[b-greek] Re: Prototype theory

From: Rodney J. Decker (rdecker@bbc.edu)
Date: Tue Mar 06 2001 - 11:31:37 EST

At 06:13 PM 3/6/01 +0200, you wrote:
>I am not sure how much this helps. Probably still muddy.

It helps a great deal. Thanks.

>is not unrelated to the first. Yet, because the overwhelming majority of
>aorist indicatives are past, there is some pastness in the meaning of
>the aorist, which may be cancelable. In a neutral context (if there is
>no indication otherwise) it is considered past. Yet perfectivity is more
>central, because the temporal meaning can be canceled, but not

I think my response, if I understand this prototype theory (PT) correctly,
is to suggest that I am saying something quite similar though with
different categories. (I suspect that is often the case when different
linguistic systems are employed.) Your explanation does not use the
terminology semantics vs. pragmatics. (Does PT include such?) I understand
"semantics" to refer to those elements of meaning that *cannot* be
cancelled, whereas *pragmatics* incorporates contextual factors/usage that
*can* be cancelled. Thus I would argue that perfectivity (aspect) is the
semantic value--in your terms, the more central meaning that cannot be
canceled. The temporal reference of, say, the aorist indicative--which
certainly *is* most commonly past time (I have no argument there)--is a
pragmatic factor. Semantics and pragmatics often do overlap. The imperfect
form is undoubtedly the best example where, at least in its temporal
references, is nearly always past.

Rodney J. Decker, Th.D. Baptist Bible Seminary
Assoc. Prof./NT PO Box 800, Clarks Summit, PA 18411
rdecker@bbc.edu http://faculty.bbc.edu/rdecker/
XNS Universal Address: =RodDecker
The *Resources for NT Study* site is accessible at:

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