Re: Porter on the present

From: Vincent DeCaen (
Date: Mon Oct 23 1995 - 10:10:39 EDT

> > 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
> follows:
> Future [ -PAST, +FUTURE]"

does anyone not see the glaring asymmetries of this chart?? you've got
a third feature in complementary distribution with perfective in just
the case of -past. you've also got the redundancies of equipollent
features that Olsen so eloquently argues against. so how about this:

aorist [past, perf]
imperfect [past, ]
present [ ]
future [ perf]

this conceptually clean version is where Olsen should lead. I think
the problem of nonpast perfectives should be immediately clear to a
speaker of Czech. what are your intuitions on the Czech perfective
stem with present endings, Ladislav? cf. Russian "I write" pishu vs
perfective napishu "I write(pf)"

> 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"
> Ladislav Tichy,
> Faculty of Theology,
> Palacky University of
> Olomouc,
> Czech Republic

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

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