diachronic explanation of 1st/2nd aorist

Ty tysbgreek at hotmail.com
Mon May 27 15:03:11 EDT 2002


When I checked the list this morning I found to my humiliation but also mild
amusement that the insomnia which prompted me to interact with the list at 4
am seems also to have scrambled my vocabulary.  In my earlier post
(corrected below) I used two terms (pre and pro-scriptive) which I believe
have been used from time to time in the distant past as I attempted to use
them but which currently carry different (or opposite meanings --you TCers
understand).  My uses of prescriptive should be changed to DEscriptive and
proscriptive should be changed to PREscriptive.  I apologize for the
confusion which this (hopefully more laughable than confusing) mistake might
have caused.

Also, thank you Carl for returning to the original question.  Though
language learning and understanding is often made easier by forming rules
and then learning "exceptions", having a historical understanding of the
development of language is very helpful in creating a logical framework in
which to understand these "exceptions" and other subtle aspects of language.

--Ty Frost

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ty" <tysbgreek at hotmail.com>
To: "Biblical Greek" <b-greek at franklin.oit.unc.edu>
Sent: Monday, May 27, 2002 4:12 AM
Subject: [b-greek] Re: diachronic explanation of 1st/2nd aorist


> It seems to me that this is a collision of linguistic schools.  They have
> been described as "old Greek" and "Linguistic" at this point I believe.  I
> would however tend toward following the linguistic discussions over this
> matter and discuss the differences as differences between PREscriptive and
> DEscriptive understandings of language and discussions of form versus
> function. PREscriptive linguists appily rules to a language regardless of
> its form while DEscriptive linguists prefer to let the form (in this case
> morphalogical) determine the rule set.
>
> While I side with most modern linguists in the DEscriptive camp the
> question of whether form or function will determine our grammatical
> understandings remains. Do you rely upon form or upon function to
determine
> the divisions between types of words.   To a certian extent the question
is
> already fixed, for instance if I were to start my study of B-Greek from
> scratch, I might want to group the second aorist with the imperfect tense,
> if form were my preferred criterion for determining how the language
should
> be studied (as it most often is) and in my final analysis I would state
that
> this distinct group of Imperfect words that had no Present form had a (to
> use a term of this forum) punctilliar meaning.  My assertion would stand
> scrutney, as far as form goes they are identical, and it would also get
rid
> of the question of which word is the lexical form of the aorist.  It would
> mess the vocab cards up until you started to include the second aorists in
> their "imperfect" forms. To tell you the truth it would make learning
> vocabulary easier if they listed second aorists as well as presents in
books
> like Trenchard's Vcabulary and Metzger's Lexical Aids.  All this would add
> up to getting rid of one more irregularity of the language and adding a
few
> vocab words that you need to memorize anyway.
>
> Now, why wouldn't this work?  The current system is too well established
to
> change.  If a teacher decided to use this method his/her students would
> learn the language just as well and the new paradigm shift (change in
> understanding) might birth some advances in the field *but* I would expect
> such a change to cause a gap between the wonderful scholarship that has
> taken place to that point and this new brand of scholar essentially
because
> of a difference in terminology.
>
> So what about the third aorist?  Well, I would include it because form
> demands it but I would add the caution that this may not be as "easy" for
> the established scholars in the field to swallow as the change from 8 to 5
> cases --a change still not having complete acceptance, but also demanded
by
> form-- and I would also add that the community of scholars at large does
> (and should) have the right to make the final decision on such matters,
even
> if they do not always choose the most logical route in our individual
> estimations.  So when we write grammars, as some of us probably will, and
as
> we revise the grammars we have already written, we should make the change
to
> the Third Aorist and await the response.  I would love to see its
> wide-spread accepance.
>
> --Ty Frost
>
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