusions. This is
>scholarship on the highest level!
For those who don't know her work, Mari distinguishes two kinds of aspect.
Lexical aspect refers to the aspect contained in the meaning of the verb.
Grammatical aspect is the aspect contained in the grammatical form.
Editorial Nitpicking: her name is "Mari Jean Broman Olsen", where "Broman"
is her maiden name, not part of her last name. So "Olsen" or "Mari Olsen"
or "Mari Broman Olsen" are better ways to refer to her name. I know this is
confusing - when I first contacted her, I thought her name was "Mari
Broman", a name she hadn't been called by for many years!
Incidentally, Mari's book refers to Vincent DeCaen's doctoral dissertation.
>For those hebraists working with tense and aspect, Broman Olsen has a very
>clear description of aspect as non-deictic time, i.e. the two aspects view
>the "event time" in different ways, and tense as a grammaticalization of
>location in time, i.e. deictic time. It seems to me that her definition of
>aspect cannot be applied to Hebrew aspect, but it is very important to
>understand her description and her methodology when working with Hebrew
Yes - I think she takes this fairly directly from Bernard Comrie. Not
everybody likes the time orientation in this approach.
>On this background I will ask about your point 2. above. When I read Broman
>Olsen's book the first time I did not accept her conclusion that aorist
>does not code for past time/tense, but only represents the perfective
>aspect and is indifferent as to deictic time.
I think "indifferent" may be an overstatement here. When she says it is a
pragmatic implicature, that means that deictic time is implied, but can be
overruled by other factors in the linguistic context.
>After a careful study of her
>method I fully accept this conclusion. I therefore do not understand what
>you mean by the proposition that "The Aorist grammaticalizes past time
>reference." Who claims that, and what does it mean?
The three propositions I listed are mutually exclusive explanations of how
the Greek Aorist is to be understood. Nobody who believes that the Aorist
inherently grammaticalizes past time reference will believe the other two
propositions. But there are certainly many people who believe that the
augment (used for imperfective and aorist tenses) grammaticalizes past time
reference, and the claim that the Aorist is not a past tense rests on a
small number of instances - and most of these could be interpreted more
than one way.
I think it's reasonable to promote any one of the three views I listed
above. I don't think it's reasonable to say that it is unscientific to hold
one or the other of those views. Again, I just don't know enough about
Hebrew to know what the issues are for y'all here.
>In Broman Olsen's world
>there are two fundamental properties, that which is semantic and
>uncancellable and that which is conversational pragmatic implicature and is
>cancellable. In her view of aorist, in which I agree, the perfective aspect
>is uncancellable but deictic time/tense is cancellable. So the aorist is
>indifferent as to deictic time. Is this also your understanding?
In my understanding, saying that the past time reference is "pragmatic
implicature" means that the aorist is *not* indifferent as to deictic time,
but that the past-tense time is implied rather than stated.
jonathan at texcel.no
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