absolute grammaticalization of aspect

Biblical Greek morphology and syntax, aspect, linguistics, discourse analysis, and related topics
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Stirling Bartholomew
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absolute grammaticalization of aspect

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » July 17th, 2017, 2:33 pm

absolute grammaticalization of aspect


D. Mathewson, following Porter(?), attempts to isolate verb aspect from other semantic features of verbs which are contextually dependent. “... aspect is inextricably tied the formal tense endings of Greek verbs."[1] In other words, aspect is a semantic feature of authorial choice independent of all other semantic coloring provided by the scenario represented in the text. I see this as an attempt to absolutize the grammaticalization of aspect in manner that implies a direct hardwired relationship between surface structure (the morphology of the verb) and semantic feature called aspect. This attempt to absolutize the grammaticalization of aspect sounds strange. Why should aspect be different than any other morphologically marked syntax feature? We don’t absolutize case semantics. We understand that case semantics are conditioned by context, cotext, “pragmatics”[2] ... whatever.

[1] David Mathewson, Verbal Aspect in the Book of Revelation Brill
2010, page 25.

[2] “pragmatics” -- I am not sure how Mathewson is using this concept. In fact I generally avoid using the term since it is a source of confusion in discourse literature.

Postscript:

Again following Porter, Mathewson models the semantics of aspect as a set of binary oppositions. This sounds like a revival of structuralism.
C. Stirling Bartholomew

MAubrey
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Re: absolute grammaticalization of aspect

Post by MAubrey » July 18th, 2017, 12:03 am

How would you prefer to describe the relationship between form and meaning instead?
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: absolute grammaticalization of aspect

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » July 18th, 2017, 2:56 pm

There are two somewhat unrelated questions.

First: The attempt of Greek scholars to isolate a semantic feature called aspect that can be described as context & co-text invariant. It appears that the proponents of this aspect invariance need to assume what they are trying to demonstrate to proceed with proving it. As I read this monograph I find reason to raise objections in virtually every paragraph. The objections are mostly about presuppositions. I see no incontrovertible evidence that aspect can be demonstrated to be context & co-text invariant. I simply can’t conceive of a argument that would satisfy that hypothesis.

Second: binary oppositons.

Binary oppositions assume that a semantic feature is best described as being in one of two states: ON/OFF or present/absent. This has limited usefulness. Take a physical example of a orange (fruit). If we say that an orange is spherical. Then what will we say about a tangerine or an apple? A walnut is probably not spherical but a tangerine presents you with something that is less spherical than an orange which is less spherical than some man made objects like glass marbles. A walnut is more spherical than an ice cube. Binary oppositions are attractive to certain sort of thinkers who want something with an (artificial) appearance of being orderly and clearcut.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: absolute grammaticalization of aspect

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 18th, 2017, 8:32 pm

Matthewson is part of the Porter school, and--unless I'm missing something--I don't really see him doing much other than restating Porter's views and applying them to Revelation. And, yes, arguments over this framework are often over differing presuppositions.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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MAubrey
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Re: absolute grammaticalization of aspect

Post by MAubrey » July 19th, 2017, 12:50 am

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
July 18th, 2017, 2:56 pm
There are two somewhat unrelated questions.

First: The attempt of Greek scholars to isolate a semantic feature called aspect that can be described as context & co-text invariant. It appears that the proponents of this aspect invariance need to assume what they are trying to demonstrate to proceed with proving it. As I read this monograph I find reason to raise objections in virtually every paragraph. The objections are mostly about presuppositions. I see no incontrovertible evidence that aspect can be demonstrated to be context & co-text invariant. I simply can’t conceive of a argument that would satisfy that hypothesis.

Second: binary oppositons.

Binary oppositions assume that a semantic feature is best described as being in one of two states: ON/OFF or present/absent. This has limited usefulness. Take a physical example of a orange (fruit). If we say that an orange is spherical. Then what will we say about a tangerine or an apple? A walnut is probably not spherical but a tangerine presents you with something that is less spherical than an orange which is less spherical than some man made objects like glass marbles. A walnut is more spherical than an ice cube. Binary oppositions are attractive to certain sort of thinkers who want something with an (artificial) appearance of being orderly and clearcut.
I 100% agree.
Mike Aubrey, Linguist
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: absolute grammaticalization of aspect

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » July 22nd, 2017, 1:40 pm

Putting it all together:

Here is paper submitted by a Phd candidate at the school where the late Rodney Decker taught. It's an easy read and it illusrates how a student might apply the Porter and/or Decker framework to actual exegesis.
The application of verbal aspect, discourse analysis, diagrammatical analysis and constituent identification to revelation 20:1-15: a test case
Geoffrey Randall Kirkland
B.A., The Master’s College, 2005
M.Div., The Master’s Seminary, 2008
Th.M., The Master’s Seminary, 2009

Submitted to Dr. Arp
in partial fulfillment of the requirements
for Seminar on NT Hermeneutics and Exegetical Method – NT1
Summer 2010
Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania
Friday, July 9, 2010

http://www.vassaloftheking.com/home/180 ... 0Draft.pdf
C. Stirling Bartholomew

MAubrey
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Re: absolute grammaticalization of aspect

Post by MAubrey » July 26th, 2017, 2:58 pm

That was a perplexing read.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: absolute grammaticalization of aspect

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » July 26th, 2017, 7:08 pm

MAubrey wrote:
July 26th, 2017, 2:58 pm
That was a perplexing read.
No kidding! I found it enlightening to see how a student at the graduate level would make sense out of this topic having read all the stuff that is "out there" it isn't surprising that any attempt to boil this down to something fairly simple will produce unusual results.

Meanwhile I managed to get a pdf printed off of C. J. Thomson's contribution[1] to the verb conference at Tyndall House which I am reading while I wait on ILL to get the entire book. This article certainly helps to clear the fog that was settling in on this subject.


[1]What is Aspect?
Contrasting Definitions in General Linguistics and New Testament Studies1
Christopher J. Thomson, University of Edinburgh
C. Stirling Bartholomew

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