b-greek-digest V1 #923

b-greek-digest            Sunday, 22 October 1995      Volume 01 : Number 923

In this issue:

        Greek TMA, I
        Greek TMA, II
        Greek TMA, III


From: Vincent DeCaen <decaen@epas.utoronto.ca>
Date: Sat, 21 Oct 1995 20:47:14 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Greek TMA, I

> 	I recongnize that the system that Mari and others; following - and
> developing - ideas suggested by Porter, Fanning, _et al._ ; are suggesting
> a new paradigm for understanding Hellenistic Greek.  For a new paradigm to
> be useful, it should show advantages over the older system both
> theoretically and practically.

this looks like a misunderstanding: Porter and Fanning are not in agreement
from what I can see.  Fanning is an intelligent broadening of
traditional understanding within modern theorizing; while, Porter,
well, that's something altogether different.  Mari is a major advance
on Fanning in being responsible to cutting-edge linguistics.  I don't
know which "others" you have in mind.
> 	Denying the grammaticallization of tense in NT Greek in moods
> previously considered marked for tense certainly does simplify the
> grammatical structure, if one takes that structure as a closed system; and
> such a simplification would be a theoretical advantage (viz the Copernican
> revolution).

I for one would *not* deny the grammaticalization of tense in NTGrk.
e.g., the "present" is a "tense": it's just that it's semantics, on
Mari's view at least, is so underspecified.

> 	There seem to be quite a few on the list that have adopted the new
> paradigm, at least theoretically.  Are these concerns about the new
> paradigm's practical application, as expressed above, somehow addressed in
> this system in some way that is not immediately apparent?

again, the only thing these approaches have in common is trying to be
responsible to the linguistic literature: which is a good thing IMHO.

> David L. Moore                             Southeastern Spanish District

I should point out that my work aims at the "tenseless" languages,
like Biblical Hebrew, and tries to show that they are "tensed" but
just different in their aspectual configuration. Mari and I share the
idea that languages might select perfective or imperfective as the
privative feature, and that this considerably changes the properties
(almost mirror image).  Hebrew selects the imperfective; that means
that the simple inflectional forms encode TENSE, but that their
default aspect is perfective. this has consequences in the
interpretation of the so-called prefixed form. in a recent paper, I
showed that Hebrew is actually quite typical, and that European
systems like Greek were the odd ones.

Vincent DeCaen		 decaen@epas.utoronto.ca

Near Eastern Studies, University of Toronto
Religion and Culture, Wilfrid Laurier University

I really do not know that anything has ever been
more exciting than diagraming sentences.
				 --Gertrude Stein


From: Vincent DeCaen <decaen@epas.utoronto.ca>
Date: Sat, 21 Oct 1995 21:05:42 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Greek TMA, II

> I would be most interested in your reasons for not accepting future tense 
> for KG.

cross-linguistically there is no strong evidence of a "future" tense.
usually, the so-called futures are subject to decomposition into mood
and/or nonpast tense and/or perfective aspect.  e.g., English future is
a) will/would (mood + tense) + verb, or b) going to (aspect + mood [to]).
e.g., French future is the infinitive (mood) plus enclitic of avoir
(tense). I could go on ad nauseam.

the point about systems like Greek that select Mari's perfective
privative is that their "futures" are typically nonpast + perfective.
this includes the Slavic systems, Hungarian, Georgian, even Mofu Gudur
in the Cameroon. there may be other constructions, but that is
something else. so the perfective stem in Russian of "write" prochitay
+ nonpast endings prochitayu "I write(pf)": generally considered a
"future" though it has other uses as a "present", and also in the
"historical present" as the perfective counterpart of the imperfective.

is it a coincidence that in the synchronic system of NTGrk the
"aorist" stem (perfective) with nonpast endings gives the future?? I
'm inclined to doubt it.

luoo "I loose/am loosing" lusoo "I will loose"

> > one of the reasons Hebrew and Japanese are considered "tenseless" is
> > their ability to jump around the time line. but clearly this is
> > narrative stylistics, and not in itself a warrant to deny past/nonpast
> > for these systems (they're just better at exploiting deixis for
> > narrative effects).
> Then you DO think that C can change constantly from one sentence to the 
> next? This seems to take away the helpfulness of identifying a C at all.

not really. does it take away from personal deixis that the first
person jumps back and forth in dialogue? these categories are well
established, who would deny them?

if the semantics demand deixis around C, then so be it. it matters not
to the grammar that C can shift: that's the point of Mari's
pragmatics-semantics separation ("radical pragmatics" in one useful
tag, Cole I believe).

