02: The role of the lexical meaning of the verb

Exploring Albert Rijksbaron's book, The Syntax and Semantics of the Verb in Classical Greek: An Introduction, to see how it would need to be adapted for Koine Greek. Much of the focus will be on finding Koine examples to illustrate the same points Rijksbaron illustrates with Classical examples, and places where Koine Greek diverges from Classical Greek.

02: The role of the lexical meaning of the verb

Postby Jonathan Robie » June 8th, 2012, 7:43 am

Note: This section is available in the preview here if you haven't got a copy of Rijksbaron yet:

http://books.google.com/books?id=ELh-Uiq-1KYC&printsec=frontcover&dq=rijksbaron+greek&hl=en&sa=X&ei=eUTRT-TtOajc2QWKiv2HDw&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=rijksbaron%20greek&f=false

I'm not sure whether to read this as:

+/- stative: the verb describes an ongoing state of affairs with no endpoint
+/- telic: the verb has an inherent end-point

Or simply as:

+/- telic: the verb has an inherent end-point

He gives examples in 6.2.2 and 6.3.2.

In his note, he gives a nod to Fanning, and says that he has created a similar typology of verb meanings in Rijksbaron (1989).

I was expecting more in this section, and I'm not certain which approach he is taking to lexical aspect. How do you read him?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: 02: The role of the lexical meaning of the verb

Postby Stephen Carlson » June 8th, 2012, 8:49 am

The term "stative" is misleading here. Out of the three terms Rijksbaron offers, I suppose that "unbounded" captures the essence of what he wants (atelic). "Stative" is a subset of unbounded, for durative activities are also unbounded and fit in this categories, though they are not states.

The three terms of the other class--terminative, bounded, or telic--are less problematic because they are terminological near synonyms.

Personally, I prefer the terms "telic" vs. "atelic" for Rijksbaron's main distinction, though I've read others who use "bounded" vs. "unbounded." In the first edition, Rijksbaron used "terminative" vs. "durative" -- so that's (or that was) his preferred terminology. (I think "terminative" is Rijkbaron's advance over an older term "punctual" (see e.g. Sihler), but Rijksbaron's new term properly emphasizes not the relative duration of the state of affairs but whether it has an inherent end-point.)

Basically, Rijksbaron's claim here is that, of out all the distinctions that Vendler makes in his classification of Aktionsart, the most important parameter is telicity. It is a bit premature to really explore this, but I think it's a claim we need to keep in mind as we look at the following sections.

Fanning, by contrast, takes Vendler's classification, extends it further, and discusses how the various Aktionsarten interact with grammatical aspect. There is no sense in Fanning, unlike Rijksbaron, that a particular parameter is critical.

I have not been able to get a hold of Rijksbaron's 1989 book to see what he's doing there.

All of the verbs cited in this section, βασιλεύω, πείθω, and δίδωμι, are attested in the NT, so I don't think that post first-year students will need different examples.
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Re: 02: The role of the lexical meaning of the verb

Postby Louis L Sorenson » June 9th, 2012, 10:38 am

R wrote that his verb typology resembles that of Fanning. So perhaps more concrete examples need to be laid out. R refers to two books. Does anyone have them handy?

Fanning's book is Verbal Aspect in New Testament Greek. Oxford 1990; Clarendon Press. No Google or Amazon preview http://books.google.com/books?id=wYlfAAAAMAAJ&dq=verbal+aspect+in+new+testament+greek&hl=en&sa=X&ei=AlzTT4IswqDYBZqr3J0P&ved=0CEEQ6AEwAA. You'll have to find it in a library. R refers to chapter 3.

Rijksbaron, A. Aristotle, Verb meaning and functional grammar. Towards a new typology of State of Affairs. Amsterdam, 1989: Geiben. (paperback, 62 pages). http://books.google.com/books?id=r10NAAAAIAAJ&q=rijksbaron+aristotle&dq=rijksbaron+aristotle&hl=en&sa=X&ei=S13TT-WDL4qr2AWZn4GrDw&ved=0CDcQ6AEwAA

For the relationship between aspect and Aktionsart, he refers the reader to Lyons Semantics OUP, 1977. Are there any more recent discussions on these two terms? I find myself unable to clearly delineate between the two.
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Re: 02: The role of the lexical meaning of the verb

Postby MAubrey » June 9th, 2012, 1:51 pm

I have them, unfortunately, this is an absolutely horrible time for me, so I cannot give explanation.

They are similar, but require a pretty massive amount of terminological mapping between the two. The typology of predicate types set out in Rijksbaron's book is differs greatly from the Vendler-Dowty description. For reference, its the same as the one used by Sicking & Stork in their Two Studies of the Semantics of the Verb in Classical Greek--or better, Sicking and Stork us Rijksbaron's typology.

The best I can do for now is say that:

Rijksbaron is *not* using Vendler. His starting point is Dik's system of states-of-affairs, which he then thoroughly revises in light of Aristotle's discussion of kinesis vs. energeia in Metaphysics. Granted, that's essentially where Vendler started, too, however, without first mapping the terms.

PS - Just looked up the price for Rijksbaron's book on Amazon. Yikes! $85? I paid $17 for my copy. If you're willing to pay international shipping, there are much cheaper copies on Abebook:

Price: US$ 14.18
Shipping: US$ 23.36
From Netherlands to U.S.A.

Price: US$ 19.34
Shipping: US$ 25.03
From Spain to U.S.A.
http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchR ... r&x=42&y=6

PPS - Also, ignore the review of the book on Amazon. The guy's criticisms are way off base.
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Re: 02: The role of the lexical meaning of the verb

Postby Stephen Carlson » June 11th, 2012, 6:51 pm

MAubrey wrote:They are similar, but require a pretty massive amount of terminological mapping between the two. The typology of predicate types set out in Rijksbaron's book is differs greatly from the Vendler-Dowty description. For reference, its the same as the one used by Sicking & Stork in their Two Studies of the Semantics of the Verb in Classical Greek--or better, Sicking and Stork us Rijksbaron's typology.


I happen to be reading Sicking and Stork at the moment (checked it out from the library last week). Their system is based on two features +/- control, and +/- change. The latter appears to correspond with telicity. The first feature appears to deal with volition, which I've never seen applied to an actional system before.
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Re: 02: The role of the lexical meaning of the verb

Postby MAubrey » June 11th, 2012, 7:34 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:The first feature appears to deal with volition, which I've never seen applied to an actional system befo


Yep.

And I'm still trying to decide how I feel about it--I read Sicking and Stork about a year ago and have a collection of notes that's still growing. Personally, I think they've made things more complicated than necessary for the description of the perfect. Rijksbaron is worth looking. He goes into more detail justifying the system.
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