Re: NUN+Verb.Aorist

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Tue Apr 29 1997 - 11:52:37 EDT

At 08:38 AM 4/29/97 -0400, Paul Zellmer wrote:
>Yesterday, Jonathan wrote:
>> Incidentally, in a fairly recent series of posts, I think that we reached
>> some consensus that NUN+Verb.Aorist generally functions much like the
>> perfect, pointing to the present state.
>Jonathan, I don't believe this is a recent consensus/agreement.

Oh well, I was hoping to be able to proclaim this consensus by divine fiat ;->

Remember the list of NUN+Verb.Aorist examples I posted? As I recall,
everybody who responded seemed to think that they functioned much like the
perfect, focusing on a present condition with respect to a past event. I
don't remember that you posted. I haven't checked the archives, so this is
only my fading memory.

>Even those of us who still hold to a general "past time" significance to the
>augment realize that there are many occasions where that time "meaning"
>is overriden, leaving or focussing on the aspect characteristics of the
>form. Whether this qualifies it to act "much like the perfect" depends
>a good bit on how you see perfect acting.

I find it interesting that you choose the term "overridden" here - if it
*can* be overridden, leaving the aspect, then you actually agree with Mari
to a great extent. She argues that there are some things that can not be
overridden, and others that can. Those that can not be overridden are
essential features, those which can be overridden may still be generally
true due to the basic meaning associated with the essential features (she
calls them pragmatic implicatures, but I can't pronounce that).

I continue to find more agreement than disagreement between Mari Olsen,
Fanning, Smyth, Robertson, and Blass-Debrunner-Rehkopf.

>The question that was argued before is whether the augment still was an
>indicator of past time in Koine Greek. I think we still have proponents
>and opponents of the proposition on the list.

What precisely do you mean when you say that the augment "was an indicator
of past time" in Koine Greek? Frankly, I don't think that anybody has been
that precise about what this means. Do you have a model for how this past
time indicator interacts with other language features?

I don't mean to put you on the spot, and I can understand if you don't have
time for this, since I know how much effort these aspect discussions can
take, but I would be very interested in a more thorough and precise
explanation of how you approach time and aspect here.

>Take it easy, friend.



Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703

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