Stephen Carlson wrote:The problem I'm having with BPP is that they have a pretty good and clear description of completives. I've read it several times, and I think I understand it. My problem? It seems to have almost nothing to do with you mean by completives. You seem to be using the terms as a generic emphatic form or something. (I'm really having a hard time getting a handle on your sense of the term.) That's my frustration.
Then maybe the issue is simple that we're reading BPP differently. I am most certainly not using the term as a generic emphatic. All this time I had been under the impression that I was directly following the description of BPP. To the extent that BPP talks about completives involves the performance of an event completely exhaustively
, or thoroughly
, the idea of "emphasis" rather readily arises. I can only assume you didn't seen that in BPP like I did, perhaps?
I'm wondering, when you look at the example BPP give for completives, which ones don't fit with the Greek perfect in your mind?
Stephen Carlson wrote:I'd like to hear more about this distributional argument. (You've told me about a small class of verbs.) Based on my reading of the literature, I know that the anterior permits use with a greater class of verbs than the resultative. I also recognize that the anterior did not become fully productive in classical Greek but has a limited distribution (assuming that it existed), so that the distributional argument at best tells me that the Greek perfect did not fully grammaticalize to the anterior (which is my position); it doesn't refute that the anterior existed in a more limited form.
I'd hardly consider activity predicates and semelfactives "a small class of verbs."
Stephen Carlson wrote:It's news to me, however, that Greek does not allow for atelic perfects. Am I reading you right? There are perfects with state verbs (e.g. 2 Cor 1:9 ἀλλὰ αὐτοὶ ἐν ἑαυτοῖς τὸ ἀπόκριμα τοῦ θανάτου ἐσχήκαμεν, where the sentence of death wasn't carried out or still in existence; John 1:32 τεθέαμαι τὸ πνεῦμα; 1 John 1:1 ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν) and activity verbs (John 8:33 οὐδενὶ δεδουλεύκαμεν πώποτε; John 12:29 ἄγγελος αὐτῷ λελάληκεν). We also have our good friend κέκραγεν in John 1:15. Are what I have labelled "states" and "activities" really telic? Or is your argument that they aren't perfect=resultative because they are really completive or involve negative polarity cases?
I should have rephrased. I meant: dynamic
atelic predicates. I assumed that you already knew from our past conversations that I wasn't talking about states. My mistake. I'm also not denying anything is resultative. Everything that you think is resultative I likely view as resultative as well. Its just that where you're arguing "resultative-anterior," I'm arguing "resultative-completive." For John 12:29, I don't understand why you think its an activity. There's been a clear change of state (=telic). The same goes for κέκραγεν. Did not John cry out something specific and referential? If it did, then its telic...even if we accept these perfects as involving an imperfective mismatch.
This isn't to say that there isn't residue. I have maybe five dynamic atelic predicates. All of which we've talked about already in e-mail, I think. But the reside is so dramatically small in comparison to the rest that I
As for negative polarity, that's another interesting distributional test for perfects and how they interact with activity predicates. There are three types of negation typologically, each defined on the basis of their scope:
(1) Nuclear Negation (Henry un
did all of Suzie's efforts in less than an hour).
(2) Core Negation (Who ).
(3) Clause Negation (Henry did not work today).
The first is expressed lexically in both English and Greek, so its not relevant here, but the second two are highly relevant. Core negation, the negation of an argument, allows for an activity (dynamic & atelic) predicate to stay an activity predicate, but clause negation (the negation of the proposition as a whole) changes an activity predicate into a state. All the way back to Vendler, the basis distinction betwen states and non-states (i.e. static and dynamic predicates) has been that only the latter (non-states) can function to answer the question "What happened?" But a negated proposition is, by defintion, a non-happening
. "Henry did not work today" is a state. We have been slaves to no one ever is a state. It does not answer "what happened." It cannot be done "vigorously" or "quickly."
All in all, if dynamic atelic predicates can be made perfects, then it should be possible to negate an argument rather than the entire proposition. I'm yet to have seen that. So that's another test (alongside what kinds of arguments can be questioned in perfects...which we talked about previously).
