re: Fundamentally flawed

From: Richard Lindeman (
Date: Wed Mar 25 1998 - 13:51:44 EST

If we don't have a strong context of evidence from the earliest grammarians
for these concepts of Tense, Aspect, Aktionsart, etc... then we certainly
must at least continue to work with the current definitions which we do
have. And we must also work with the contexts that we know about. And that
is exactly what I am trying to do in building a contextual framework of
terminology. I am not at all trying to redefine any of our grammatical
terminology. All I am doing is trying to understand what our present
grammatical concepts mean and how they work *in relationship* to each other.
So what is wrong with that?

This brings me back to the concept of Aktionsart. Is Aktionsart context or
isn't it? Is Aktionsart something that demands our reaction? Because a
table is *Substance* and because *Substance* is context I must react to it
by walking around the table or jumping over it or by ignoring it and then
facing the consequences. And because a turning table saw provides a context
of *Activity*... we must respect it, if for no other reason than for fear
of injury. And as far as *Time* goes, we can try to ignore time but it
will not ignore us.

But what about Aktionsart? Is Aktionsart context? And does it demand our
reaction? Let us for the moment assume that it is and does. *Aktionsart*
as context can then be imagined as a sub-current flowing directly from the
context of human *Thought*. *Thought* flows from the context of *People*.
*People* in turn flow from the contexts of *Time-Activity-Substance*. Wow!
imagine that. If trying to manage the single context of *Time* is something
like trying to drink water out of a fire hydrant... Then what is it like to
try to manage the universal contexts of *Time*, *Activity*, and *Substance*
when these three huge streams of context are merged together? And that is
exactly what happens with people and their thoughts. People are derived
from *Time-Activity-Substance*. They live lives of
*Time-Activity-Substance* and even their very *Thoughts* consist of

But *Aktionsart* is not really an attempt to manage or even understand the
flow of a person's *Thoughts*. That would be impossible to do. Rather
*Aktionsart*, if I understand it correctly, is an attempt to manage just
the single thought of a single person at a single moment in time. In other
words, to try to get a just one single drop from the stream of human
thought. And in doing this it attempts to tap into the flow of
*Time-Activity-Substance* in a systematic way. Now that might very well be
possible to do. I don't know. But if it is possible, then I would agree
that the context of *Aktionsart* could PERHAPS be more powerful than the
gentle stream of context that we call *Aspect*.

But to be honest, I presently have doubts about the power of influence
Aktionsart may have as it relates to Aspect. I still have far too many
questions about the validity of this study. But then again... I have yet to
read Fanning's book and may be converted yet. :-) One huge question I have
is this... Why try to do a microscopic study of a verb in an attempt to get
at a person's thoughts when one can simply look at the larger context of the
verse in it's paragraph to find the same thing?


Rich Lindeman

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