verbal aspect

Grammar questions which are not related to any specific text.

verbal aspect

Postby Jesse Goulet » November 7th, 2011, 2:12 am

I hear there is some debate or something about verbal aspect. Can anyone inform me about this?

I also hear that Bill Mounce didn't update his latest edition of BBG. So since I'm going through it, can anyone explain or point to a basic piece of introductory work with the updated info so I don't end up believing the wrong things about verbal aspect as I continue through Mounce? I already read Rod Decker's replacement paper (http://faculty.bbc.edu/rdecker/document ... h15rev.pdf) but found only half of it useful and half of it difficult to understand.
Jesse Goulet
 
Posts: 85
Joined: October 15th, 2011, 12:48 pm

Re: verbal aspect

Postby Jonathan Robie » November 8th, 2011, 10:19 am

Jesse Goulet wrote:I hear there is some debate or something about verbal aspect. Can anyone inform me about this?

I also hear that Bill Mounce didn't update his latest edition of BBG. So since I'm going through it, can anyone explain or point to a basic piece of introductory work with the updated info so I don't end up believing the wrong things about verbal aspect as I continue through Mounce? I already read Rod Decker's replacement paper (http://faculty.bbc.edu/rdecker/document ... h15rev.pdf) but found only half of it useful and half of it difficult to understand.


I think you're trying to avoid getting into the details of the debate, and focus on what is most widely accepted. I'll try to give you a little guidance, the real experts will probably step in and say more.

If I were you, I might start with these two quotes from Rijksbaron's The Syntax and Semantics of the Verb in Classical Greek: An Introduction: Third Edition, plus the table that appears on Page 5.

Get the book!

rijk-1.png
rijk-1.png (269.24 KiB) Viewed 681 times


rijk-2.png
rijk-2.png (325.83 KiB) Viewed 681 times
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
Jonathan Robie
 
Posts: 1456
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm

Re: verbal aspect

Postby Jonathan Robie » November 8th, 2011, 10:59 am

I modified Rijksbaron's table on Page 5, using different formatting, and naming the tenses explicitly rather than relying on the form of the verb. Here's my version:

rijk-3.png
rijk-3.png (24.21 KiB) Viewed 676 times


Again, time is only grammaticalized in the indicative.

Does this help?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
Jonathan Robie
 
Posts: 1456
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm

Re: verbal aspect

Postby Jonathan Robie » November 8th, 2011, 11:33 am

And one last summary table, based on the last, adding the verb Rijksbaron used as an example:

rijk-4.png
rijk-4.png (36.56 KiB) Viewed 672 times
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
Jonathan Robie
 
Posts: 1456
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm

Re: verbal aspect

Postby Jesse Goulet » November 8th, 2011, 4:35 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:I think you're trying to avoid getting into the details of the debate, and focus on what is most widely accepted. I'll try to give you a little guidance, the real experts will probably step in and say more.

Yes I just want the basics for now.

If I were you, I might start with these two quotes from Rijksbaron's The Syntax and Semantics of the Verb in Classical Greek: An Introduction: Third Edition, plus the table that appears on Page 5.

This looks really helpful, but this is for Classical Greek as the title says. But is it the same for Koine Greek?
Jesse Goulet
 
Posts: 85
Joined: October 15th, 2011, 12:48 pm

Re: verbal aspect

Postby Jonathan Robie » November 8th, 2011, 4:55 pm

Jesse Goulet wrote:This looks really helpful, but this is for Classical Greek as the title says. But is it the same for Koine Greek?


Yes, what he says here is true of Koine Greek, certainly what he says in what I have excerpted.

But his examples aren't taken from Koine Greek.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
Jonathan Robie
 
Posts: 1456
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm

Re: verbal aspect

Postby Jonathan Robie » November 8th, 2011, 5:22 pm

And one quick tidbit on the debates.

Decker does not agree with Rijksbaron. From the handout you referred to earlier:

In Greek a verb form carries only the grammatical meaning of aspect; it does not express time. For example, the aorist form refers only to the way the verb is formed/spelled (to be technical, we could say the “morphology”): the grammatical form that identifies perfective aspect. It tells us nothing about when the event occurred. An aorist form may describe an event in the past (it often does), the present, the future, or an “omnitemporal” event (one that is always true), as well as one that is timeless (i.e., one for which time is irrelevant: 1 + 1 is 2). The same principle is basically true of the other forms: present, imperfect, perfect, and pluperfect.


