Date: Sat May 29 1999 - 11:49:27 EDT


In a message dated 5/28/99 11:54:59 PM Mountain Daylight Time, writes:

> I took a look at 16* occurrences of FEUGW in the aorist (any aorist).
> And they all seemed to describe a process. I would suggest that
> "+ process" is simply a semantic feature of the lexeme FEUGW. If this
> is the case then all the argumentation about FEUGW in the aorist, does
> it or does it not mean a process can simply be factored out. The
> tense/aspect issue appears to have no impact on when FEUGW includes the
> the semantic feature "+process."
> This highlights one of the major weaknesses in most of the tense/aspect
> discussion. Everyone on all sides of the issue seem Hades bent on
> loading up the tense/aspect morphological markings with more meaning
> than they can bear.
> A useful exercise to illustrate this point would be to remove all the
> tense/aspect inflection from a long span of NT Greek. Make all the verbs
> present tense. Then see how much difficulty one has understanding what
> the text is saying.
> The example of FEUGW should demonstrate one thing. While doing
> tense/aspect research it is vital to factor in lexical semantics. You
> need take into account of how word meaning impacts to your testing
> model. Otherwise you will run the risk of assigning semantic properties
> to the tense aspect morphological markings which are really semantic
> properties of the lexeme. This kind of error leads to lots of confusion.

I agree with you. It goes without saying this this issue is the reason that
certain theories on aspect are credible. However, if the semantic properties
of process are assigned to tense-aspect morphological markings, then the
resulting theories on aspect will not resolve anything. And furthermore,
such theories tend to be characterized by a proliferation of complicated
exceptions and special categories, for which lexis and context may give

I hope that I didn't give you the impression that I thought otherwise due to
my obscure brevity or perhaps clumsy wording.

Cindy Westfall
PhD Student, Roehampton

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