THEORY: What is an aorist? (was Re: THEORY: Temporal Auxiliaries, Aspectual Auxiliaries, Modal Auxiliaries)
|From:||Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, July 10, 2005, 15:15|
Ray Brown wrote:
> [Greek verb tenses and aspects]
> So 'aorist' was and is used in describing Greek grammar to denote _both_
> an aspect as in the "aorist subjunctive", "aorist optative", "aorist
> imperative" etc (*no* reference to tense) _and_ to 'tense with aspect', as
> you rightly say, when they talk about the 'aorist tense'.
> Thus the ancient Greek aorist tense was a past perfective, like the simple
> English past "I went".
> (In the modern language this has become drastically simplified; the old
> future & perfect stems have gone. The 'present' and 'aorist' stems only
> remain, and the verbal system has developed the dual imperfective ~
> perfective aspects familiar in the Slav languages.)
> But, to confuse things, the term 'aorist' has been used in describing
> other languages in an _inconsistent_ manner. If you look up 'aorist' in
> Trask you will find:
> "1. A verb form marked for past tense but unmarked for aspect.
> 2. A verb form marked for both past tense and perfective aspect.
> 3. A verb form marked for perfective aspect.
> 4. A conventional label used in a highly variable manner among specialists
> in particular languages to dnote some verb form or set of verb forms...."
> He concludes with these words:
> "NOTE: in view of this great terminological confusion, Comrie (1976)
> recommends the avoidance of the term 'aorist' in linguistic theory."
> I agree with Comrie. If there is terminological confusion amongst
> linguists themselves, then it is hardly surprising if you have found the
> term confusing :)
Well, linguistics is riddled with confusion ;-)
ObConlang: In Old Albic, there is a form I call the `aorist', which
is a verb form marked for perfective aspect and unmarked for tense;
it is, among other uses, the commonly used narrative form and also
used for gnomic statements.