If you want to look at how a language with freer shifting works, try
to find Soga's "Tense and Aspect in Modern Colloquial Japanese" 1983,
esp the appendix on narrative stylistics.

I claim the model for Standard Biblical Hebrew prose in my 1995 dissertation.
there is also the question of Semitic stylistics and TMA interfering
in Greek, but I wouldn't touch that one with a ten-foot pole ;-)
> Philip Graber				Graduate Division of Religion

Vincent DeCaen		 decaen@epas.utoronto.ca

Near Eastern Studies, University of Toronto
Religion and Culture, Wilfrid Laurier University

I really do not know that anything has ever been
more exciting than diagraming sentences.
				 --Gertrude Stein


From: Vincent DeCaen <decaen@epas.utoronto.ca>
Date: Sat, 21 Oct 1995 21:49:06 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Greek TMA, III

re INFL projection.

I take a view of grammar that can be found in Ray Jackendoff "Semantic
Structures" 1990 (ch 1, especially 1.4) and Jerrold Sadock
"Autolexical Syntax" 1991.  it's not clear how this connects with
Chomsky's so-called Minimalist program; but I think it's pretty much
the same, except they differ on how best to implement the
"computational system": I prefer parallel processing.

essentially, a grammar consists of autonomous and simplified
subgrammars including phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and
probably discourse-pragmatics.  a well-formed utterance will be
well-formed in all dimensions. the dimensions interact by
"correspondence rules" vs transformations; principles of "economy" are
constraints on correspondence between levels.  the complexity of language
arises from the number of ways the components interact. the "interface
protocol" is the lexicon. all lexical entries will be specified for properties
in the different subgrammars; but crucially, they may be
"underspecified", or even have nothing to do with a given component.

1. it is standardly assumed that in the syntax, "phrases" can be parsed
into heads plus "objects" and "subjects". e.g., a prepositional phrase
has a head preposition (P) plus usually an object, which is in turn
usually a noun phrase, headed by N (noun), etc.  the all important
verb phrase will also have formal positions governed by a V head.

here's where it gets tricky: it is further assumed that the sentence has
two "functional" projections INFL (inflection; formerly AUX
"auxiliary") governs the VP (verb phrase), and COMP (complementizer;
more or less "subordinating conjunction") takes IP.

all "inflected" tenses will have an INFL node, or better TENSE node,
in the syntax, governing the VP.

2. the lexical entry of tense-inflection formatives will have the
syntactic entry I or T head. the entry will have the morpho(phono)logical
properties (e.g., English past /-t/). the entry will also have
semantic specification. the English past will have PAST in its entry.
if Mari is right, maybe the nonpast will not have an entry

so what I was getting at with Greek "present" is that its entry will
look much like English's in the semantic specification. since
perfective is the privative selection, the imperfective reading will
be supplied by pragmatic defaulting for Grk. it will also have the morphology
and phonology given. and crucially, it will be a TENSE head in the syntax.

3. no matter how you slice it, you're going to need a theory of "verb
movement". within the frameworks I use, it is assumed that the verb
"moves" to the tense head for morphological reasons.

In Hebrew I assume that verb moves to tense, and that a constituent is
preposed ("topicalization") giving Hebrew its characteristic verb
second (V2) flavour (cf. German matrix clauses). further, the verb-tense
complex moves to complementizer for the verb initial ordering.

in my analysis of Biblical Hebrew, the short-form prefixed
(traditionally jussive/preterite) had the completely underspecified
form. both prefixed forms were as a class nonpast: "unmarked". the "marked"
suffixed form was specified PAST. in brief there are three TENSE/INFL
heads, but traditionally only two were recognized as "tense"; the third was
treated under mood if at all. since Ewald, there's been this nonsense about
aspect: don't believe a word of it.

4. I'm sorry if this is still blibber blabber. but I can't go much
simpler without giving a LIN 100 course on line. all I can say is that
if this stuff interests you, go to your Univ library and start
reading. maybe you can get a reading list from someone teaching intro
courses. I don't know what's used currently, especially in the
American schools.

Vincent DeCaen		 decaen@epas.utoronto.ca

Near Eastern Studies, University of Toronto
Religion and Culture, Wilfrid Laurier University

I really do not know that anything has ever been
more exciting than diagraming sentences.
				 --Gertrude Stein


End of b-greek-digest V1 #923


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