Mari`s book

From: Rolf Furuli (
Date: Mon Sep 01 1997 - 09:37:21 EDT

Dear Mari,

I have done a quick reading of your book and am very much impressed of your
model and of the consistency of your application of it to different
languages, (except the small "inconsistency" in Greek perfect, p 244, note
44), not least your strict differentiation between semantics and
pragmatics. Your book is certainly a scholarly work with a high quality! It
gave me much valuable input, suggesting several paths which I need to
explore, although the very model`s application to Greek and several
conclusions may be open for discussion.

The strength of your model is that it can account for most or all of the
Greek data. We cannot expect that such a model should be falsifiable,
although it is hoped that particular sides of it would be. However, it
seems to me that a privative model, such as yours, shuns falsification
attempts to a greater degree than an equipollent one.

As a test of the claim that "Perfective aspect presents a coda /end/ view
of a situation", I would use stative situations and refer to ingressive
aorists (stressing the beginning) or to aorists where the state continues
beyond the scope of the aorist (thus not stressing the end),but this
evidence is turned away by a reference to pragmatics. This seems to
indicate that a great part of the model is very far from being testable and
that only telic, dynamic and durative situations in principle are testable.
But are they? Three preliminary questions:

(1) Is it possible to think of Greek situations which would falsify the
claims that the perfective aspect present a coda view of the situation and
an imperfective aspect a nucleous view of the situation?

(2) You discribe Greek perfect as a combination of perfective aspect and
present tense. Why could not some (or all) perfects be viewed as
resultative imperfects (cf C Smith pp 114-117)?

(3) It seems that you don`t ascribe aspect to participles (p 217) Is there
for instance a relation between the present participle and a nucleous view
of the situation? (Examples: TRECW of Rom 9:16 and ZAW of Rev 1:18.)


Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

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