re: Greek Grammarians and Aspect

From: Daniel RiaĖo (
Date: Thu Mar 26 1998 - 11:03:12 EST

>>I would appreciate a fundamental question answered about verbal aspect
>>after following the aspect threads for three years. Did not Classical
>>Greek (and Koine) have grammarians of their day and do we not have some
>>of their works? If so, what did they write about aspect, time and tense?
>>How did they define the present "tense?" I would think that their
>>comments would carry a lot of weight in modern definitions of their
>>aspect. Carl? Others? Do not such works exist?
>I would heartily second this request! I also think that very earliest
>grammarians... especially if they are at or close to the time of the NT era
>would provide a context to these subjects that we would not want to ignore.
        I can e-mail the list of all the grammarians included in the TLG #D
prior to s. VI p.C.n. to anyone interested, or to all the List, if the
owner find it may be of general interest (118 names). The most important
are of course Apollonius Dyscolus, Herodianus and Dionysius Thrax.
Apollonius and Dyonisius have been translated several times. Most of the
others are lexicographers or collectors of "rara" and their work has been
preserved most of the times only very fragmentary. Besides, you won't find
a word on Aktionsart in none of them, since it's a recent grammatical
concept: I think it was G. Curtius who defined "Zeitart" (aspect), his
theory later developed by others like R. Jacobson, who separated Aspekt
from Aktionsart.

        One of the best books in Greek aspect is: Sánchez Ruipérez, Martín.
1954. Estructura del sistema de aspectos y tiempos del verbo griego
antiguo. Análisis funcional sincr'onico. Salamanca. There's a 2nd. edition
published by the Fundaci'on Pastor de Estudios Cl'asicos, Madrid, 1991,
ISBN 84-404-8632-4. There's a French translation too (Ed. Les Belles
Lettres, Paris 1982)

        P.D. Somebody asked where could he find Fanning's Verbal Aspect. I
bought mine on a 2nd hand store (but new!) at Unsworth, Rice & Coe in
London for 33'50 BP (still very expensive!). I think they had another
volume on the shop, but that was some months ago.

Daniel Rian~o Rufilanchas
c. Santa Engracia 52, 7 dcha.

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