Verb catalog - lexical aspect

Semantic Range, Lexicography, and other approaches to word meaning - in general, or for particular words.

Verb catalog - lexical aspect

Postby Jonathan Robie » June 8th, 2012, 9:21 am

I could really, really use a verb catalog that gives the lexical aspect for Greek verbs. Even a catalog for the most common 30 verbs would be extremely helpful, I could use it to search for examples to verify various claims that I read.

I think Fanning has such a catalog, and Rijksbaron (1989) probably does too. Is that true? Are there other places I should look?

How hard would it be to pick 30 verbs and test them for lexical aspect features? Which set of features would be most useful? My first shot would be:

+/- telic
+/- stative
+/- dynamic

Should I consider a different set of features instead?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Verb catalog - lexical aspect

Postby Stephen Carlson » June 11th, 2012, 6:48 pm

It is a desideratum for me as well. I've come across a master's thesis from 2009 which claims that only Fanning and Mateos have attempted to classify some Greek verbs in a Vendlerian system.

I suspect that such a project needs to have fairly clear methodological criteria and tests.

I'm also concerned whether a lexeme can have more than one Aktionsart.
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Re: Verb catalog - lexical aspect

Postby MAubrey » June 11th, 2012, 7:44 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:It is a desideratum for me as well. I've come across a master's thesis from 2009 which claims that only Fanning and Mateos have attempted to classify some Greek verbs in a Vendlerian system.

Peter Stork has done some work on this, too in his dissertation/monograph: The aspectual usage of the dynamic infinitive in Herodotus.

Stephen Carlson wrote:I'm also concerned whether a lexeme can have more than one Aktionsart.

I think that for any language, you'll find pretty quickly that there's a need to allow for multiple types for a given lexeme. The standard example for English:

John walked in the park = Activity.
John walked to the store = Accomplishment (or in RRG's revision of Vendler, Active Accomplishment).

With that said, I think that its fairly safe to say that its possible to talk about a basic or default class--in this case, activity.
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Re: Verb catalog - lexical aspect

Postby Stephen Carlson » June 13th, 2012, 1:29 pm

MAubrey wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:I'm also concerned whether a lexeme can have more than one Aktionsart.


With that said, I think that its fairly safe to say that its possible to talk about a basic or default class--in this case, activity.


That's what I was thinking of.
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Re: Verb catalog - lexical aspect

Postby Jonathan Robie » June 14th, 2012, 2:32 pm

OK, I'm going to rush in where angels fear to tread.

Here are some verbs, along with Vendler's categories. Here's my best guess at how to categorize them. I called Stephen Carlson after doing my first take, and he helped me fix a few, and we also decided to merge achievements and accomplishments, since its' often hard to distinguish the two.

Does this classification seem correct? If not, what's wrong with it? What other verbs obviously seem to fit in each of these categories? (I'll propose ~10 new verbs of my own every once in a while.)

As we argue about what fits where, can we develop a methodology for testing verbs?

Once we reach agreement on a useful set of verbs, I'll post it in an appropriate format on the Internet, revising it incrementally as we go.

states, which are static and do not have an endpoint ("know," "love");

ἔχω 708
εἰμί 2462
οἶδα 324
πιστεύω 249

θέλω 208

activities, which are dynamic and do not have an endpoint ("run," "drive");

ὁράω 455
ἀκούω 428
λαλέω 296


accomplishments, which have an endpoint and are incremental or gradual ("paint a picture," "build a house");
achievements, which have an endpoint and occur instantaneously ("recognize," "notice")

λέγω 2357
γινώσκω 242
δίδωμι 417
ποιέω 572
λαμβάνω 258
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Verb catalog - lexical aspect

Postby RickBrannan » June 14th, 2012, 5:42 pm

I'm also fearing to tread, but have a question about οραω.

