THE GREEK VERBAL SYSTEM AND ASPECT PROMINENCE – JETS 59/1

Biblical Greek morphology and syntax, aspect, linguistics, discourse analysis, and related topics
MAubrey
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THE GREEK VERBAL SYSTEM AND ASPECT PROMINENCE – JETS 59/1

Post by MAubrey » March 23rd, 2016, 12:39 pm

Some of you might be interested in criticizing us for our decisions. And please, go for it:

The Greek Verbal System and Aspect Prominence: Revising our Taxonomy and Nomenclature

We've uploaded the full article to academia.edu, but the blog post gives a small bit of context.
Mike Aubrey, Linguist
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: THE GREEK VERBAL SYSTEM AND ASPECT PROMINENCE – JETS 59/

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 18th, 2016, 1:27 am

In section d. Summary, on pages 48 and 49 of the full article, you've written:
The indicative forms of these three aspects may further be broken into a past/non-past binary, as indicated by the ε-augment.
...
non-indicative forms ... somehow losing their tense markers.
The first part is an expression of the views of the authours, and the second is an expression of a stylised misconception on the part of learners.

There are a reasonable number of non-past tense aorists indicative. Why are they not included in the model?
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

RandallButh
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Re: THE GREEK VERBAL SYSTEM AND ASPECT PROMINENCE – JETS 59/

Post by RandallButh » August 18th, 2016, 4:24 am

Thank you for calling attention to the article.

First, after a cursory read, congratulations on producing an article that seems to correctly highlight the way in which the Greek verb operates.
It should help the next generation of students dissipate the current fog in the field. κῦδος.

On a more minor terminological quibble, why did you choose 'combinative' as an aspect name, after using semantically based names for the two primary aspects?
I would have thought that something like 'resultative' or some other semantically based name would have provided more congruence.

While 'perfect' can be defined and used as a name for the third Greek aspect, I can appreciate a desire to distance the name from the name of the first aspect, perfective.
And I can also appreciate that 'combinative' includes the complexity and the morphological double marking that developed in Greek. But singly marked stems were at the first stage core of development and a semantically-based name is able to group together variant morphologically based names and complex development.

Hence, my suggestion above. I wish we could have discussed more before your publication.

PS on p47: I would say λέλυκε rather than "λελύλε". But I can't think of when I would use it. Maybe in rhetorical consternation where English might use a middle: get it solved!
and p57: I prefer καλῶ as the true final form. (I suppose Lucian might have used καλέω in the Syrian Goddess.)

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: THE GREEK VERBAL SYSTEM AND ASPECT PROMINENCE – JETS 59/

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » August 18th, 2016, 5:40 pm

The argument proceeds on the assumption that we can discover the conceptual architecture of the greek verb system by looking at the structure of the morphology.

I suspect that isn't a safe assumption.
C. Stirling Bartholomew

MAubrey
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Re: THE GREEK VERBAL SYSTEM AND ASPECT PROMINENCE – JETS 59/

Post by MAubrey » August 18th, 2016, 11:01 pm

RandallButh wrote:On a more minor terminological quibble, why did you choose 'combinative' as an aspect name, after using semantically based names for the two primary aspects?
I didn't choose it. And I never would have. But when you're one author of three, you make compromises.
RandallButh wrote:I would have thought that something like 'resultative' or some other semantically based name would have provided more congruence.
That would be better, though I prefer completive-resultative, since the grammatical form is polysemic (See: The Greek perfect and the categorization of tense and aspect)
Stirling Bartholomew wrote:The argument proceeds on the assumption that we can discover the conceptual architecture of the greek verb system by looking at the structure of the morphology.
That certainly wasn't an assumption we made and I'm disconcerted that you've read it that way!
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MAubrey
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Re: THE GREEK VERBAL SYSTEM AND ASPECT PROMINENCE – JETS 59/

Post by MAubrey » August 18th, 2016, 11:06 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:There are a reasonable number of non-past tense aorists indicative. Why are they not included in the model?
The model is predicated on what is prototypical. Such aorists are not. They're deviations from the norm that only work because the past perfective prototype exists to begin with in the minds of the language users.
Mike Aubrey, Linguist
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MAubrey
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Re: THE GREEK VERBAL SYSTEM AND ASPECT PROMINENCE – JETS 59/

Post by MAubrey » August 18th, 2016, 11:27 pm

RandallButh wrote:PS on p47: I would say λέλυκε rather than "λελύλε". But I can't think of when I would use it. Maybe in rhetorical consternation where English might use a middle: get it solved!
and p57: I prefer καλῶ as the true final form. (I suppose Lucian might have used καλέω in the Syrian Goddess.)
Indeed! The choices of lexemes in inflectional paradigms isn't a battle that we wanted to deal with here, so we punted to tradition

Tradition!

