The Cambridge Greek Verb Conference

Stephen Carlson
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Re: The Cambridge Greek Verb Conference

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 13th, 2015, 4:55 pm

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote: Not sure what is meaning by the "intensive" perfect.
See http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/vie ... =30#p20215 and M. Aubrey's post linked there.
It's a term whose meaning varies from person to person. I don't know what Allen meant by it from the notes. Wallace, for example, equates it "resultative," which doesn't work here.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: The Cambridge Greek Verb Conference

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 13th, 2015, 5:00 pm

cwconrad wrote:Well, obligatory in prose, perhaps. It's common but not obligatory in tragic poetry and in later continuation of the epic tradition --
Yes, poetry.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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Re: The Cambridge Greek Verb Conference

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 13th, 2015, 6:45 pm

Chris Thomson (Cambridge) – What is Aspect? Contrasting Definitions in Linguistics and New Testament Studies
  1. Biggest question is which phenomena are included in aspect, and whether to define it generically or for a specific language.
  2. Broad approach
    1. Aspect = linguistic representation of the perspective a speaker expresses with regard to the temporal course of an even. HOW it relates to time, not WHEN it occurred.
    2. “Situation” encompasses both actions and states.
    3. Temporal structure refers to beginning, ending, and middle/duration.
    4. Key is that aspect refers to how one expresses temporal structure
    5. Factors of aspect: choice of lexeme, form of verb, argument, adverbs
  3. Narrow approach
    1. “Aspect” originally a calque from Russian “form, type, view”
    2. Perfective “expresses the action as a total event summed up with reference to a single specific juncture”
  4. Other notes
    1. Parade illustration (originally; Isacenko)
      1. Perfective = spectator watching parade from the stand, seeing whole thing from beginning to end
      2. Imperfective = participant of a parade who doesn’t see the beginning and end
    2. But this illustration has flaws because parades take place in both space and time (versus just time). Moreover, the spectator does not see the duration of the parade all at once but still sees it unfolding over time.
    3. Perfective represents beginning-middle-end, but imperfective only middle (and not beginning-end).
    4. The spatial/viewpoint metaphor (“internal” vs. “external”) are not actually helpful. What does it mean to say “He was reading a book” is an “internal” perspective?
    5. Another problem with “viewpoint” is that verbs don’t actually “view” but refer.
    6. Better definition: “aspect is a temporal phase or phases of the situation to which the verb refers” (Johnson, Klein)
    7. Porter, Fanning, and Campbell all operate from the perspective that aspect is not fundamentally about temporality. They prefer the “viewpoint” metaphor. They are right (in principle) in denying that aspect is not tense, and that it is not the actual progress of an event through time.
    8. Three key features of verbs: duration, change, and telicity (does it have an endpoint).
    9. Better way of viewing perfective aspect is not “completion” but on “completeness,” that is, it includes the end point but is not necessarily emphasizing it. Imperfective aspect does not have the beginning or ending in view.
There's a lot going on here, too much to comment about. Hans-Jürgen Sasse's review article (working paper/preprint here) still does a good job showing the two basic approaches to aspect in the broader linguistics field. This summary presents bits and pieces of the basic ideas in the literature, but the interested student should read more widely because this summary is just too sketchy to make sense of by itself.

I'm a bit surprised at how unhelpful Thomson thinks the parade analogy and the internal/external metaphor is for understanding aspect. It readily translates to the Reichenbach / Klein approach that Crellin's paper in the conference discusses and seems to endorse. I also find it odd that he doesn't like "viewpoint" because "verbs don’t actually 'view' but refer," but then goes on to use the term "in view" to describe the imperfective aspect. As any rate, there is a long history of using visual metaphors to describe aspect.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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Re: The Cambridge Greek Verb Conference

