[B-Greek] Questions about verbal aspect.
jwrobie at mindspring.com
Thu Jul 5 17:01:10 EDT 2007
I don't quite understand what you are saying.
With either tense or aspect, the form of the verb is an indication of
the speaker's perspective (but one that must be considered in context).
Let me use an example based on tense - if I say "I went to Eno River
State Park", you could rightly infer from the form of the verb that I am
thinking of a past event, not a future or present one. Why should that
be different for aspect than for tense?
Of course, the speaker's actual intent may not match the verb form - the
speaker might be intentionally misleading, or teasing, or projecting
into a future time in which the event in question will have occurred ...
but I don't think that's what you're trying to get at.
LuisCReyes at aol.com wrote:
> There is a notion that I have often encountered when reading literature on
> NT verbal aspect. This notion has bothered me because I think that it is
> misleading. However, I want to make sure that I understand what some writers are
> saying pertaining to verbal aspect. The idea (as I understand it) has to do
> with the general notion that a “speaker’s viewpoint” can be decoded from the
> linguistic form of verbal morphology.
> For instance, Porter writes, “In Greek, verbal aspect is defined as a
> semantic (meaning) category by which a speaker or writer gramaticalizes (i.e.
> represents a meaning by a choice of a word-form) a perspective on an action by the
> selection of a particular tense-form in the verbal system” (Porter, Idioms,
> 20-21, emphasis mine). Elsewhere Porter elaborates about this “perspective of
> an action” to mean “the author’s reasoned subjective choice of conception of
> a process” (Porter, Verbal Aspect, p. 88, emphasis mine. I leave out for now
> the issue of “reasoned subjective choice”). Fanning also understands NT
> Greek verbal aspect in a similar manner. He writes that verbal aspect, “. . . is
> that category in the grammar of the verb which reflects the focus or
> viewpoint of the speaker in regard to the action or condition which the verb
> describes. . .To be more specific, aspect is concerned with the speaker’s viewpoint
> concerning the action . . .” (Fanning, Verbal Aspect in New Testament Greek,
> p. 84-85, emphasis mine). According to McKay, aspect in NT Greek, “is that
> category of the verb system by means of which an author (or speaker) shows how
> he views each event or activity he mentions in relation to its context”
> (McKay, Greek Grammar, p. 44). This is a notion that seems to be accepted by
> other NT scholars.
> The problem that I see is that such ideologies apparently presuppose and
> assume that there is a necessary connection between perceived aspectual nuances
> decoded from linguistic verbal morphology, and the speaker’s actual mental
> conceptualization of a viewpoint or event. Is anyone aware of any
> psycholinguistic studies or experimental research that can support such a view? Is this in
> fact what these writers believe about verbal aspect, or have I misunderstood
> It appears to me that people are under the impression that one can extract
> the “speaker’s viewpoint” from verbal morphology. I think that instead of
> referring to notions that speak about decoding “a speaker’s viewpoint” from
> linguistic verbal morphology (which should actually be categorized in the realm
> of pragmatics), perhaps it is more appropriate to say that linguistic verbal
> aspect conveys a semantic viewpoint (not necessarily the speaker’s viewpoint)
> that may be recovered from the language that the speaker used. From my
> understanding, it is one thing to distinguish between what the speaker’s
> linguistic morphology says (semantics), and quite another thing to attempt to obtain
> a resemblance with what the speaker actually means, or conceptually thinks
> pertaining to a particular viewpoint (pragmatics). As it stands, it appears to
> me that people are under the impression that the speaker's conceptual
> viewpoint is necessarily decoded from linguistic verbal morphology in situations
> where a perceived aspectual nuance is linguistically detected. Can anyone lead me
> to any recent discussions or studies on this issue?
> Thank You,
> Luis Reyes
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