Perfective, Imperfective, and Iterative

Alan B. Thomas a_b_thomas at
Tue May 7 17:21:24 EDT 2002

This has been a good thread, and has prompted me to
review my notes on how the iterative might function
across aspectual (Imperfective and Perfective)

I too have worked under the assumption that
Imperfective verbs seem more conducive to an iterative
function, but after some thought, I must admit I
cannot find any linguistic reason.

I'm not sure this has been mentioned...

Iterative function has intervals wherein the action of
the verb is absent, and then of course it resumes
again. While the continuous function has no intervals
of ceased activity. But then, this is really nothing
more that defining terms, but there does seem to be a
need to separate these functions of a verb. With this
in mind about iterative function, I really am hard
pressed to exclude the Perfective from allowing the
iterative function.

Looking at Wallace's Iterative Present really seems to
have no more or less validity to it than the examples
that Mark Wilson offered with his Iterative Aorists.
In fact, I think Mark's correction of lines instead of
dots is linguistically more correct. And by that I
mean that the action of EACH EVENT of an iterative
present is IN PROGRESS, not summary (as dots seem to
imply). And because the iterative has intervals in
which there is no action, both Imperfective and
Perfective verbals would equally allow for such.

Assuming the repeated events expressed by the
iterative function numbered 3 in occurrence, there
really would be little linguistic reason for not
allowing the Imperfectives to express their IN
PROGRESS aspect while the Perfectives express their
SUMMARY aspect. At least this much seems plausible;
what remains to be seen is if there will emerge any
significant interpretational issues. I rather doubt it
since I cannot find any significant issues with an
iterative function of Imperfectives.


Alan B. Thomas

"Unless God provides indisputable, verifiable evidence of His revelation to mankind,
 it must be rejected at all costs...."

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