Aspect and Actionsart Distinction (was: aorist tense)

Date: Wed Oct 21 1998 - 13:01:39 EDT

> > Clayton Stirling Bartholomew states, Ed Gorham wrote:

> > *------------*, is one who makes an excellent
> > argument for the coexistence of Aktionsart and aspect, trying to use both
> > understandings to get to an accruate, workable translation.

Clayton Stirling Bartholomew responded:

> Isn't this simply an example of the postmodern fear of antithesis?
> Let's just accept all the options without ruling out any of them.

This is an unfair response Gorham's statement about Wallace. Though common
traits of postmodernism are acceptance and harmonization, I do not believe
that attempting to account for two linguistic phenomena is necessarily "an
example of the postmodern fear of antithesis." Many linguists see a
legitimate distinction between aspect and Aktionsart and also see both as part
of a single linguistic system. See for example, Comrie's footnote 4 in
*Aspect* (Cambridge, 1976), 6-7. Of course, if one's system of aspect
includes different "types" of aspect and thus classifies what is commonly
called Aktionsart as "lexical aspect" then the difference is only one of
terminology (see for example, Olsen, *Semantic and Pragmatic Model . . .*,
[Garland, 1997], 8-11; or Hewson and Bubenik, *Tense and Aspect in Indo-
European Languages* [John Benjamins, 1997], 15-17).

Joe Fantin

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