[b-hebrew] WAV Conjunction

Ken Penner pennerkm at mcmaster.ca
Tue Jun 8 10:37:40 EDT 2004


> Also, there is more to aspect than what I mentioned. It is a 
> little complicated to explain, and I am still working on ways 
> to convey it to beginning students. It's a prickly one.
> 
> Does anyone else have any good simple explanation of aspect?

The standard textbook on Aspect in general is B. Comrie's in the Cambridge
Textbooks in Linguistics series. Here is a summary of his section on the
definition of Aspect:

Aspect, by way of contrast with Tense, is concerned with a different kind of
time: internal rather than external. Let me explain: whereas Tense is
concerned with relating the time of the situation to another time-point,
Aspect is concerned with the internal temporal constituency of the
situation. The basic aspectual polarity is between depicting an event as
complete or in progress. The "perfective" aspect presents the situation "as
a single unanalysable whole", in other words, a complete event, and
"imperfective looks at the situation from inside," in other words, an event
in progress. For example, in the sentence, "John read that book yesterday;
while he was reading it, the postman came", the one event (reading the book)
is presented using two temporal constituencies: first as a complete event
"read", then as an ongoing event "was reading". 

This may not be the best description of Aspect for Hebrew, but it is the
standard for languages in general.

Ken Penner, M.C.S. (Biblical Languages, Greek Focus), M.A. (Hebrew Poetry)
Ph.D. (cand.), McMaster University
pennerkm at mcmaster.ca
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