Now, as for John 8:33, you might be quick to point out that this clause is: καὶ οὐδενὶ δεδουλεύκαμεν πώποτε, and thus technically means: "We have been slaves to no one ever" rather than "We have not been slaves to anyone ever." Surely that's the negation of an argument, rather than of the clause. No, οὐδενὶ is not the negation of an argument it is a negative argument and negative arguments (i.e. lexical negation rather than grammatical) make a clause propositionally identical to clause negation and thus this clause is a state, rather than an activity. And as a state, it also happens to work as a nice example of BPP's discussion of states predicates.
Stephen Carlson wrote:Yeah, I'm getting the impression that what you feel about my use of "anterior" is how I feel about your use of "completive" ...
Well, I'll be the first to admit that I've struggled to understand how you've used a numerous terms (our lengthy back and forth about "experiential perfect" comes to mind.
Stephen Carlson wrote:Well, it can be sometimes hard to distinguish between the meaning that the gram is contributing and what the context is contributing. I think the current relevance of the anterior is what invites the reader to make this inference from the context. As for the completive, I just would like any example of a completive speech act in any language working this way. The scare quotes around "completely" suggests to me that another metaphor is at work.
Of course! That's what language is: a huge pile of metaphors. Take those out and there's no language change, no grammaticalization, no semantic extension, no bleaching, and most importantly, no communication at all. Metaphor is the foundation all of meaning.
Stephen Carlson wrote:Yeah, I think we're in agreement that the bulk of the ancient Greek perfects are resultative. Where we are disagreement for the moment is how to characterize the rump. Perhaps we're both fishing for the right characterization, but I'm saying "anterior" and you're saying "completive." (By the way, BPP have another development, from resultative to "evidential." Have you considered that?)
There's nothing particularly evidential
about Greek's perfect.
Stephen Carlson wrote:Yes, my working hypothesis is that we are seeing a limited movement of the Greek perfect into the anterior with situations that are irresultative "cycles" (i.e, bounded states or activities), or have a result state that has not persisted to the temporal frame of reference (which can be a telic event reinterpreted as a cycle). Why do I chose anterior for these cases? For me, it is because (1) the semantics work fine,
I'm yet to have found a discussion of anteriors as involving telicity restrictions for dynamic predicates. That's my beef: the semantics don't work fine. I never even gave "completive" a thought until *after* I began seeing that. In fact, I had simply skimmed over the completive discussion entirely before that point. I had simply assumed resultative to anterior. And I'm inclined to wonder if that's what most people have been doing.
Stephen Carlson wrote:(2) it is in the path of evolution of these grams, and
This is true. This is the strongest point and one I keep coming back to.
Stephen Carlson wrote:(3) several scholars (many of whom are not native English speakers) have argued for this with examples I've found compelling.
They are non-native speakers, yes, but first, as far as I'm aware, they all speak languages that have the very same areal feature of a possessive perfect as English and secondly, they're all relying what I would view as a highly problematic tradition cognitively and methodologically. I'd be more interested if there were people writing about Ancient Greek whose native language was Welsh or Russian--languages whose verbal systems has rejected the possessive future despite its areal dominance because of linguistic compatibility.
Stephen Carlson wrote:For completives, my problems are (1) the semantics seem to need a metaphorical extension,
That's a very odd objection to my eyes...semantics *is* metaphoric extension. I'm wondering how you expect a resultative to turn into a anterior without metaphor. Analogy, generalization, bleaching, those are all types of metaphor.
Stephen Carlson wrote:(2) on the grammaticalization cline, it is swimming upstream, and
Which cline are you talking about? The one on BPP, 105, that fails to account for those langauges that have both a resultative and a completive meaning? (I'll have access to grammars on Nakanai and Buriat soon, btw, and I just noticed on Table 3.5 that Tucano has both resultative and completive usages, too). That particular chart isn't based on all their data. It's based on a subset of languages that are thoroughly documented in their history. Its useful
Stephen Carlson wrote:(3) it is exotic.
The problem is that if you want one thing to be exotic, then really, just about any linguistic feature can be considered exotic. Is it a numbers thing? How many languages would BPP need to list over their 35 to make the category non-exotic? Or is it because it isn't a standard term? If you look at the tables beginning of page 295 of BPP, you'll see that most completives aren't called completives in any case from Past, to Perfective, to Perfective, Emphatic Particle, Emotive are all labels used for what BPP call completives.
All in all, if those are your problems, I think we're doing pretty well.
But there's a lot here. Maybe we can pick one or two pieces and work through that instead of doing everything at once. I think we're going to get lost in this thread otherwise.