Perfect/Stative - PEPISTEUKA JOHN 11:27

From: Rolf Furuli (
Date: Mon Aug 18 1997 - 11:12:06 EDT

Clayton Bartholomew wrote:

<A comment on Rolf's model:

<Is this model of verb aspect tied to K. Greek verb morphology?
<Since the marking provided in verb morphology is the only hard
<data we have, a model which does not include this marking is
<simply a system of semantic abstractions. If an aspect model is
<intended to be independent of verb morphological categories
<then this should be explicitly shown in the model.

Dear Clayton,

A model is defined as "a representation of something where particular
characteristics which are important for the purpose of the representation
are stresseed while others are excluded." A model can be broad, (organic
evolution as a scientific "paradigm" for biology, historic geology etc),
and smaller models can be entailed, such as a model for microevolution,or
for gradual evolution or for saltation (I don`t advocate evolution, just
use it as an example).

When I speak of a "binary aspect model" I think of a model with the basic
assumption that there must be a semantic difference between the 6 groups of
Greek verbs with different morphology, and that the basic difference of the
system is the aspectual difference between perfectivity and imperfectivity
(I mentioned this model in contrast to Porter`s view of three aspects).
Based on, or as a smaller part of this model (1.0) are other models (1.1,
1.2, 1.3, 1:4...) serving as representations of particular relationships
inside the verbal system. The figure in my previous post was such a
smaller model (1.1).

Those who don`t define aspect with Aktionsart terms agree that aspect is a
subjective viewpoint; when asked they define the difference between the two
aspects as "seen from the inside" versus "seen from the outside" - no
further explanation is given. The purpose of 1.1 was to give a different
representation of the NATURE of aspect as seen from the outside and
described in terms of distance and focus, and to show the relationship
between the subjective aspect and the objective Aktionsart. If you like,
you can call this a system of semantic abstractions. 1.1 however, is tied
up with the "binary aspect model" (1.0) which again has its basis in

Regarding PERFECT,I found that 1.1 could throw light on the question
whether this conjugation was a subjective aspect or was similar to
objective Aktionsart and whether one or both aspects originally had some
influence upon it. All agree that PERFECT is resultative and/or stative,
and the "area" covered by PERFECT is according to 1.1 identical with a
particular area of focus both inside the imperfective and perfective
aspect. Thus it was concluded that PERFECT was not a subjective eye seeing
through the lense opening but rather was that which was seen through this
opening,i.e. a real situation. Because both aspects have a particular focus
compatible with PERFECT, according to the model it was further suggested
that both aspects originally had an influence on PERFECT.

A model 1.2 could be a representation of the relationship between
subjective mood, subjective aspect and objective Aktionsart, and/or between
subjective mood and tense (FUTURE) and subjective mood and what is
resultative/stative (PERFECT). 1.4 could be a representation of how we by
objective means can identify the nature of subjective entities. We take for
granted that Greek present/imperfect represent the imperfective aspect and
aorist the perfective one, but do we have a model to show this? Given that
the principal difference between imperfectivity/perfectivity is the end, we
need a model where we by help of pragmatics and semantics can identify a
particular verb as imperfective or perfective (this is the opposite
direction of where we usually go). 1.4 could be a representation of how we
can find out whether the almost universal use of aorist and imperfect in
past contexts is due to inherrent temporality or to other factors (I
suppose Mari has such a model)

I would like to add that my approach is philological rather than
linguistic, which means that I don`t use equations and other devices on a
high theoretical level, but my models are more like those in the natural
sciences than those in linguistics.

<A note on terminology:

<Rolf's use of the term *Perfect* appeared to include two distinct
<meanings. In some places *Perfect* appears to be used as a
<morphological category and in other places it appears to be a
<synonym for *Perfective* which is an aspectual abstraction.

Here some misunderstanding has arisen. In my mind I definitely
differentiate between "PERFECT" which is a morphological category and
"perfective" which is a label for one of the aspects. Reading my post
again, I cannot find any example where "PERFECT" can be construed to have
the meaning "Perfective".


Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

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