Re: Pragmatic/Semantic

From: Dale M. Wheeler (
Date: Wed Mar 18 1998 - 13:59:21 EST

Rod Decker said:
>Rolf said,
>>I think the same model can be applied exclusively to verbs, to their
>>Aktionsart (lexical meaning) versus aspect. The Aktionsart of a verb is
>>semantic and uncancellable; in most verbs is it durative. Because the verbs
>>are the backbone of any situation of communication, languages like Greek
>>and Hebrew have grammaticalized a mechanism to *make* particular sides of
>>the action *visible* to the reader, namely aspect. If aspect is viewed this
>>way- and here I differ from Mari - then aspects are wholly pragmatic and
>>not semantic. This means that characteristics such as durative, punctiliar,
>>complete(d), incomplete, and even *ongoing*, are exclusively reserved for
>>Aktionsart, and aspect is just a devise to make visible a part of what
>Interesting that this suggestion is exactly opposite what most whom I read
>during diss. research would say. It is my impression that when this issue
>is discussed (not often enough!) that the aspect is viewed as semantic and
>Aktionsart as pragmatic.

I think this is the reason I'm having trouble following some of the things
your saying Rod, I think we are using the terms Aktionsart and aspect
backwards of each other ?!

I was under the impression that the linguistic folks had settled on
Aktionsart as the type of action contained (and thus uncancellable) within
the verb itself (its "functional" lexis), and that aspect was used to
refer to the specific nuance brought out by the tense form (the
grammaticalization of the verb). Is that backwards from what you are
saying is your experience in the literature ??

Or am I just hopelessly confused ?????


Dale M. Wheeler, Ph.D.
Research Professor in Biblical Languages Multnomah Bible College
8435 NE Glisan Street Portland, OR 97220
Voice: 503-251-6416 FAX:503-254-1268 E-Mail:

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:39:16 EDT