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Aorist X Perfect

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Aorist X Perfect

Postby maximo » Wed Nov 12, 2003 6:41 pm

Hi, Guys,

I have a serous question and I'm counting on you to help me.

The Greek grammars in my mother language (Portuguese) translate both aorist and perfect the same way - something like the English simple past - and don't make any difference between them.

JWW translates the aorist as simple past and the perfect as present perfect, as far as I know, there's a litte "aspectual" difference between these two.
This difference occurs in Greek too, or JWW is just trying to make it easier for English speakers to learn when to use the aorist and when to use the perfect?

Thanks,

Maximo
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Postby Emma_85 » Wed Nov 12, 2003 6:51 pm

In Greek the tenses have aspects, they aren't like the tenses in the English language (or Portuguese).
The Perfect has a resultant aspect. So the Perfect of 'to buy' should be translated as 'to own'.
The Aorist is only really past if the word is augmented, the aspect of the Aorist is somthing that is just happening right at that moment, is just beginning or ending.
The Imperfect is linear...

Hope that helps
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Postby maximo » Wed Nov 12, 2003 7:02 pm

Hi, Emma

You were fast in answering, hun? Tanks for that! It halped... a bit. Could you give some exemples?

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Postby Emma_85 » Wed Nov 12, 2003 7:18 pm

They don't really have tenses like what we would call past, present and future, they often just rely on the context.
For example [face=spionic]e)pai/deusa[/face]is translated 'I educated', but [face=spionic]paideu~sai[/face] can be translated as 'was educating' but also as 'educating', it isn't really past.

aorist aspects:

[face=spionic]i(ke/teuse bohqei~v th\n ko/rhn[/face] he begged the girl for help.
He did it just then in that moment, not like 100 times or every day, but depending on the context you could also translate this sentence:
He started to beg the girl for help.
[face=spionic]e)basi/leuse[/face] he became king.
But it can also mean 'he is king'.
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Postby maximo » Wed Nov 12, 2003 9:07 pm

That's interresting and ...difficult!

But why JWW translate the perfect as present perfect? That's nothing to with it's English counterpart?
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Postby tadwelessar » Wed Nov 12, 2003 10:23 pm

The aspect of the verb exists also in latin, there are two aspects:

- "perfectum" for perfect, pluperfect, future perfect
it denotes a concluded action (perfectum is indeed the past participle of perficio, is, perfeci, perfectum, ere = to conclude)

- "infectum" for present, imperfect, future
denotes an unconcluded (i.e. continue) action (inficio, is, infeci, infectum, ere = don't conclude)

I say this about latin (I know this is the Learning Greek forum!) because I'm only a beginner in greek but, that I know, in greek it's the same.

I don't know portuguese but in Italian we translate the aorist and the imperfect with two different tenses.
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Postby annis » Wed Nov 12, 2003 10:37 pm

And another way to think about it:

The pefect indicates state: the action is complete and the result continues to the present. Thus, the past perfect indicates something complete with the result continuing to the past time being discussed.

The aorist indicates a single event. No statement is made about whether the situation described still applies to the present. In moods other than the indicative the aorist just means a single event, so the aorist imperative means "do it!" and the present imperative means "keep doing it!"

Some sense of this still lingers in English:

"I have shut the door." - implies the door is still shut, or at least I think it is.

"I shut the door." - without context all we know is that the door was shut in the past, and I make no assertions about the current state of affairs.
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Postby Paul » Wed Nov 12, 2003 11:44 pm

Hi All,

An interesting thread about a complex topic.

tadwelessar wrote:The aspect of the verb exists also in latin, there are two aspects:

- "perfectum" for perfect, pluperfect, future perfect
it denotes a concluded action (perfectum is indeed the past participle of perficio, is, perfeci, perfectum, ere = to conclude)

- "infectum" for present, imperfect, future
denotes an unconcluded (i.e. continue) action (inficio, is, infeci, infectum, ere = don't conclude)

I say this about latin (I know this is the Learning Greek forum!) because I'm only a beginner in greek but, that I know, in greek it's the same.


I don't think this is quite true. Ancient Greek preserves the IE distinction between three different 'types of action' or 'aspects'. This distinction finds morphological expression in the 'tense' stems of the present, aorist, and perfect, which primarily distinguish aspect, not time.

Present - continuing, progressive, durative
Aorist - momentary, atomic
Perfect - a present state persisting from past action

It is generally safe to consider the aorist a temporal past tense when it is in the indicative mood.

Cordially,

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Postby klewlis » Thu Nov 13, 2003 4:42 am

Paul wrote:Present - continuing, progressive, durative
Aorist - momentary, atomic
Perfect - a present state persisting from past action


This is how I've always understood it also.

One of my greek teachers said that the aorist is like a snapshot--it just says "this happened", without telling you whether it was a continuing action, whether it is still happening, etc. The others are more like video tapes (in comparison)-- they have continuing action and give more context within themselves.
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