Pang: Revisiting Aspect and Aktionsart

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Eeli Kaikkonen
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Pang: Revisiting Aspect and Aktionsart

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » June 20th, 2017, 4:35 am

Does somebody know about this: https://domainthirtythree.com/2017/06/2 ... rill-2016/ ? Does it apply modern linguistic knowledge and understanding of Aktionsart to Koine or does it try to create a new corner case which wouldn't be acceptable to typologists and other linguists? Or something between?

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Pang: Revisiting Aspect and Aktionsart

Post by Jonathan Robie » June 20th, 2017, 8:12 am

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
June 20th, 2017, 4:35 am
Does somebody know about this: https://domainthirtythree.com/2017/06/2 ... rill-2016/ ? Does it apply modern linguistic knowledge and understanding of Aktionsart to Koine or does it try to create a new corner case which wouldn't be acceptable to typologists and other linguists? Or something between?
I have not read the book, and I have not read his papers that carefully, but you can find three of his papers on Aktionsart here:

https://macdiv.academia.edu/FrancisPang

Judging by those papers, I would expect that he takes a largely SFL (Systemic Functional Linguistics) approach, and that he sees Aktionsart in terms of the meaning of the entire clause, not merely the verb. But it's quite possible that his views have changed since writing these papers. Especially since the papers seem to be largely literature reviews that say that corpora should be used to do more research, and the book seems to be saying that some of this work has now been done.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stephen Carlson
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Re: Pang: Revisiting Aspect and Aktionsart

Post by Stephen Carlson » June 21st, 2017, 1:31 am

I just got the book, skimmed it briefly on its methodology, and I can offer only some initial impressions. His bibliography of the aspect literature seems fairly well-stocked, but I haven't yet evaluated his understanding of the literature but I am impressed of the breadth of the reading.

A large part of the argument is that he can't find statistical evidence of a "correlation" between telicity (mainly by looking at prefixed verbs) and perfectivity (i.e., the aorist). Although I have do have a background in statistics, for the life of me I have little idea what he's doing or why he made the choices he made.

For example, he does not actually calculate a "correlation" in the technical sense. Instead he calculates a z-score (which should be pretty easy to calculate), but this assumes a normal distribution which may or may not be OK. Somewhat better is the occasional use of the chi-square statistic, but this seems to have only a secondary use in his method. There's no discussion of the appropriateness of these statistics for the distribution, nor does he justify his choice of statistic. (Based on my reading of the literature, I would prefer a Fisher-Yates Exact test instead.) He also does not show his work in that he does not step us through a calculation where he estimates the population mean and variance. I assume it's OK but hard to double check.

More troubling is that it looks like he ended up going with an underpowered statistic (though there is no analysis of its statistical power in the book), so I don't find it surprising that he failed to find statistical significance with the particular tool he chose.

As for his ultimate conclusion is somewhat at odds with the current state of the art on aspectuality, I doubt that a corpus study with a fairly unsophisticated, if not primitive, use of statistics will change the needle very much.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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RandallButh
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Re: Pang: Revisiting Aspect and Aktionsart

Post by RandallButh » June 21st, 2017, 9:06 am

נשמע כבזבוז זמן

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Pang: Revisiting Aspect and Aktionsart

Post by Jonathan Robie » June 21st, 2017, 9:28 am

I asked Francis if he can weigh in here before Stephen's post. I don't have access to the book.
Stephen Carlson wrote:
June 21st, 2017, 1:31 am
A large part of the argument is that he can't find statistical evidence of a "correlation" between telicity (mainly by looking at prefixed verbs) and perfectivity (i.e., the aorist).
What correlation was he looking for? What would that correlation have demonstrated? Does he give examples?
Stephen Carlson wrote:
June 21st, 2017, 1:31 am
Based on my reading of the literature, I would prefer a Fisher-Yates Exact test instead.
What would you have tested? I'm wondering if this is the kind of things I can test with corpora I have. There are enough moving parts in many sentences that simple tests that are sufficient for Aktionsart / Aspect require very careful design - what correlations would be meaningful, and why? On the other hand, just saying "it's complicated" doesn't really tell you much. And you do want the corpora to tell you if your theory holds water.