But on the other hand...
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: THE GREEK VERBAL SYSTEM AND ASPECT PROMINENCE – JETS 59/

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 19th, 2016, 12:17 am

Thanks for answering that. Here are two more questions:

The first question is about the blanket term "Greek". I understand the context where the article was published and the examples quoted suggest that what is meant is New Testament Greek, but let me ask outright, what period of Greek is this model applicable for?

While reading your thesis, my impression was that in terms of D. N. S. Bhat's model, Modern Greek is tense prominent, or at least that is how it is taught, and there is no big deal made of the aspect distinction that has become familiar to New Testament studies over the past half century or so. Classical Greek too, while being morphologically aspect prominent, is less distinctly aspect prominent - considering its retention of the optative, the use of the subjunctive when changing speech to narrative, and the more extensive use of ἄν.

The second question is why the basic unit of speech used to determine prominence was the morphology of verbs? Within a paragraph, every sentence has mood, and the tense is most often quite clearly known. Is Bhat's model usually applied to or determined from the smallest units of language?
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

RandallButh
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Re: THE GREEK VERBAL SYSTEM AND ASPECT PROMINENCE – JETS 59/

Post by RandallButh » August 19th, 2016, 12:34 am

Hey, nice links to Tevye and "Tradition".
And maybe pass on to Nick "we'll have to discuss combinative vs. resultative around a campfire sometime."

PPS:
(whispering) psst! .... the accent, on what should be λέλυκε.

and for a natural word καλῶ, the other final forms resolved the *ε with a natural word, like ἐκάλουν (same page) instead of *ἐκάλεον.
(Dionysios discussed the verb classes using natural words: "περισπωμένων δὲ ῥημάτων: ... νοῶ νοεῖς νοεῖ, ... βοῶ βοᾶις βοᾶι, ... χρυσῶ χρυσοῖς χρυσοῖ, [writing with adscript and without accents in his spelling tradition.)

MAubrey
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Re: THE GREEK VERBAL SYSTEM AND ASPECT PROMINENCE – JETS 59/

Post by MAubrey » August 19th, 2016, 12:42 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:Thanks for answering that. Here are two more questions:

The first question is about the blanket term "Greek". I understand the context where the article was published and the examples quoted suggest that what is meant is New Testament Greek, but let me ask outright, what period of Greek is this model applicable for?
Koine, generally. I never limit myself only to the NT.
Stephen Hughes wrote:While reading your thesis, my impression was that in terms of D. N. S. Bhat's model, Modern Greek is tense prominent, or at least that is how it is taught, and there is no big deal made of the aspect distinction that has become familiar to New Testament studies over the past half century or so. Classical Greek too, while being morphologically aspect prominent, is less distinctly aspect prominent - considering its retention of the optative, the use of the subjunctive when changing speech to narrative, and the more extensive use of ἄν.
In Bhat's model, tense-prominent, aspect-prominent, and mood-prominent are idealized language types. He functions on the assumption that the vast majority of languages will exist with features of more than one type. The criteria for prominence aren't merely morphology, but are interested in holistic view of the language. so for example, the one criteria for evaluating prominence is the degree to which the category is grammaticalized: In terms of mood, the greater prominence of the optative as a category grammaticalized on the verb would be evidence for mood-prominence. On the other hand, the existence of modal lexical items like ἄν is evidence of the opposite, since ἄν effectively a lexicalized modal.

As for Modern Greek, my own intuition is that the language is still halfway or so between tense-prominent and aspect-prominent. The past and non-past tenses are so closely tied with aspect, but then the future and perfect are now periphrastic. The fact that aspect continues to be maintained in the oblique moods suggests that aspect-prominence continues to hold on, too.
Stephen Hughes wrote:The second question is why the basic unit of speech used to determine prominence was the morphology of verbs? Within a paragraph, every sentence has mood, and the tense is most often quite clearly known. Is Bhat's model usually applied to or determined from the smallest units of language?
Bhat's model is interested more in how the categories are expressed rather than merely if they're expressed. He's interested in degrees of grammaticalization, obligatory-ness, and paradigmaticity.
Mike Aubrey, Linguist
Koine-Greek.com

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