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » July 13th, 2015, 8:52 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Chris Thomson (Cambridge) – What is Aspect? Contrasting Definitions in Linguistics and New Testament Studies
To me this looks a bit disappointing. I haven't felt the definition of aspect being a problem. "Aktionsart" is a problem. Of course even within linguistics the definitions vary, but how they are contrasting between linguistics and NT studies?
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Re: The Cambridge Greek Verb Conference

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 13th, 2015, 11:25 pm

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:
Chris Thomson (Cambridge) – What is Aspect? Contrasting Definitions in Linguistics and New Testament Studies
To me this looks a bit disappointing. I haven't felt the definition of aspect being a problem. "Aktionsart" is a problem. Of course even within linguistics the definitions vary, but how they are contrasting between linguistics and NT studies?
I think it means that he doesn't like the Porter / Fanning / Campbell definitions of aspect. All of these stem ultimately from Comrie 1976, and that makes them a bit dated, but it won't be the first time that NT studies borrows something from another field and never really manages to update the borrowing in light of subsequent developments in the source field.

Aktionsart is a problem in our field because it is found in our much older reference works and people want to somehow maintain the older meaning of the term, which is no longer really in current use anywhere else. That's probably why Fanning chose to talk about "procedural characteristics" in his own extension of the Vendler classes.
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Re: The Cambridge Greek Verb Conference

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 14th, 2015, 7:27 am

I think I'm going to skip over the discourse stuff (sorry Steve Runge and Mark Dubis), and treat the next item in aspectology:
Nick Ellis (BibleMesh) – Aspect-Prominence, Morpho-Syntax, and a Cognitive Framework for the Greek Verb
  1. Tense-prominent framework is correct for English but is fundamentally flawed for Greek, structurally, semantically, and terminologically. Fails to reflect the essential organizational and cognitive framework of the language.
  2. Languages emphasize either tense, aspect, or mood. Greek is aspect-prominence.
  3. Tense = deals with situations’ relative location in time, esp. past, present, future
  4. Aspect = situation’s internal structure, usually in terms of being bounded (self-contained) or unbounded (uncontained). Manner and extent to which time unfolds with respect to a situation. Greek has imperfective (assumes an event has begun but makes no reference to beginning or conclusion) and perfective (views event as a whole including beginning, middle, end), and combinative (a mix of both).
  5. Mood = deals with irrealis modality, e.g., possibility, necessity, etc.
  6. Verbal prominence does not mean (a) the prominent category is more strongly expressed at all times or (b) the other categories are unimportant. Rather, it deals with the extent to which the central category provides the primary concept around which the verbal system is structured.
  7. Classifying prominence
    1. Degree to which the category is grammaticalized or encoded in the morphology of the verb
    2. Formation of a complete paradigm
    3. Pervasive and obligatory
    4. Degree to which the non-prominent features recede outside the indicative
  8. In Greek:
    1. Tense is important only indicative
    2. Mood is important only in subjunctive, optative, etc.
    3. Aspect is important in all moods, tenses, and voices
  9. In English:
    1. Tense is encoded in the morphology (e.g., -ed suffix)
    2. Aspect and mood are expressed with helping words and are, thus, less central (b/c less grammaticalized)
  10. Greek aspect is a three part system: perfective, imperfective, and (arguably) combinative (also called stative).
  11. Aspect system in Greek (in order of appearance in the morphology of a verb
    1. Tense indicator (indicative mood only)
    2. Aspect prefix for imperfective
    3. Lexical core (never used by itself)
    4. Aspect prefix for perfective
    5. Personal ending
  12. Past/non-past augment is only relevant in the indicative, but aspect shows up across everything.
  13. Sum: aspect is more grammaticalized, paradigmatic, pervasive, and obligatory (than tense and mood) in the Greek verbal system. It differs from English in a big way, and this must be take into account in pedagogy, etc.
  14. Why the confusion? All major grammars of Greek have been written in tense-prominent languages (English, German, French), thus implicitly leading authors to emphasize tense.
  15. Teaching students within an aspectually prominent verbal system offers a way to help students deal with the cloud of inconsistent categorization.
I understand Ellis's presentation basically as an application of D. N. S. Bhat's work in his The Prominence of Tense, Aspect and Mood (1999). I like that work too and I recommend it, and it's good to see it applied to Greek.

