Perfective, Imperfective, and Iterative

Harry W. Jones hjbluebird at
Tue May 21 16:33:27 EDT 2002

Dear Mark,

I was hoping that you could explain your hypothesis in terms that 
I could understand. For example, my Greek grammar book defines Aktionsart
as Durative, Punctiliar and State of completion. So a verb action 
in the Indicative mood would equal Time plus Aktionsart. And 
a verb in the in the other moods would only equal Aktionsart. So it looks
to me like Aspect would be defined as Time plus Aktionsart. So this would
mean that a verb in the indicative would have Aspect but one in another
mood would have only Aktionsart action.

So could you explain what you mean more simply?

Harry Jones

> 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
> terms.
> 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
> undertaking.
> 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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