Re: The aorist = unmarked aspect

From: David Moore (
Date: Thu Oct 05 1995 - 23:49:13 EDT

Edward Hobbs <> wrote:

> As one who has served his sentence for writing overmuch on Greek tenses
>many times over, may I write in (almost) total support of Bruce Terry's post
>on the aorist. (The "almost" means that I am not a Prague school linguist,
>but a committed transformational-generative, or Chomskyan, grammarian.) But
>in any case, the issue of the aorist has been pretty well settled, I thought,
>It turns out to be just what the grammarians 2000 years ago called it --
>"unmarked" or undefined. The indicative marks tenses (augment, etc.).
>Other moods do not, and the aorist is plainly the unmarked "tense"
>(read, correctly, "aspect").

        Some months ago, there was considerable discussion on b-greek
having to do with aspect and tense. Several of the list members said that
the most recent thinking is that even in the indicative, tense is not
grammatically encoded (Porter, et al.). This seems overstated to me.
Although grammatical indications of tense cannot be taken as written in
concrete, there does seem to be general rules that afford the interpreter
guidelines that should not be departed from without good reason.

        Since Edward Hobbs mentions above that "the indicative marks
tenses (augment, etc.)," I'm wondering if he, as someone who has been at
Greek long enough to see different schools of grammatical interpretation
come and go, thinks the divorce of tense from grammatical form is really a
sea change, or just a passing vogue.

David L. Moore Southeastern Spanish District
Miami, Florida of the Assemblies of God Department of Education

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