The Cambridge Greek Verb Conference

Stephen Carlson
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The Cambridge Greek Verb Conference

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 3rd, 2015, 10:54 pm

More details about the upcoming conference about the Greek verb in Cambridge is here: http://greekverb.org/
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Jonathan Robie
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Re: The Cambridge Greek Verb Conference

Post by Jonathan Robie » July 4th, 2015, 8:56 am

Wow, a great program with a very impressive list of speakers. Wish I could be there. I've registered to be notified when the proceedings are available.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: The Cambridge Greek Verb Conference

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » July 4th, 2015, 9:21 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:Wow, a great program with a very impressive list of speakers. Wish I could be there. I've registered to be notified when the proceedings are available.
Ditto for everything.

At least three of the speakers have been active in this forum. Mike Aubrey can't advertise his funding campaign here, but I do, without asking permission from anyone. If it's deemed to be inappropriate the moderators can delete this.

Jonathan Robie
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Re: The Cambridge Greek Verb Conference

Post by Jonathan Robie » July 12th, 2015, 4:30 pm

A summaries of the conference: What's Happening with the Greek Verb (Greg Lanier).

Mike's summary is still coming: Two Whirlwind Days of Papers in Cambridge (Mike Aubrey).
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stephen Carlson
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Re: The Cambridge Greek Verb Conference

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 12th, 2015, 10:28 pm

Thanks for posting Lanier's summary. It hits the highlights.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Stephen Carlson
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Re: The Cambridge Greek Verb Conference

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 13th, 2015, 5:49 am

For better or worse, I'd like to comment on Lanier's summary of the speakers, one at time: I realize that my access to what they said is intermediated and may not necessarily reflect what they actually said.
Buist Fanning (Dallas Theological Seminary) – Porter and Fanning on NT Greek Verbal Aspect: Retrospect and Prospect
  1. Contrasts between the two (simplification)
    1. *]View of past scholarship/paradigms: Fanning more appreciative, wants to refine; Porter thinks most are wrong and need revolution (esp. on views of tense and Aktionsart)
    2. System-level vs. specifics: both want a system, but Fanning more interested in local texts/contexts, and Porter more interested in the network-level or model.
  2. Areas of consensus
    1. Verbal aspect is central to understanding Gk verbal meaning
    2. Aspect is a matter of author’s viewpoint (distinct from kind of action / Aktionsart)
    3. Aorist has perfective aspect; Present/Imperfect have imperfective aspect. Future and Perfect are still debated.
    4. Aspect is important to discourse structuring.
1.1 I think the first point gets the relative posture of Fanning and Porter right, though Fanning's terminology (esp. procedural characteristics instead of Aktionsart or actionality) makes him a little idiosyncratic (a common plague in this field). I'm not really aware of how these two have modified their theories since the late 80s when they wrote their dissertations. The field (outside of the NT) has progressed a lot since then, it would be good not to rehash the debate as it stood in 1991 or so.

1.2 I think the characterization of Porter being more interested in network-level or model is a reference to his placement within Systemic Functional linguistics. I think the approaches are more complex than the summary suggests.

2.1 I am willing to agree that verbal aspect is very important; it is encoded on every verbal stem, after all. But I would that the verb's lexical meaning(s) is(/are) probably central. Grammatical aspect interacts with that in interesting ways, but so does voice.

2.2 Viewpoint is one of the common terms now for grammatical aspect. I suspect that this summary as written is either tautological for those who see "viewpoint" as a term of art or somewhat confusing or vague (if not misleading) for those who don't.

2.3 Agreed on the state of the debate on the aorist, present, etc.

2.4 I agree that aspect plays some role in discourse; what I would like to see more of how different discourse type have different demands on the aspect system.

Having heard Fanning before, i feel his comments here are consistent with what he's been saying for 25 years.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: The Cambridge Greek Verb Conference

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 13th, 2015, 6:56 am

Rutger Allen (VU Univ. Amsterdam) – Tense-Aspect in Classical Greek: Two Historical Developments on Augment and Perfect
  1. Augment
    1. Augment is still best seen as a marker of past-ness (as a starting point). Arguments that it reflects immediacy/nearness to the speaker are invalid.
    2. Augment is not always needed to signal past in narrative because that mode of speech (or genre) already sets that up for you. But greater need for augment for past in non-narrative (direct discourse) because you need a stronger verbal marker for the time shift.
    3. Use of augment in gnomic aorist remains difficult to explain. But it seems like the speaker is making a choice in how they want to portray the gnomic/generic situation, either emphasizing past-ness or present-ness with or without the augment. Thus, while use of gnomic present is more common but gnomic aorist is not that big a deal.
  2. Perfect
    1. Evolution: (stage 1) resultative-stative … (stage 2) current relevance / continuative … (stage 3) past perfective (not continuative)
    2. Aorist emphasizing change of state; adding reduplication to that aorist stem in the Perfect suggests resulting state
    3. Perfect also used for iterative, intensive, and continued relevance (aka anterior) in Homeric and Classical Gk
1.1 Agreed on augment as a marker for pastness "as a starting point": if it's anything like his work on the Greek middle, I bet he'll probably think that the augment is polysemous with marking pastness as its central, prototypical meaning. I have no clue who claims that the augment somehow reflect immediacy or nearness to speaker. (Could this be a typo by the summarizer??) Con Campbell, who does not favor the temporal meaning of the augment, takes it as a marker of "remoteness," not "nearness."