Rijksbaron believes that a verb form expresses time, but it indicates absolute time only in the indicative. He also believes that the augment ε- indicates past time (note that it is used only in the indicative). Decker disagrees, as does Porter. We've spent a good 15 years debating this question.

You might want to take these tables to your teacher and see what your teacher thinks.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
Jonathan Robie
 
Posts: 1456
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm

Re: verbal aspect

Postby Eeli Kaikkonen » November 8th, 2011, 5:55 pm

Although not everyone likes Daniel Wallace's Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, I'd say it's the best you can spend your money on, if you want to buy something. Rijksbaron is more difficult (technical and academic) and will probably gather dust in your shelf. I own both. Wallace writes clearly, is easy and light to read and is still after 15 years unsurpassed in explaining aspect in a way which is accurate enough and still easy to understand. And he's correct in his view on time/aspect debate, unlike Decker's paper (in my not-so-humble opinion).

I have also found Con Campbell's Basics of Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek useful. It's basically quite like Decker's paper in what it says (for example about time/aspect debate, aspect/Actionsart separation) but is more thorough and easy to read. But the name is misleading because it's actually "Basics of Campbell's view on Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek", so it's not the lowest common denominator for beginners. You can find some critique on Campbell's book by searching for "Campbell verbal aspect b-greek".

And for the whole time/aspect debate you should search for "verbal aspect b-greek", because there have been quite much discussion about the subject, mostly in the old mailing list. Much of the discussion may be above your level, but in any case you should read something easy and something difficult, and after learning something, read them again. There's no one perfect text or explanation. Rijksbaron, Wallace and Campbell are all good starters, and each has drawbacks. For good balance between easiness and technical correctness I recommend Wallace, while Rijksbaron may be linguistically the most correct but less readable.
Eeli Kaikkonen
 
Posts: 216
Joined: June 2nd, 2011, 7:49 am
Location: Finland

Re: verbal aspect

Postby Jesse Goulet » November 8th, 2011, 6:07 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:Yes, what he says here is true of Koine Greek, certainly what he says in what I have excerpted.

*thumbs up*

Jonathan Robie wrote:Rijksbaron believes that a verb form expresses time, but it indicates absolute time only in the indicative. He also believes that the augment ε- indicates past time (note that it is used only in the indicative). Decker disagrees, as does Porter. We've spent a good 15 years debating this question.


Is there a consensus at all? Or at least a consensus of what beginning students should know?
Jesse Goulet
 
Posts: 85
Joined: October 15th, 2011, 12:48 pm

Re: verbal aspect

Postby Jesse Goulet » November 8th, 2011, 6:11 pm

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:Although not everyone likes Daniel Wallace's Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, I'd say it's the best you can spend your money on, if you want to buy something..

We had to purchase it for my Greek Exegesis class, but we were too busy translating and reviewing our first year basics that we never really went through any of it in class. But I plan on heading right into it once I finish with Mounce.

Rijksbaron is more difficult (technical and academic) and will probably gather dust in your shelf. I own both. Wallace writes clearly, is easy and light to read and is still after 15 years unsurpassed in explaining aspect in a way which is accurate enough and still easy to understand.

Are you serious? It took everyone in my class 10 minutes just to understand the first page. We all ended up skimming through our weekly reading because none of us had the time to stop and actually try to figure out what Wallace was talking about.

And he's correct in his view on time/aspect debate, unlike Decker's paper (in my not-so-humble opinion).

Has he changed his mind at all since 1995?

I have also found Con Campbell's Basics of Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek useful. It's basically quite like Decker's paper in what it says (for example about time/aspect debate, aspect/Actionsart separation) but is more thorough and easy to read. But the name is misleading because it's actually "Basics of Campbell's view on Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek", so it's not the lowest common denominator for beginners. You can find some critique on Campbell's book by searching for "Campbell verbal aspect b-greek".

And for the whole time/aspect debate you should search for "verbal aspect b-greek", because there have been quite much discussion about the subject, mostly in the old mailing list. Much of the discussion may be above your level, but in any case you should read something easy and something difficult, and after learning something, read them again. There's no one perfect text or explanation. Rijksbaron, Wallace and Campbell are all good starters, and each has drawbacks. For good balance between easiness and technical correctness I recommend Wallace, while Rijksbaron may be linguistically the most correct but less readable

I just want whatever the basic consensus is for now. I don't plan on getting into details of things until later on.
Jesse Goulet
 
Posts: 85
Joined: October 15th, 2011, 12:48 pm

Next

Return to Grammar Questions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest