RE: Tense and Aspect Definitions

From: Moon-Ryul Jung (
Date: Tue Mar 09 1999 - 23:21:03 EST

Dear Rolf,

I enjoy reading your post very much. Thanks.
Let me ask some clarifying questions about your "subjective aspect".

Rolf wrote:
> me conclude with an example for the consideration of those interested,
> namely Jude 1:14:
> This is a prophecy which must refer to the future. How should we translate
> HLQEN? I agree with Mari that aorist is not a past tense but only the
> perfective aspect. If now, we view aspect as semantic, and aorist is
> perfective with RT intersecting ET at the coda, there is just one way to
> translate HLQEN, namely as a future perfect "the Lord will have come with
> his holy myriads".

However, if we view aspect as subjective, we could
> either translate the clause as future "the Lord will come with his holy
> myriads"

I do not understand your reasoning behind this statement. It means that I
 do not understand what you mean by "subjective aspect".

But let me try to understand you. The "objective aspect" of aorist would
say that the RT intersects the ET at the end of the ET. Whereas, the
aspect" would say that the RT may intersect the ET at any place, e.g.
before the ET. Right? But why is one objective whereas the other is

Aspect system as a whole is subjective in that it is used to depict the
situation subjectively. But do you mean that the aspect of simple past is
objective in that the relationship between the ET and the RT is
fixed, in contrast to the aspect of aorist?

But consider the following text:

After supper, Tom and Judy sat down in the living room. Tom read a
article about East Asia, Judy watched her favorite cartoon on television.
Suddenly the doorbell rang.

Before reading "Suddenly the doorbell rang", the reader might have
thought that the RT of Tom's reading a magazine intersects the ET
at its end. But when they read "Suddenly the doorbell rang", it is obvious
that the RT of "Tom read a magazine article about East Asia"
lies in the middle of Tom's reading a magazine. Tom did not finish

So we might be able to say that the aspect of English simple past is also


Moon-Ryul Jung
Assistant Professor
Dept of Computer Science
Soongsil University,
Seoul, Korea

or as future perfect "the Lord will have come with his holy
> myriads", or perhaps even as past tense (provided we signal a retrospective
> viewpoint) "The Lord came with his holy myriads.". But how many thinks of
> the subjective/objective nature of aspect when doing translating work? So
> fellow students of Greek: Become absorbed in the question about whether
> there is a particular relationship between aspect and time!
> Regards
> Rolf
> Rolf Furuli
> Lecturer in Semitic languages
> University of Oslo

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