Greek TMA, I

From: Vincent DeCaen (
Date: Sat Oct 21 1995 - 20:47:14 EDT

> I recongnize that the system that Mari and others; following - and
> developing - ideas suggested by Porter, Fanning, _et al._ ; are suggesting
> a new paradigm for understanding Hellenistic Greek. For a new paradigm to
> be useful, it should show advantages over the older system both
> theoretically and practically.

this looks like a misunderstanding: Porter and Fanning are not in agreement
from what I can see. Fanning is an intelligent broadening of
traditional understanding within modern theorizing; while, Porter,
well, that's something altogether different. Mari is a major advance
on Fanning in being responsible to cutting-edge linguistics. I don't
know which "others" you have in mind.
> Denying the grammaticallization of tense in NT Greek in moods
> previously considered marked for tense certainly does simplify the
> grammatical structure, if one takes that structure as a closed system; and
> such a simplification would be a theoretical advantage (viz the Copernican
> revolution).

I for one would *not* deny the grammaticalization of tense in NTGrk.
e.g., the "present" is a "tense": it's just that it's semantics, on
Mari's view at least, is so underspecified.

> There seem to be quite a few on the list that have adopted the new
> paradigm, at least theoretically. Are these concerns about the new
> paradigm's practical application, as expressed above, somehow addressed in
> this system in some way that is not immediately apparent?

again, the only thing these approaches have in common is trying to be
responsible to the linguistic literature: which is a good thing IMHO.

> David L. Moore Southeastern Spanish District

I should point out that my work aims at the "tenseless" languages,
like Biblical Hebrew, and tries to show that they are "tensed" but
just different in their aspectual configuration. Mari and I share the
idea that languages might select perfective or imperfective as the
privative feature, and that this considerably changes the properties
(almost mirror image). Hebrew selects the imperfective; that means
that the simple inflectional forms encode TENSE, but that their
default aspect is perfective. this has consequences in the
interpretation of the so-called prefixed form. in a recent paper, I
showed that Hebrew is actually quite typical, and that European
systems like Greek were the odd ones.

Vincent DeCaen

Near Eastern Studies, University of Toronto
Religion and Culture, Wilfrid Laurier University

I really do not know that anything has ever been
more exciting than diagraming sentences.
                                 --Gertrude Stein

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:37:30 EDT