Re: Present Tense by Wheeler

Date: Tue Oct 19 1999 - 18:28:16 EDT

Actually, verbal aspect states that the present tense is imperfective in
aspect. Imperfective refers to seeing the action as ongoing rather than in
its entirety which is perfective aspect/aorist tense or stative
aspect/perfect tense. The problem with seeing the present tense as occurring
in a present time is that it doesn't always work.

For example,
Mark 11:27 is present in form, past referring.
Matt 26:18 is present in form, future referring.
Matt 7:19 is present in form but is probably omnitemporal/proverbial.
2 Cor 9:7 is present in form but is timeless.

If the present tense form showed that the action was occurring in a present
time, then why the references to other times using the same forms? It is
better to see the present tense as describing the kind of action (Aktionsart)
rather than a time. But Aktionsart as described by many grammarians is the
action as objectively perceived. But there are problems with this as well,
and it is better to see the present tense as describing progressive action as
portrayed by the speaker/writer.

Further, Porter, Verbal Aspect, against tense usage being dependent on lexis

Stephen Pegler
Bannockburn, IL

<< > 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 >>

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