Re: Mari Broman Olsen (nee Mari Broman)

Jonathan Robie (
Wed, 11 Dec 1996 21:24:43 -0500

Sorry, there is one point I really *do* need to respond to...

At 09:05 PM 12/11/96 -0500, Don Wilkins wrote:

>>Incidentally, your statements on context make me suspect that we are talking
>>past each other on the role of context. Mari's use of context is *very*
>>different form Porter's - she uses words like NUN, which establish time
>>independently of the verb tense, and sees how they combine with the tense or
>>aspect ideas conveyed by the forms of the verbs. If the context can cancel a
>>time sense associated with a verb form, then that time sense is not inherent
>>to the meaning of the verb.
>>Let's take an example:
>> EZHTOUN SE LIQASSI "they were trying to kill you"
>> Time reference: past time
>> Aspect: imperfective
>> NUN + EZHTOUN SE LIQASSI "just now they were trying to kill you"
>>In this case, EZHTOUN retains the past time reference, which means that it
>>is not cancelled by NUN. I think this is a good example of how the tense of
>>the imperfect interacts with the context, and it tells us something about
>>the meaning of the imperfect. In the wider context of John 11:8, I think it
>>is clear that this verse *must* mean what I have said above.
>I guess I don't see your point here. Your translations seem to distinguish
>the past from the immediate past, both of which are reasonable
>understandings of the imperfect, which is continuous/imperfective action in
>past time (via the augment).

My point is that this line of argument is a useful one when trying to
establish the interaction between the time sense found in a verb and the
time sense found in the context. This point does not argue against
traditional Greek grammar at all - in fact, I think that much of Mari's work
confirms traditional theory.

But it shows a proof of the kind that Mari favors.

Do you like this kind of proof?


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703
Ph: 919.598.5728 Fax: 919.598.6728
email:, <--- shockwave enabled!