Mk 10:21

Rolf Furuli furuli at
Tue Aug 29 18:49:08 EDT 2000

>Clayton Stirling Bartholomew wrote:

>In Mk 10:12 we read:
>The lexical semantic data on hUSTEREI indicates that it specifies a STATE.
>This is a property of the word as it is used in the GNT.
>What difference would if make in the meaning of this statement if hUSTEREI
>was inflected as a imperfect or an aorist?

Dear clay,

The meaning signaled by a verbal phrase is a combination of several
factors, of which aspect is one. As you yourself have suggested (if I
remember correctly), aspect is a subjective expression by the reporter, and
it does not allways portray the objective situation correctly. Because the
aspects are not different in every respect, both the perfective and the
imperfective aspect can be used for the same event without any difference
in meaning. Particularly can this be the case in connection with states,
which by definition are situations which hold and continue to hold without
any input of energy. So it is not an argument aginst the importance of the
aspects that you cannot find a particular reason for the choice of aspect
in every case.

However, to understand the aspects,it can be of great help to learn how we
can make a strict differentiation between what is "semantic meaning" (which
is uncancelable) and "conversational pragmatic implicature" (which is
cancelable). Regarding the fundamental Aktionsart/state categories Mari has
shown ( and I fully endorse it) that only three properties represent
"semantic meaning", namely durativity, dynamicity and telicity. The
properties statitivy and punctiliarity only represent "conversational
pragmatic implicature". A lack of appreciation of this has lead to gross
misunderstandings. This means that a verb which is marked for telicity can
never loose this property, but a punctiliar or stative verb can also be
interpreted as durative and fientive respectively. The imperfective aspect
can be used to show that a verb which in most cases is viewed as a state,
in this particular situation is an act. I would therefore dispute that
stativity is "a property" of hUSTEREW. Perhaps the use of the present in Mk
10:21 makes hUSTEREW fientive, or perhaps the choice of aspect does not
make any difference because the verb is viewed as a state.



Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

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