Re: Aorist as unmarked aspect

Date: Thu Oct 05 1995 - 10:13:15 EDT

Bruce Terry wrote;
>Since several have written about this, and Carlton has >correctly identified
the passage in question as a gnomic >aorist, I thought I would float (sorry,
Ellen) [I wish Ellen would post more, cw]
>a concept on the >aorist itself past the list and see what >reaction I might
>Greek tense is composed of both time and aspect in the >indicative. In the
subjunctive it shows only aspect. There >are three aspects in Greek. In the
spirit of the Prague School >with its concept of marked and unmarked, I would
>like to suggest that the three aspects are unmarked, marked >as completed,
and marked as continuous. The aorist tense is >unmarked as to aspect. This
means that in any given passage, >it may represent punctiliar action,
continuous action, or >completed action. The aorist tense does not say what
kind of
>action is represented by the verb. Thus it is a mistake to say >that the
aorist tense represents punctiliar action, as used to >be a common statement
in grammars; however, punctiliar >action may be expressed by using an aorist
tense since it is >not marked as either completed or continuous.

I agree, if by "unmarked" you mean unlimited or undefined. I have never been
comfortable with the word "punctiliar" tho we used in in our Syntax book
(that was written in the early seventies. Carl Conrad's way of putting it
seems to me to make sense ("get x accomplished"). The writer using the
aorist often seems to be thinking of the fact that the event happens, but my
motto is "meaning in context."
Carlton Winbery
LA College, Pineville, LA

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