Randall wrote: I haven't studied the pre-history and PIE enough to commit to Sihler's morphological interpretation of the historical present. (I don't plan on learning Sanskrit, either. I'd rather speak Koine…
εἰ μὲν οὖν θέλει τις τὴν γλῶσσαν τὴν Σανσκριτικήν, λαλείτω δή Σανσκριτιστί
I should clarify that Sihler thinks that historical presents come from both imperfect and aorists that were augmentless. He mentions that this origin of the historical present has been "convincingly argued" but due to the nature of his grammar there are unfortunately no citations to the literature that support this.
RandallButh wrote:thanks for the clarification. However, that doesn't change the overall argument.
RandallButh wrote:Why? Because 'aspect-only' requires that the historical present be naturally 100% imperfective. When it becomes obvious that many a historical present would naturally require an aorist, they must recognize the the structure is being used for rhetorical effect AGAINST its common meaning. Which is what everyone has been saying about the Greek historical present for over 2000 years already. Using an imperfective PRESENT time structure in a past context against its normal meaning can make for more interesting storytelling.
It is not exactly clear to me what the aspect-only folks think about the aspect of the historical present.
(b) the historical presents are semantically imperfective. They are pragmatically marked in that they occur in slots where the perfective aspect would be unmarked.
RandallButh wrote:χαιρε Κιμμω(b) the historical presents are semantically imperfective. They are pragmatically marked in that they occur in slots where the perfective aspect would be unmarked.
The answer is 'b', of course. Thank you for the clarification.
And as Greeks have been saying for 2000 years, the historical present is marked for time, too, because they are semantically 'present' but occur is slots where a non-present would be expected.
This point is crucial. Once the AspectOnly people recognize that their 'semantic theory' gets overridden by pragmatics with aspect, they should have no theoretical objection to having their semantic theory overridden by pragmatics in time. their argument unravels from that point.
The only difference between a pragmatic use of aspect and time is that 'past time' is easier to define on absolute terms, and 'perfective' requires more finesse and careful reading before the audience realizes that they are being sold the Brooklyn Bridge. (That is American slang for something bogus, false.) Because in theory, it is illegitimate for a person to allow a pragmatic use of aspect but then forbid a pragmatic use of 'absolute time'. This is why prototypicality theory and cognitive linguistics and complexity theory can be friends.
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