Re: Aspect defs. (long)

From: Rolf Furuli (
Date: Sun Aug 10 1997 - 16:58:31 EDT

Dear aspect-lovers,

There has been some exchange of opinion between Rod, Mari and myself
regarding the definition of imperfectivity/perfectivity. Particularly is
there disagreement whether or not the beginning of an event may be included
in the imperfective aspect. A couple of months ago I referred to 5 passages
where the beginning seems to be included, but nobody responded. Below I
list them again, and welcome comments. I appreciate disagreement just as
much as agreement, because research is going back and forth, back and
forth, as you know.

(1) Acts 11:2 "When Peter came up to (ANABAINW, aor) Jerusalem,those whe
were circumsized began to debate (DIAKRINW, imperf.) with him."

(2) Acts 21:12 "When we heard this (AKOUW, aor) both we and the local
residents began begging (PARAKALEW, imperf.) him not to go up to Jerusalem."

(3) Gal 2:12 "but when they arrived (ERCOMAI, aor.) he began to withdraw
(hUPOSTELLW, imperf.) and separate (AFORIZW, imperf.) himself."

(4) Ex 33:9 "And it came about that when Moses went into (EISERCOMAI, aor.)
the tent, the pillar of cloud began to descend (KATABAINW, imperf.) and
would stand (hISTEMI, imperf.) at the entrance of the tent."

(5) 1 Macc 9:32 "When (KAI) Baccides heard the news (GIGNOSKW, imperf.),(
KAI) he began to seek (ZHTEW, imperf.) to kill Jonathan."

Do you think that the beginning is included in some or all of the
imperfective verbs in these passages?


Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

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