The biggest beef I have here is how he constructs the perfect as imperfective + perfective in terms of morphology (cf. his name "combinative"). (Buth is similar on this too.) While it might have some validity in late Proto-Indo-European (much remains obscure, however), I don't buy it as a good depiction of the state of affairs within Greek. In Greek, the reduplicating prefix of the perfect is not imperfective (§ 11.2), but part of the perfect. There is non-perfect imperfective use of this morpheme (though there is an unproductive fossilized reduplicating prefix with a different vowel (ι instead of ε). I assume also that the aspectual prefix for the perfective is meant to include not only the σ for the sigmatic aorist but also the κ of the perfect (and a few aorists). I think we just don't know enough about the etymology of this kappa to sustain the equation (personally I'm inclined to view to them as possibly hardened laryngeals of independent origins), and, even if the etymology should happen to be right, which I doubt, the kappa is simply not a productive marker of the aorist. Plus, the perfect middle doesn't even have its kappa, as well as various active second perfects. The only way I can recommend this morphological calculus is that it might be a useful mnemonic for some students, but as part of a synchronic description, I just cannot endorse it.
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Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: The Cambridge Greek Verb Conference

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » July 14th, 2015, 9:42 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote: Not sure what is meaning by the "intensive" perfect.
See http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/vie ... =30#p20215 and M. Aubrey's post linked there.
It's a term whose meaning varies from person to person. I don't know what Allen meant by it from the notes. Wallace, for example, equates it "resultative," which doesn't work here.
I checked Wallace and understand your comment better. I would bet my money on Allen being linguistically better informed than Wallace and agreeing with e.g. Aubrey's opinion.
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Re: The Cambridge Greek Verb Conference

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » July 14th, 2015, 9:43 am

Stephen Carlson wrote: I understand Ellis's presentation basically as an application of D. N. S. Bhat's work in his The Prominence of Tense, Aspect and Mood (1999). I like that work too and I recommend it, and it's good to see it applied to Greek.
According to http://oldschoolscript.com/2015/03/06/h ... g-a-story/ you're probably right.
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Re: The Cambridge Greek Verb Conference

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 22nd, 2015, 11:22 pm

Mike's comments on Fanning's presentation are here: https://evepheso.wordpress.com/2015/07/ ... t-fanning/
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Re: The Cambridge Greek Verb Conference

Post by Chris Thomson » July 26th, 2015, 7:43 am

This discussion has just come to my attention and I would like to advocate reading the papers themselves when they are published in a few months’ time (DV) and reserving judgment until then.

So far as my own contribution is concerned, Greg’s summary picks out various issues I mentioned but doesn’t really explain the argument. The main point of the paper was that the approach taken by Porter, Fanning, and Campbell departs (to varying degrees) from that generally adopted by linguists (including Comrie and Klein) by downplaying or denying the temporal nature of aspect, and that this seems to have arisen in part from a misunderstanding of the way linguists have made use of visual and spatial metaphors in describing aspect.

My point about Isačenko’s parade illustration was that he uses it as an analogy to illustrate the idea that perfective aspect takes in the whole situation from beginning to end, but that the illustration is reconfigured by Porter in such a way as to remove the temporal dimension. Strikingly, the vantage point representing perfective aspect in Isačenko’s version represents imperfective aspect in Porter’s version.

Greg’s use of the phrase “in view” in the final sentence of his point 9 is a paraphrase. As I said in the paper, I am happy to use the language of a particular part of the situation being “in view” so long as this is understood metaphorically. But I prefer definitions which do not make use of such metaphors.
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