Re: Tenses

On Mon, 20 Jun 1994 11:18:33 -0500 you said:
>In thinking of some of the aspects of the tenses, I have a word
>or two which I think best describes the aspect of each tense.
>I know this is simplistic, but for me it's a point of departure.
>I would greatly appreciate any comments.

I'd be most inclined to modify what you say of the future and perfect, but
all of these are right as far as they go--and some of the points I suggest
are more significant for the earlier than for Hellenistic Greek:

>Present:  continuous  OR REPETITIVE, HABITUAL (I always do ...)

   CLAUSES: tauta praxas eleusomai = "If I get this done, I'll come."

>Perfect:  result  MORE EMPHASIS ON COMPLETION, as seen in perfect of
   histamai, "I am rising" --> hestHka, "I am standing"

>Imperfect:  background continuous OR REPETITIVE, HABITUAL, even CONATIVE.
   The emphasis is upon NON-COMPLETION, action begun, attempted, the
   completion of which is dubious, irrelevant

>Future:  strongest potentiality
   It's perhaps worth noting that the Future tense originated as the subjunc-
   tive of the Aorist, the normal function of that aorist subjunctive in
   Homer still being to express volition or intention.

>Also, I would appreciate somebody explaining to me how
>the root meaning of a verb affects the verbs aspect.
  I'm not sure what you mean by this, but the French linguist Meillet once
remarked that originally different verbs expressed the same idea in the three
Greek tense systems (present, aorist, perfect), and that the developed verbs
with roots altered to form different tense-stems is a consequence of transfer
of a root out of its original tense-system. A possible example of this might be

horaw: present system w/ root HORA
eidon: aorist system w/ root WID
opwpa: perfect system w/ root OP

One might then argue that opsomai is an extension of the perfect root to the
future tense (or that it is originally a future perfect?), that heOraka is
an extension of a present root to the perfect tense, or that eidomai is an
extension of an aorist root to the present tense.

But this may not be what you're talking about at all. If not, clarify please.
>Ken Hall
>Voice:  894-5559
>Pager:  655-0362
>e-mail: ken.hall@business.gatech.edu

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