"Aspect-only" (Split from Rijksbaron 01: Note 1)

"Aspect-only" (Split from Rijksbaron 01: Note 1)

Postby Stephen Carlson » June 2nd, 2012, 11:34 am

I've recently come to the conclusion that we should avoid the term "aspect-only"-- and I’ve been guilty of that myself. Nobody is truly “aspect-only” because everyone recognizes that the difference between the present and imperfect is not aspectual but based on some other feature, whether the traditional tense, the newer remoteness, or something else. In fact, Porter avoids tense in his verbal system by positing +expectation for the future and +remoteness for the imperfect. So instead of an aspect-tense system, Porter has an aspect-expectation-remoteness system.

Time for a shave!
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Re: 01: Note 1

Postby Jonathan Robie » June 2nd, 2012, 3:19 pm

Any attempt to give an overview of all the different views would be much more complex. Especially if it also attempted to show why one view is superior to another.

Perhaps in an appendix? Or perhaps it would be better to simply acknowledge that there are other views out there, without going into them?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: 01: Note 1

Postby RandallButh » June 3rd, 2012, 3:09 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:I've recently come to the conclusion that we should avoid the term "aspect-only"-- and I’ve been guilty of that myself. Nobody is truly “aspect-only” because everyone recognizes that the difference between the present and imperfect is not aspectual but based on some other feature, whether the traditional tense, the newer remoteness, or something else. In fact, Porter avoids tense in his verbal system by positing +expectation for the future and +remoteness for the imperfect. So instead of an aspect-tense system, Porter has an aspect-expectation-remoteness system.

Time for a shave!


Stephen, I sympathize with an attempt for more precision. But replacing 'tense' with 'expectation' and 'remoteness' basically means adding two poorly conceived and poorly defined 'zero' terms into a description that is supposed to summarize an idea and to get someone into the general semantic domain where discussions are taking place. 'tense' is much better for this.

So I would be happy with expanding a description of a Porterite system as "aspect only--without tense". That gets the gist across accurately, although someone may object that Porterites sometimes use the term "tense" to refer to a formal category even though those categories are then defined as being without time-referencing tense. The redefinition of 'tense' is their problem, not the rest of the field.

For over 2000 years and including the present era, time has been seen by users of Greek as included in the indicative verbs. Stating a temporal perspective clearly is what Rijksbaron did and the whole point of annoting Rijksbaron is to start with a write-up that is basically pointed in the right direction. Deviancies can be footnoted, fine, but the problem with so many of these discussions is that the 'muddledness of remoteness' ends up the point of discussion rather than the clarity of tense.
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Re: 01: Note 1

Postby RandallButh » June 3rd, 2012, 3:50 am

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:I would love to see even one scholarly (officially peer-reviewed) article which criticizes the tensless view systematically, from all viewpoints. An edited volume with several articles by several authors would be even better. But that's a bit offtopic.


That was what the Carson volume (1993?) could have been. Carson fumbled the football. On purpose?!
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Re: 01: Note 1

Postby Stephen Carlson » June 4th, 2012, 10:40 pm

RandallButh wrote:Stephen, I sympathize with an attempt for more precision. But replacing 'tense' with 'expectation' and 'remoteness' basically means adding two poorly conceived and poorly defined 'zero' terms into a description that is supposed to summarize an idea and to get someone into the general semantic domain where discussions are taking place. 'tense' is much better for this.


I'm not disagreeing. Perhaps calling Porter's system "tense-less" is more to the point than "aspect-only" because there has to be a non-aspectual difference between the present and imperfect. Porter denies that tense the distinction and offers something else (which had once been proposed for English but,as far as I can tell, no longer accepted).
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Re: 01: Note 1

Postby RandallButh » June 5th, 2012, 2:36 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
RandallButh wrote:Stephen, I sympathize with an attempt for more precision. But replacing 'tense' with 'expectation' and 'remoteness' basically means adding two poorly conceived and poorly defined 'zero' terms into a description that is supposed to summarize an idea and to get someone into the general semantic domain where discussions are taking place. 'tense' is much better for this.


I'm not disagreeing. Perhaps calling Porter's system "tense-less" is more to the point than "aspect-only" because there has to be a non-aspectual difference between the present and imperfect. Porter denies that tense the distinction and offers something else (which had once been proposed for English but,as far as I can tell, no longer accepted).


"Remoteness" is "as far as I can tell, no longer accepted" would also fit wider Greek studies.
What is it about 100% past-referencing imperfect that Porterites don't like?

Yes, "tense-less" is a good label, and better than "aspect-only" in regards to present/imperfect. However, Porterites wiggle with the term "tense" to mean a form, where 'aspect-only' does not allow that wiggle room. I'm happy with both, properly defined.
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Re: 01: Note 1

Postby Stephen Carlson » June 5th, 2012, 7:54 am

Normally, I don't like using privation to define positions (e.g. I'm not "anti-Q"), but in this case the one thing that seems to unite the various Porteresque views on the Greek verb is that it does not grammaticalize tense but something(s) else. So, for me, "tense-less" does fine. There is a slight complication, even here, because someone like Con Campbell admits tense for the future. (Did I just talk myself out of this term?...)
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Re: 01: Note 1

Postby Ken M. Penner » June 5th, 2012, 8:12 am

RandallButh wrote:What is it about 100% past-referencing imperfect that Porterites don't like?

IIRC, the problem is its use in counterfactual/unreal conditions. They are "remote" from reality (Smyth §2292).
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Re: 01: Note 1

Postby RandallButh » June 5th, 2012, 8:34 am

Ken M. Penner wrote:
RandallButh wrote:What is it about 100% past-referencing imperfect that Porterites don't like?

IIRC, the problem is its use in counterfactual/unreal conditions. They are "remote" from reality (Smyth §2292).


Thank you, Ken.
Yes, there are always the non-indicative indicatives to talk about. Some people delete them from statistical counts.
Logically, a condition that was not fulfilled can still function in the past. And, past unfulfilment can even become omnitemporal unffulfilment.
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Re: 01: Note 1

Postby Stephen Carlson » June 5th, 2012, 9:36 am

English also uses the past in counterfactual contexts. "I wish I knew the answer!" is actually a statement about the present, despite the use of the preterite "knew."
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