From: Ward Powers (email@example.com)
Date: Sat Oct 25 1997 - 10:55:35 EDT
At 12:27 97/10/24 -0700, Don Wilkins wrote:
>At 03:10 PM 10/23/97 +1000, Ward Powers wrote:
>>The first thing we need to note is that every Greek verb has four
>>subsystems, one related to time (the future, without inherent aspect), and
>>the other three to aspect. I hope it is safe to say this without
>>reawakening the long-running aspect debate.....
>As usual, I apologize for jumping onto the raft halfway through the trip,
>but I feel compelled to respond. Ward, I respect your opinion and would
>fight for your right to disseminate it, but I doubt that you perceive the
>troublesome implications of the statement above.
>You basically state or
>restate a controversial theory, build a system around it, and then let slip
>a subtle hint that those of us who disagree with the theory ought not to
>protest your approach for fear of rekindling a debate that was put to bed
>some time ago without resolution (other than the fact that most of us who
>were interested agreed to disagree).
>Now I did have a look at the results of
>the b-greek survey and have no more desire than you to reopen the debate,
>but please be a little more careful about what is factual and what is merely
>theoretical. For that matter, my experience has been that there are several
>different ways that the Greek verb can be analyzed and categorized even
>within a given syndrome of presuppositions. So please do tell us how you
>believe the verb should be handled, but please acknowledge differences of
>opinion up front (a simple "I am taking the liberty of presupposing
>such-and-such an approach to tense and aspect" would do), or else don't
>attempt to make villains out of those of us who might be forced--*very*
>reluctantly--to resurrect parts of the previous debate merely in response to
>I don't think you really mean to put us in that position, so
>a little more foresight on your part would be appreciated.
OUCH! Okay, okay, I surrender quietly. My hands are in the air. Don't
shoot! Just tell me what you want me to do, and I'll do it.
But I'm not quite sure what the fight is all about. Please just let me
check up on this.
Aspect as such is not the issue in the things that I wrote - at least, I
did not think it was until I got your post. What I meant by the above-cited
quote was, "Will list members please allow me to use the term 'aspect'
without us having to revisit the discussion of its meaning?" The answer is,
Can you walk me through what I said, and tell me which of the propositions
it contains or presupposes are the controversial ones. Then I can see how
my wording can be improved so that my point can be made without reopening
the aspect debate. (Which, I believe, should be possible. We'll see.)
1. The four subsystems which are to be found in every Greek verb are:
present/imperfect; future; aorist; perfect/pluperfect. Every form of every
verb will be part of one or another of these four subsystems. I would have
looked on this proposition as a factual statement which was not
controversial. Is it in fact controversial? Or was it that I said the
future did not have inherent aspect?
2. The very next sentence of my post after the point where you cease to
quote it is, "My terms for these aspects I simply take over unaltered from
the major standard grammars of this century: durative (present and
imperfect tenses); punctiliar (the aorist); and perfective (the perfect and
pluperfect tenses)." You say that I should have said something like, "I am
taking the liberty of presupposing such-and-such an approach to tense and
aspect". Doesn't my comment, which I have just quoted above, amount to
pretty much what you have said I should have said? Or am I missing
something here? Or is my choice of continuing to use terms which are found
in many standard grammars still in wide use the issue which is contoversial?
3. You say, "I doubt you perceive the troublesome implications of the
statement above" (i.e., my statement, which is cited at the head of this
post). Never a truer word was spoke!! I have read your entire post several
times and I still cannot get a hold on the troublesome implications which I
do not perceive. I will be grateful if you would just spell them out for me.
4. You say, "You basically state or restate a controversial theory, build a
system around it, and then let slip a subtle hint that those of us who
disagree with the theory ought not to protest your approach for fear of
rekindling a debate that was put to bed some time ago without resolution
(other than the fact that most of us who were interested agreed to
disagree)." What I THOUGHT I was doing was drawing attention to the fact
that every verb form was going to be either durative, future, punctiliar,
or perfective (to use, as I said, the terms I have taken over from standard
grammars). I then went on to draw attention to (and discuss the
implications of) the fact that two of these subsystems (future and
punctiliar) have specific passive forms, and the other two do not; the
latter take forms which are morphologically middle and use them with
passive meaning, when this is the meaning to be conveyed. I do not
recognize what is the controversial theory which I am stating or restating:
please clarify this for me. Also: which part of my approach is it that you
and others would like to protest, because you disagree with me?
5. You exhort me to "please be a little more careful about what is factual
and what is merely theoretical". Okay, happy to do so. Where and in what
way have I mixed up what is factual and what is merely theoretical?
6. You add, "For that matter, my experience has been that there are several
different ways that the Greek verb can be analyzed and categorized even
within a given syndrome of presuppositions." In my post I went on to
compare forms of the different voices from the four subsystems of durative,
future, punctiliar, and perfective. I am not quite sure what alternative
ways of analyzing and categorizing the Greek verb there are to achieve
this, or what is my given syndrome of presuppositions upon which my
comparisons of forms of the different voices is based. I welcome your
explaining this to me.
7. You tell me, "don't attempt to make villains out of those of us who
might be forced--*very* reluctantly--to resurrect parts of the previous
debate merely in response to your comments". I solemnly assure you, I had
no intention of making any such attempt. Actually, I can't see how I have.
How did I?
8. You conclude, "I don't think you really mean to put us in that position, so
a little more foresight on your part would be appreciated." The first part
of your comment is true, and if I missed out on courtesy through a
shortfall of foresight (for which I apologize), perhaps I can in some
measure make up for it in hindsight.
I am sure in your reply you can state the issues without entering into
arguing a case. I will appreciate hearing from you.
Rev Dr B. Ward Powers Phone (International): 61-2-9799-7501
10 Grosvenor Crescent Phone (Australia): (02) 9799-7501
SUMMER HILL NSW 2130 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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