While it does mean "to see" and I can see how this is an activity; there are also places where it is used to mean something like "understand" or "agree", kind of in the same way as we'd say, "Don't you see?" My quick examples are in the Apostolic Fathers, but i'm sure it happens in the NT too.

1Clem 4.7: "You see [ορατε], brothers, jealousy and envy brought about a brother's murder."

Also 1Cl 10.4; 12.8; 16.11, 17; 23.4; 39.7, 8; 41.4; 44.6; 50.1; 53.3; 60.1. It also happens in Hermas with some frequency.

In the NT, perhaps Mt 24.6 is an example.

Anyway, I write this more to understand the classification, and if the goal is only to have one overriding slot to fit a verb. If so, that's fine. Just trying to wrap my head around what you're proposing.

Thanks!
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Re: Verb catalog - lexical aspect

Postby Jonathan Robie » June 15th, 2012, 9:54 am

Good question, Rick. I'm building bottom-up, starting with the data, and adjusting the classification as we go.

For now, let's try qualifying a verb in cases like this:

states, which are static and do not have an endpoint ("know," "love");

ὁράω (to understand) 455

activities, which are dynamic and do not have an endpoint ("run," "drive");

ὁράω (to see) 455

That may or may not be sufficient, but let's see how far this takes us as we add more verbs. For now, I'd handle Mike's example like this:

activities

walked (in, e.g. walked in the park)

accomplishments

walked (to, e.g. walked to the park)

Does that seem like a good approach? Is there a better one?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Verb catalog - lexical aspect

Postby Stephen Carlson » June 15th, 2012, 10:03 am

Some of those examples of ὁράω, including the one you quoted, 1 Clem 4.7 ὁρᾶτε, almost seem to be relexicalized as interjections, like ἰδού. In these cases, I'm not sure lexical aspect is relevant any longer.

Others seem to be an activity, for example:

1 Clem 10.4 wrote:Ἀναβλέψας τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς σου, ἴδε . . . ὅτι πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν ἣν σὺ ὁρᾷς, σοὶ δώσω αὐτὴν καὶ τῷ σπέρματί σου ἕως αἰῶνος.
Lift up your eyes and see . . . because, all the land you're seeing, I will give it you and to your seed forever.


(I haven't checked all the cited refs.)
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Re: Verb catalog - lexical aspect

Postby RickBrannan » June 15th, 2012, 10:32 am

Stephen & Jonathan --

Thanks for the interaction. First, realize I zapped off my first response in a spare two minutes (literally) before I left the office yesterday because I knew if I didn't do it then, I wouldn't do it.

The reference list from 1Clem probably has some bad examples (results from a hasty search), and I didn't check over all the refs. My primary reason for responding regarding οραω was due to my experience with the verb in the Apostolic Fathers, where it functions somewhat like we use the word "see" in the sense of "understand".

Earlier in the thread, Mike Aubrey wrote about a basic or default class, and I can go with that — I can see how the "understand" could be secondary with "to see" (and hence "activity") as default/basic; much like we have the same in English.

Formally, I know little to nothing about lexical aspect. This was one of those "wait, οραω is used differently than to literally see" moments while trying to understand Jonathan's post. Does anyone have a short definition/explanation of lexical aspect (all these 'aspects' are giving me headaches) to share so I can more fully grok the goal of the list/categorization you propose?

Given the other projects I've got going in the next 3-6 months, I'm going to have to be a follower on these threads. To help me and others, could we try to define basic terms (maybe even a 'terminology' or 'glossary' subforum somewhere?) used by the threads that tend toward the more linguistic side of the discussion?
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Re: Verb catalog - lexical aspect

Postby MAubrey » June 15th, 2012, 10:56 am

The thing is that I don't think οράω should be an activity at all.

If you're going to do this project the first thing you're going to want to do is gather a collection of adverbs for testing collocation. I would anticipate that οράω does not collocate with adverbs like "vigorously" or "quickly" and thus cannot be an activity.
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