MAubrey wrote:David Lim wrote:I just came across one example when reading the LXX:[Exo 5]  συνεταξεν δε φαραω τοις εργοδιωκταις του λαου και τοις γραμματευσιν λεγων  ουκετι προστεθησεται διδοναι αχυρον τω λαω εις την πλινθουργιαν καθαπερ εχθες και τριτην ημεραν αυτοι πορευεσθωσαν και συναγαγετωσαν εαυτοις αχυρα  και την συνταξιν της πλινθειας ης αυτοι ποιουσιν καθ εκαστην ημεραν επιβαλεις αυτοις ουκ αφελεις ουδεν σχολαζουσιν γαρ δια τουτο κεκραγασιν λεγοντες πορευθωμεν και θυσωμεν τω θεω ημων  βαρυνεσθω τα εργα των ανθρωπων τουτων και μεριμνατωσαν ταυτα και μη μεριμνατωσαν εν λογοις κενοις  κατεσπευδον δε αυτους οι εργοδιωκται και οι γραμματεις και ελεγον προς τον λαον λεγοντες ταδε λεγει φαραω ουκετι διδωμι υμιν αχυρα  αυτοι υμεις πορευομενοι συλλεγετε εαυτοις αχυρα οθεν εαν ευρητε ου γαρ αφαιρειται απο της συνταξεως υμων ουθεν
It is to me a perfect use of the imperfect to denote an ongoing event, and I do not see why we would need to see "ελεγον" as a means to segment discourse.
David, its perfectly fine that you're not convinced. The problem is that in not being convinced you've introduced a category into the language that is superfluous. Steve's explanation maintains the purely imperfective semantics of the verb, while yours rejects it completely. At face value, there is absolutely no reason why one should prefer an explanation (yours) that so dramatically violates the basic semantic structure of the language as realized in its own morphological patterns, especially when there is another explanation (Steve's) that maintains that structure, i.e. for Steve, ἔλεγον is still imperfective in nature.
Sorry I do not understand what you mean; I never introduced any new category. I indeed was saying that the imperfect verb is imperfective, and especially denotes an ongoing event in the past. The main difference with Steve is that I do not see a need to identify imperfect verbs of speaking as a means to segment discourse. To me it is simply behaving like any other imperfect verb.
MAubrey wrote:But that's at face value. Drawing a final conclusion is dependent upon your counter evidence:David Lim wrote:learly there is no discourse here, and in fact both imperfects are essentially referring to the same event: "the taskmasters and scribes themselves were hastening and were saying to the people, saying, this says [the] Pharaoh, no longer do I give to you chaff. you yourselves, going, collect for yourselves chaff from wherever you shall find. for nothing is taken away from your [work] arrangement." In other words, in somewhat informal English we might say: "they were going around and were saying to the people, ..." emphasising the continuous nature of the action over that period of time, though it is hardly different in meaning from the somewhat more formal statement "they went around and said to the people, ..." There are also more examples in the same text, both of which convey continuous action, though "they were beholding" will be unnatural English for "εωρων":
The problem with this argument is that the example isn't relevant. Steve isn't making a claim about all instances of ἔλεγον. He's making a claim about some instances of ἔλεγον and only in a specific syntactic environment: instances of ἔλεγον where it is hedged in on both sides by direct discourse. He's also technically not making a claim specifically about the verb λέγω, but about a larger class: verbs of speaking, in the imperfect, in narrative. In principle just about any verb of speaking that has an imperfect form could be used in this way. How does your counter example size up? Let's check:
Verb of Speaking: Pass
Hedged in on both sides by direct discourse: Fail
And since your example doesn't meet the criteria, it isn't relevant. And since it isn't relevant your argument fails. To demonstrate that Steve is wrong, you must only work with the data that satisfies his criteria before you can demonstrate that the explanation doesn't work.
I am not sure if I could have stated my point of view more clearly. To repeat, I do not think there is such a thing as an instantaneous imperfect, so of course I agree with what Steve said in "Levinsohn remarks that the imperfect is used “to portray events as incomplete.”" and in "The aspect of the imperfect itself is used for ongoing or incomplete action." What I disagree with is his explanation that it is the natural choice in order to segment speech. I am not saying that it cannot be used for that but that it is not more suited for that purpose. The purpose of my example was to show how imperfective verbs of speaking are used with no other intention except to convey an ongoing event in the past. Thus for Steve to demonstrate his claim, he would need to give evidence that an imperfect verb of speaking is indeed a linguistically natural way to segment long speech, not just stylistically frequent for some authors. Otherwise, I see no difference between imperfect verbs of speaking and imperfect verbs in general.