Aorist vs Present

Alan B. Thomas a_b_thomas at
Thu Sep 13 16:45:45 EDT 2001

George Athas wrote...

> I've always understood the Present infinitive to
> refer to continuous action, 

I was taught this also, but have since settled
on the temporal notion..."in progress."

The reason for abandoning "continuous" is that
it implies "extending or prolonged without 
interruption." (Webster)

This definition of Webster's seems inadequate
due to its idea of "extension or prolonged." I really
only see in any Present Tense the temporal notion
that the action described is "then in progress." The
"then" would relate, using Linguistic terms, to
the deictic center, whether the time of speaking
or some other contextual developed temporal center.
(E.g., the Historical Present is simply an event
portrayed as "in progress" during some temporal
center that is in the "past." This "floating deictic
center" gives the appearance of changing the 
temporal nature of the Present into a Historical
Present. What actually changes is the deictic
center itself, creating this illusion.)

Beyond that...

To go off into the future (as extending or prolonged
implies) seems to invade another temporal sphere
outside the Present. If the action extends
into the prolonged future, that would not be a part
of the Present Tense itself.


Alan B. Thomas

"Reality is only temporary." 
V. L. Jr.

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