Re: (longish) The Mysterious Disappearance of Verb Aspect

From: Rolf Furuli (
Date: Sun Apr 12 1998 - 13:13:43 EDT writes:

>The mixture in Greek of time and aspect does need to be understood.


>Am I missing something BIG here?? [I am fully capable of such error ~
>Trust me...]

Dear George,

I do not think we should pursue the aspect/Aktionsart/tense discussion much
longer. We have had
similar discussions before and many list-members do not appreciate them as
much as you do. It is fine to see that you work zelaously with the Greek
language and that you are eager to adjust your views when you get more
data. You tell that you have worked with this stuff for just a few months,
and therefore I have a few suggestions:

(1) Regarding Greek tense and aspect, do not trust your common sense -
because it is born English.

(2) Look at the Archives, find all the earlier postings on aspect and study

(3) Get your hand on the book: B.M. Fanning, 1990, "Verbal Aspect in New
Testament Greek" and study it thoroughly. His treatment of aspect and
Aktionsart (pp 1-85) is the clearest I have ever seen, and the rest of the
book is also valuable.

(4) Study the difference between "complete" and "completed" as they are
used in grammatical discussions. Two fine books to achieve this are both
written by Bernard Comrie, "Aspect An Introduction to Verbal Aspect and
Related Problems", 1976, and "Tense", 1985. Comrie is not reliable as far
as Greek aspect is concerned, but the books can help you to learn more
about several fundamental linguistic terms.

I do not mean to discourage you from posting to the list, to the contrary,
but my intuition tells me that we should concentrate on the Greek text much
more than on theoretical questions.


Rolf Furuli
Lecturer in Semtitic Languages
University of Oslo

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