mwh wrote:Thanks for the comeback daivid. I think you realize that “completed action” is inadequate for the idea of “aorist.” (The perfect is completed action too, after all.)
the present perfect in English:
I have chopped up the old tree. (aorist) result: the tree no longer exists but there is a pile of firewood in its place.
I have chopped wood every day this week (habitual) result: you owe me a weeks pay
I have been chopping wood all morning. (continuous) result: I am exhausted.
So in English the perfect is not always about completed action and it does not always have aorist aspect.
In all the Greek examples I have seen the Greek perfect describes a completed action but I haven't read enough Greek to be sure it always does. If you tell me that in Greek the perfect always has completed aspect than I will have learnt something new.
I never intended to say that the aorist was the only tense that has aorist aspect.
Maybe it would be clearer if I used the terms imperfective and perfective instead of imperfect and aorist?
In Greek the aorist has perfective aspect.
The present has imperfective aspect.
The imperfect has imperfective aspect.
mwh wrote:And few newcomers to Greek would welcome a proper explanation of “aspect.” (That could occupy an entire linguistics course.) If you don’t like “It’s one o’clock,” try “Today is Thursday.” But I don't see a beginner having much trouble with the present indicative. Present infinitive is another matter. (Actually it's not, but to a beginner it will seem to be.)
I seems I misunderstood your point. “It’s one o’clock,” was a good example that forced me to think.
“Today is Thursday.” is for me easy to give an answer to. This time period has duration. Hence the point in time that is the now can exist and move forward in the uncompleted way that is the essence of the present. It is clearly imperfective.
It to me illustrates how the present is always imperfective and can never be perfective.
This all makes me think I have misunderstood the point you intended.
mwh wrote:I’m still not clear just what differences you think textbooks try to paper over.
Textbook writers have to make choices. It’s always possible to find fault with any textbook. But little use in griping, and still less if the gripe is ill-founded.
Some textbooks claim the English simple past is an aorist. This is false.
Of course textbooks can't tell the student everything but they shouldn't say something that is untrue.
But this is a symptom of how they focus on teaching on how to translate rather than how to understand because the simple past may not be the equivalent of the aorist but it is often a good translation of the aorist.