Perfective, Imperfective, and Iterative

Mark Wilson emory2oo2 at
Mon May 6 14:29:49 EDT 2002

Just to clarify myself and to invite further input. I am by
no means set in my hypothesis. I would like feed back on some
of my summary points below. I thought it important to define

Imperfective or Perfective ONLY deals with morphology. The Present
and Imperfect Tenses are Imperfective FORMS. All Aorists are
Perfective FORMS. Iteration is NOT related to FORM; rather, iteration,
as I am using it, describes the repeated occurrence of the
verbal event/action, whether portrayed as IN PROGRESS or IN SUMMARY.

Iteration emerges only after all three components are examined:

1. Lexeme (Lexical aspect),
2. Inflection (Grammatical aspect), and
3. Context

The ( . ) represents the verbal action as simple occurrence, and is
by definition Punctiliar/Summary/Viewed from the outside. The
( ___ ) represents the verbal action as IN PROGRESS, and is by
defintion durative/On going/Viewed from within.

Here is what I am exploring:

When a Greek wants to PORTRAY the verbal event/action as in
progress (__), an Imperfective FORM is summoned. If the writer wants
to portray the event/action in summary ( . ), a Perfective
FORM is employed. There is NO relationship between the FORM,
whether Imperfective or Perfective, and interation.

Also, there is no relationship between the FORM of a verb
and the ACTUAL verbal action/event. That is, an actual durative event
can be PROTRAYED with a Perfective FORM or an Imperfective FORM,
and since the objective of the writer is how to portray the action,
neither of these two choices (Perfective or Imperfective) should
have preference over the other. We see this by comparing the SAME
event described in the synoptics, where one author uses an
Imperfective FORM, while another author chooses a Perfective FORM,
both using the SAME lexeme.

The writer's objective is how to PORTRAY the event, not to
define how it ACTUALLY unfolded or occurred, whether in progress
(Imperfective), or simple occurrence (Perfective).

Finally, I can see no justification for Wallace representing
a Present Tense FORM by ( . ), rather than ( __ ). I read every
Present Tense example in GGBB, and could argue, without statistical
exception, that all Present Tense verbs should be viewed
as ( __ ), not ( . )  The opposite can be said of the Aorist. I
think the problem comes when we attempt to merge the ACTUAL
way events DO occur with how a writer wants to PORTRAY that event.

Both the view I am exploring and the traditional view are,
logically speaking, unfalsifiable. This is clearly a subjective

I am still very much in the process of learning Greek and Linguistics,
so I am more than open to correction. The above terms are basically
how I understand Dr. Mari Olsen to define them, and I find her
definitions easy to visualize.

Thank you

Mark Wilson

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