1.2. Good

1.3 I wish I had more of an explanation of the gnomic aorist. We get something analogous in English with "Curiosity killed the cat," but this is so rare that it's hard to appreciate, as an English speaker, the feel for such a beast.

2.1 This is the standard grammaticalization path of the perfect by Bybee et al. So, no problem for me.

2.2 I would say that aorist denotes the change of state for verbs whose lexical meaning supports it; for other verbs, well, it's more complicated. I disagree that there's an aorist stem in the perfect.

2.3 I think it's important to point out that these are relatively infrequent uses of the perfect, even in Koine. Not sure what is meaning by the "intensive" perfect.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: The Cambridge Greek Verb Conference

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 13th, 2015, 7:31 am

Peter Gentry (Southern Seminary) – Function of the Augment in Hellenistic Greek
  1. The ε-/η- augment was a relatively late innovation in only a select number of Indo-European languages
  2. Augment in Hellenistic may indicate foregrounding
  3. The so-called secondary endings (most of which are used for past tense) are original. The so-called primary endings (used for present tense) are actually derived from the secondary endings (regardless of modern nomenclature).
  4. Between Homer and Koine, the augment became used to grammaticalize temporal value.
I have to admit I'm not familiar with Peter Gentry. He appears to be a Hebrew teacher at Southern but he is also doing some LXX textual work. It's not clear to me how he was supposed to fit with the program. (Maybe the summarizer omitted a discussion of LXX usage???) At any rate, his contribution seems to be an outline of the diachrony of the augment..

1. Well, "relatively late" for Proto-Indo-European, true: I think it's found only in Greek, Vedic, and Armenian. But it's still earlier than Greek itself (it is found in Mycenaean Greek). It was not, however, obligatory in Homer.

2. I don't understand the claim that the Hellenistic augment indicates foregrounding. Is it in Porter's sense or in the non-Porter sense? At any rate, I don't believe that anything in the tense-aspect system encodes foregrounding directly. It is rather a more complex interplay between discourse type, aspect, etc.

3. I think this is basically right, certainly at the Proto-Indo-European level and probably in early Greek as well. Many of primary endings in PIE look like the secondary endings with a suffixed *-i, but it is not quite so simple for many details. In Homer, it is possible to have finite verb forms with the secondary endings and no augment; some researchers calls these forms "injunctives" and view them as essentially unmarked for tense and mood (i.e., only aspect and person/voice). Eventually, the secondary endings in classical Greek became associated with the augment in the indicative or without the augment in the optative (with the notable exception of the first person singular). When the optative went "poof", the augment and the secondary endings effectively became a circumfix for marking pastness. This eventually allowed Modern Greek to dispense with the pretonic augment, and its "secondary endings" (a merger of aorist, imperfect, and perfect endings) should now be considered the (main) marker for pastness in Modern Greek. In other words, over 3000 years of history, the secondary endings went from being the unmarked endings to being the marked endings.

4. A little confusing, but this could be due to the summarizer. The augment became obligatory after Homer.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: The Cambridge Greek Verb Conference

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » July 13th, 2015, 10:22 am

Stephen Carlson wrote: Not sure what is meaning by the "intensive" perfect.
See http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/vie ... =30#p20215 and M. Aubrey's post linked there.

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Re: The Cambridge Greek Verb Conference

Post by cwconrad » July 13th, 2015, 10:30 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Peter Gentry (Southern Seminary) – Function of the Augment in Hellenistic Greek

... I have to admit I'm not familiar with Peter Gentry. He appears to be a Hebrew teacher at Southern but he is also doing some LXX textual work. It's not clear to me how he was supposed to fit with the program. (Maybe the summarizer omitted a discussion of LXX usage???) At any rate, his contribution seems to be an outline of the diachrony of the augment..
Peter is at what we used to call "Louisville Baptist Seminary" (as opposed t "Louisville Presbyterian Seminary"). I've corresponded with him from time to time on matters concerning voice in the Greek verb. His profile can be checked at:
http://www.sbts.edu/academics/faculty/peter-j-gentry/
... 4. A little confusing, but this could be due to the summarizer. The augment became obligatory after Homer.
Well, obligatory in prose, perhaps. It's common but not obligatory in tragic poetry and in later continuation of the epic tradition -- Callimachus, for instance.
Hymn to Zeus, 8-9 wrote:‘Κρῆτες ἀεὶ ψεῦσται:’ καὶ γὰρ τάφον, ὦ ἄνα, σεῖο
Κρῆτες ἐτεκτήναντο: σὺ δ᾽ οὐ θάνες, ἐσσὶ γὰρ αἰεί.
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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