Re: Porter on the present

Date: Sun Oct 22 1995 - 15:54:01 EDT

On Fri, 20 Oct 1995 Bruce Terry wrote:
> To better understand my response, I offer to the list for your consideration
> and discussion the following chart on Greek tense. Please note that Mari and
> I are using different vocabulary to a certain extent--hers is more in the
> tradition of modern linguistics, mine more in the tradition of traditional
> Greek linguistics (although I have incorporated the language of marked/
> unmarked from the work of the Prague school).
> TENSE in Greek for the Indicative Mode:
  I am not reproducing the table.
  B. COMRIE, Aspect. An Introduction to the Study of Verbal Aspect
and Related Problems. Cambridge (England): University Press, 1976, p.
131, sees the relations between tense and aspect in Ancient Greek as

     "Aorist [+PERFECTIVE, +PAST, -FUTURE]
      Imperfect [-PERFECTIVE, +PAST, -FUTURE]
      Present [-PERFECTIVE, -PAST, -FUTURE]
      Future [ -PAST, +FUTURE]"

 This table seems to me to be more practical. It can be important to
use the categories of markedness and unmarkedness, but it seems to me
there are differences in understanding of "marked" and "unmarked"
between e.g. the Prague school and Chomsky. For exegesis and
translantion, it is, in my opinion, more important to know that the
Greek Aorist is perfective. This doesn't mean, of course, that the
action described must be punctual. It could be iterative or prolonged,
too, but it is viewed as a whole. The Ancient Greek Future, according
to Comrie, "is apectually neutral" (ibid.).

                           Ladislav Tichy,
                           Faculty of Theology,
                           Palacky University of
                           Czech Republic


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