[b-greek] Re: In response to Aspectual only change

From: Alan B. Thomas (a_b_thomas@yahoo.com)
Date: Tue Nov 14 2000 - 14:43:42 EST


You said:

I hope that no one is suggesting that Greek changed
from an[d] ancient, tense+aspect to Hellenisitc,
aspect only to modern, tense+aspect...

If one accepts Porter's proposition that Hellenistic
Greek was Aspectual ONLY, then your logical conclusion
above would indeed have to be the case. As I indicated
earlier, Aristotle did indeed define his verbal system
as including a temporal (CRONOS) quality. And Modern
Greek is without dispute aspectual/temporal or

Here is my take on why there is confusion. Each writer
of ancient Greek, just like writers today, had their
own personal style. One might express himself more
from an aspectual viewpoint, while another more from a
temporal viewpoint. And of course, some use both
aspectual and temporal. To me the problem is drawing a
"universal" conclusion based on how "some" ancient
Greek writers used their language. (Consider the
differences between the Gospel writers alone!)

Like Modern Greek, ancient and Hellenistic Greeks were
most capable of adaptability and flexibility to the
individual writers. (I think the spoken language was
probably far more temporal than aspectual, while the
written language was more aspectual than temporal. The
ancient Greek written language was more an Art than a

I really wonder just how much influence the competing
dialects in ancient Greek affected the "thought
process" of writers of the other dialects. Although
Aristotle wrote in Attic, his readers would have had
very diverse backgrounds.

One other very small "correction" regarding what you
said, I believe that most would hold that Ancient
Greek was aspect+tense (not vice versa). Modern Greek
could go either way.


Alan B. Thomas

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     first create the universe."

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