Hair-splitting for the Bald

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Sat Jul 10 06:03:21 EDT 1999

At 9:52 AM +0200 7/10/99, Daniel Riaño wrote:
>Carl W. Conrad Wrote:
>>>(1) I do believe (but am not prepared at present to document) that the
>>>ratio of perfects/aorists is indeed considerably higher in classical
>>>narrative Greek than it is in Koine. Probably this is something that
>>>HAS been documented, but I can't put my hands on it now.
> It has. A very good place to look for data, sound explanations and
>bibliography is Duhoux, Yves.   "Le verbe grec ancien. Éléments de
>morphologie et de syntaxe historiques."  Louvain-la-Neuve, 1992. In chapter
>9 (pp. 497) you can find the donées statistiques:
>	Aor.		Perf./Pl.Perf.
>                  --------------------------------------------
>Ilias	5334	86.27%	849	13.73%
>Odyssea	3944	84.89%	702	15.11%
>Herodotus.	4900	81.31%	1126	18.69%
>Thucydides	4054	89.12%	495	10.88%
>Att. Aut.	398	70.19%	169	29.81%
> 	1. data from Il., Od. Th. comes from Schlachter, L. "Statistische
>Untersuchungen über den Gebrauch der Tempora und Modi bei einzelnen
>griechischen Schrifstellern (I-III)." *IF* 22, 23, 24 (1907-1908,
>1908-1909, 1909): 202-242, 165-204, 189-221.
>	2. *Att. Aut.* stands for a choix d' auteurs attiques (from V-IV
>centuries a.C.) and the collection of data for this selections comes from
>Chanet, A.M. "A propos du verbe grec. Questions de frécuence (attique
>classique)." *Cratyle* 9 (1984): 1-15.

My heartfelt thanks to Daniel for sharing this information. It is important
for documenting the changes taking place over the course of time in the
usage of the tenses. It strikes me that another kind of investigation that
would promote this end is documenting which aorists in the GNT serve the
function of a pluperfect by indicating time prior to that of the main
clause; this is not unrelated, I'm sure, to the usage of the aorist
circumstantial participle to indicate time prior to that of a main verb.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at

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