book announcement

From: Mari Broman Olsen (
Date: Mon Nov 04 1996 - 15:25:19 EST

Since it was recently mentioned (and since I just found out last
week): my thesis, _A Semantic and Pragmatic Model of Lexical and
Grammatical Aspect_ (with a chapter on Koine Greek), is to be
published this June in the Garland Press series "Outstanding
Dissertations in Linguistics". Don't have a price yet, but I think
it'll be around $60.

I need to write a blurb by Friday--trying to describe the relevance to
my three (disparate!) constituencies, without sounding like
'Jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none'. I'll start with my abstract:
comments on how it might be improved for the Biblical Greek audience
would be appreciated!

This work studies two related phenomena in human language: the ability
of verbs and other lexical items to describe how a situation (event or
state) develops or holds in time (lexical aspect) and the view some verbal
auxiliaries and affixes present of the development or result of situations
at a given time (grammatical aspect). Through this investigation I reveal
a formal situation structure represented by aspectual phenomena, a
structure to which other linguistic elements refer, particularly tense.

I examine data in a variety of languages from the literature, and
provide detailed analyses of English and Koine Greek. I take particular
care to distinguish between aspect semantics and cancellable pragmatic
implicatures associated with aspect forms. The semantic-pragmatic
distinction provides a tool for determining what properties need to be
accounted for in the semantic representation and what may be adduced as
evidence for these properties. In particular, I show that oppositions
generally assumed to be semantically equipollent (+/-) are semantically
privative (+/unmarked), with unmarked forms interpreted in accordance with
pragmatic principles.

Lexical aspect semantics is represented by the privative features
[+telic], [+dynamic], and [+durative]. These features define the Event
Time (ET) as a situation structure consisting of a nucleus and a coda.
Grammatical aspect oppositions, also represented privatively, crucially
interact with this structure: [+imperfective] views situations intersecting
a Reference Time (RT) at the nucleus, and [+perfective] views them at the
coda. The conception of grammatical aspect as a view of the ET-RT
intersection allows the representation of tense to be limited to a relation
between a RT and the deictic center (C). Complex temporal
phenomena--"perfect" and "extended" tenses--are shown to be interactions
between grammatical aspect and tense. The privative analysis allows aspect
semantics to be built up monotonically--from the lexical aspect ET
features, the grammatical aspect view of the ET, and tense. The semantics
restricts pragmatic interpretation in principled ways, based on marked and
marked features.

Chapter 1 introduces theoretical issues and assumptions. Chapters 2-4
outline the semantic structure of lexical aspect, grammatical aspect, and
tense, respectively. Chapters 5-6 apply the analysis to the aspect and
tense systems of English and New Testament Koine Greek.

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