Are there statistical corpus-based results that you prefer for Aktionsart / Aspect?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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Re: Pang: Revisiting Aspect and Aktionsart

Post by Stephen Carlson » June 21st, 2017, 12:27 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
June 21st, 2017, 9:28 am
I asked Francis if he can weigh in here before Stephen's post. I don't have access to the book.
Are the following question yours or his?
Jonathan Robie wrote:
June 21st, 2017, 9:28 am
Stephen Carlson wrote:
June 21st, 2017, 1:31 am
A large part of the argument is that he can't find statistical evidence of a "correlation" between telicity (mainly by looking at prefixed verbs) and perfectivity (i.e., the aorist).
What correlation was he looking for? What would that correlation have demonstrated? Does he give examples?
It's clear to me he's using "correlation" in a loose, non-technical sense of "relationship" since the technical sense does not make sense for what he's doing, nor does he calculate it but something else. Because of that, I can't answer your questions.
Jonathan Robie wrote:
June 21st, 2017, 9:28 am
Stephen Carlson wrote:
June 21st, 2017, 1:31 am
Based on my reading of the literature, I would prefer a Fisher-Yates Exact test instead.
What would you have tested? I'm wondering if this is the kind of things I can test with corpora I have. There are enough moving parts in many sentences that simple tests that are sufficient for Aktionsart / Aspect require very careful design - what correlations would be meaningful, and why? On the other hand, just saying "it's complicated" doesn't really tell you much. And you do want the corpora to tell you if your theory holds water.
I don't think you can test this on your corpus. The syntactic part is easy: just look to see if the verb stem is aorist or not. The semantic part is hard: construe the various tokens for telicity. That's not encoded in your syntax trees.
Jonathan Robie wrote:
June 21st, 2017, 9:28 am
Are there statistical corpus-based results that you prefer for Aktionsart / Aspect?
My critique here is methodological. I haven't decided yet whether the issue is something that can be meaningfully tested on a corpus. For example, some theories call aspect an operator that maps from Aktionsart (actionality) to Aktionsart. What would a corpus study tell us about that understanding of aspect?
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Pang: Revisiting Aspect and Aktionsart

Post by Jonathan Robie » June 21st, 2017, 1:24 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
June 21st, 2017, 9:28 am
Are the following question yours or his?
Mine. He said he would weigh in later this week.
Stephen Carlson wrote:
June 21st, 2017, 1:31 am
It's clear to me he's using "correlation" in a loose, non-technical sense of "relationship" since the technical sense does not make sense for what he's doing, nor does he calculate it but something else. Because of that, I can't answer your questions.
OK. Obviously, I was thinking of it in the technical sense.
Stephen Carlson wrote:
June 21st, 2017, 1:31 am
I don't think you can test this on your corpus. The syntactic part is easy: just look to see if the verb stem is aorist or not. The semantic part is hard: construe the various tokens for telicity. That's not encoded in your syntax trees.
I often have to add something to ask interesting questions, but I agree that the semantic part is hard. And I'm not sure that a single lexeme always has the same telicity, which makes it harder - "walked in the garden" versus "walked to the store".
Stephen Carlson wrote:
June 21st, 2017, 1:31 am
My critique here is methodological. I haven't decided yet whether the issue is something that can be meaningfully tested on a corpus. For example, some theories call aspect an operator that maps from Aktionsart (actionality) to Aktionsart. What would a corpus study tell us about that understanding of aspect?
I have the same methodological question. A lot of this boils down to testable assertions that include all the relevant factors. But it's also important to have theories that are falsifiable - absence of evidence is not evidence of absence and all that.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

MAubrey
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Re: Pang: Revisiting Aspect and Aktionsart

Post by MAubrey » June 21st, 2017, 3:37 pm

I will just add that Francis is a stand up and thoughtful guy. His book is on my reading list for the summer/fall.
Mike Aubrey, Linguist
Koine-Greek.com

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Pang: Revisiting Aspect and Aktionsart

Post by Jonathan Robie » June 21st, 2017, 3:51 pm

MAubrey wrote:
June 21st, 2017, 3:37 pm
I will just add that Francis is a stand up and thoughtful guy. His book is on my reading list for the summer/fall.
I agree - I know him mainly from discussions on treebanking and tooling at SBL conferences and various discussions in between. I'm interested to hear what he says about his methodology. Adding a book on aspect and aktionsart to this year's reading list is just not going to happen, but I'm interested in the discussion.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Pang: Revisiting Aspect and Aktionsart

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » June 21st, 2017, 6:56 pm

Thanks for the discussion so far and to Jonathan for the link. I just read Aspect and Aktionsart Once Again. In short: I was pleased.

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