Re: Present Tense

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (
Date: Tue Oct 19 1999 - 14:05:40 EDT

>From: "Dale M. Wheeler" <>

> What I'd like to suggest is that the Present Tense really is a ZERO tense;
> it is neither linear or compressed or combined or anything. All it tells
> us is that the action is being *portrayed* as occurring in a present time
> frame (in the indicative). Whatever "aspect" (technically, since its not in
> the tense its the Aktionsart, but I hope you get my meaning) any particular
> use of a verb in the present tense has comes first of all from the word's
> lexical meaning (lexis); viz., "to run" is inherently linear; "to hit" is
> inherently punctiliar; "to shut" is inherently a combined/climax; etc. (for
> this in detail see Fanning, Verbal Aspect). Secondly, contextual factors
> are used to further indicate the ultimate Aktionsart in any given passage,
> esp., when the author wishes to convey a different Aktionsart than the
> verb's Lexis; viz., in English to make the linear "to run" into a
> compressed Aktionsart we use the simple present "He runs" instead of the
> progressive "He is running"; in Greek, since there is only ONE Present
> form, they must use other contextual clues to indicate a reversal to the
> Lexis, unless its prefectly obvious.

Assuming I understand what Dale is driving at, I may not, I think I
would applaud the direction he is going in looking away from the form of
the verb for information about the Aktionsart, Aspect etc.

I am increasingly suspicious of all attempts to tie this information to
the formal characteristics of a verb.

Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

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