Re: Aspect in Future
> There are at least a couple instances of the future in the writings of Paul
> that seem to defy sense when one understands them as tense and not aspect.
> It is not clear whether Mari Broman Olsen meant to say that she did not find
> aspect as a factor in the Greek future or that she simply did not analyze it,
> but I hope she and others will bear with me as I mention these two passages
> which have I have puzzled over for some time.
> In Col. 2:17, Paul uses a periphrastic future in the phrase A( ESTIN SKIA
> TWN MELLONTWN.
Again, a thoughtful comment, about which I have only a little to say.
First, I should have been clear that I was talking about the 'simple'
verb forms, as opposed to the periphrastic. I think perhaps the
periphrastic constructions DO encode the relevant aspect, a
construction that is paralleled in english, as well. COnsider, for
example, the future 'I will write my thesis this year,' which is aspectually
vague or unmarked. That is, it permits either imperfective
interpretation (I will be writing my thesis) or perfective (I will
have written my thesis). The periphrastic 'progressive' and 'perfect'
constructions eliminate the vagueness. I suspect that the
periphrastic futures were employed in the same way (and I think Porter
discusses them similarly).
With respect to the second example (1Tim. 2:15), I would maintain the
future tense, but seek clarification of the interpretation elsewhere.
That is, to what is SWQHSETAI future (i.e. to a reference time
including Eve, or twith respect to any given woman--not taking any
chances, I'm expecting child #2 in december...;-) ). In my thesis, I
suggest that part of the confusion surrounding tense in formal
lingusitic anlysis stems from the assumption that there is a division
between absolute tense (past, present, and future with respect to the
moment of speaking) and relative tense (past, present, and future with
respect to a contextually determined reference time. There is ample
evidence to suggest that even "absolute" forms take a pragmatically
determined center as their reference time. For example, in "Paul went
to Burger King, ate his whopper and left," all the verbs are 'past'
with respect to the speech time, but they are also ordered relative to
each other: "went" is also past with respect to "ate" and "left."
TO make what was supposed to be a short answer end quickly, I would be
careful to attribute 'aspect' to forms that show a uniform meaning of
the type assigned to aspect cross-linguistically, roughly the
imperfective and the perfective, and resist the temptation to
attribute aspect to other types of problematic interpretation issues.
I hope this is fair.
Mari Broman Olsen
Department of Linguistics
2016 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208