Textkit Logo

About the nuance of aorist.

Here's where you can discuss all things Ancient Greek. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get translation help and more!

About the nuance of aorist.

Postby Junya » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:26 pm

I was looking up a grammar (Goodwin's Syntax of the moods and tenses) about the 1st person subjunctive used for exhortation.
And there were sample sentences with aorist subjunctive, like
"Epischeton, matho^men" (aor. of manthano^)
"Episches, embalo^men ...." (aor. of emballo^)
Then I wondered what was the difference between the aorist subjunctive and the present subjunctive.
I looked for the place in the same grammar where the aorist subjunctive would be explained, but there was found only an explanation for the aor.subj. in dependent clause, while the exhortation is an independent sentence.

So, please direct me where to look at. I have the above grammar and the Smyth's grammar.
Junya
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 453
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:26 am
Location: Japan

Re: About the nuance of aorist.

Postby annis » Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:52 pm

I hope you won't mind if I direct you to a document Paul and I wrote for Textkit eight years ago. I've updated it a bit — Greek Verb Aspect. It addresses this very issue.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
annis
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 3397
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 4:55 pm
Location: Madison, WI, USA

Re: About the nuance of aorist.

Postby Junya » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:12 pm

I think I understand.




how I understood the difference of the aorist subjunctive from the present subjunctive
-----------
The exhortation in aor. subj. eipo^men would mean "let's say" with an aspective nuance of seeing the action as punctual, not durative, not taking some continued time.

And when the subjunctive is used, only the aspect of the verb is expressed, the force of tense being abandoned.
-----------




Could you hear another question ?

In eipo^men, is eipon treated as aorist like other regular verbs' aorist ?
Junya
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 453
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:26 am
Location: Japan

Re: About the nuance of aorist.

Postby annis » Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:26 am

Junya wrote:The exhortation in aor. subj. eipo^men would mean "let's say" with an aspective nuance of seeing the action as punctual, not durative, not taking some continued time.

And when the subjunctive is used, only the aspect of the verb is expressed, the force of tense being abandoned.


Exactly.

In eipo^men, is eipon treated as aorist like other regular verbs' aorist ?


Yep.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
annis
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 3397
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 4:55 pm
Location: Madison, WI, USA

Re: About the nuance of aorist.

Postby Scribo » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:00 am

The Aorist is one of aspect.
User avatar
Scribo
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 720
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 2:28 pm
Location: Between Ilias and Odysseia.

Re: About the nuance of aorist.

Postby Junya » Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:46 pm

Thank you. :)
Junya
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 453
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:26 am
Location: Japan

Re: About the nuance of aorist.

Postby Kasper » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:47 pm

annis wrote:
Junya wrote:The exhortation in aor. subj. eipo^men would mean "let's say" with an aspective nuance of seeing the action as punctual, not durative, not taking some continued time.

And when the subjunctive is used, only the aspect of the verb is expressed, the force of tense being abandoned.


Exactly.



Sorry to jump in gentlemen, but based on that, would a greek speaker or writer have considered that there still was a choice between aorist or, as Junya says, a durative form? In what instance would the phrase 'let's say' (or similar) be used other than in a punctual sense?
Kasper
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 799
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2003 3:01 am
Location: Melbourne

Re: About the nuance of aorist.

Postby Junya » Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:11 pm

Hi, Kasper.

I'm still a beginner and vague about the use of aorist,
but I could understand about the use of aorist the more by what you pointed out.

Tell me.
An action that is (considered) as punctual is always expressed by the aorist tense ?
In another word, an action that cannot be considered as durative is never expressed by the present tense ?
Junya
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 453
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:26 am
Location: Japan

Re: About the nuance of aorist.

Postby Cheiromancer » Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:45 pm

I'd like to piggy-back on Junya's question: what are the nuances of using one rather than the other of a perfective, durative or punctual tense? In particular, why would the imperfect be used over the present?

The reason I ask is that I have an interest in Aristotle's τὸ τί ἦν εἶναι, and I am not quite sure why he uses ἦν rather than ἐστίν.

This overlaps with Junya's question as far as the use of the present is concerned.
Cheiromancer
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:20 pm

Re: About the nuance of aorist.

Postby annis » Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:06 pm

Junya wrote:An action that is (considered) as punctual is always expressed by the aorist tense ?
In another word, an action that cannot be considered as durative is never expressed by the present tense ?


No. This is one of the most confusing things about verb aspect — in interacts with the intrinsic meaning of the verb in complex ways. So, every verb has what we can call a "lexical aspect." That is, the meaning of the word itself can imply a time structure. For example, "sneeze" or "trip" are not things that we normally think of as actions that go on for very long. In the linguistics biz, we refer to the telicity (from τέλος) of the verb. "Trip" is telic, since it has a natural end-point, "walk" is atelic, since in theory it can go on for some time. (See the link above for more details and remaining theoretical questions around these.)

In Classical Greek, both telic and atelic verbs can occur in either aspect, perfective or imperfective. Telicity has to do with the meaning of the verb, whereas aspect has to do with the presentation of the action of the verb. However — there's always a however — there are some interactions. For example, only atelic verbs can be used in the aorist (perfective) for an inchoative sense. Smyth calls this the "ingressive" aorist, §1924-1925.

As I always do at this point, I strongly urge people to get their hands on Rijksbaron's The Syntax and Semantics of the Verb in Classical Greek: An Introduction: Third Edition. It is still in print and inexpensive. He covers all these issues.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
annis
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 3397
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 4:55 pm
Location: Madison, WI, USA

Re: About the nuance of aorist.

Postby annis » Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:11 pm

Cheiromancer wrote:I'd like to piggy-back on Junya's question: what are the nuances of using one rather than the other of a perfective, durative or punctual tense? In particular, why would the imperfect be used over the present?


Perfective = punctual. Did you mean "perfect" above?

The reason I ask is that I have an interest in Aristotle's τὸ τί ἦν εἶναι, and I am not quite sure why he uses ἦν rather than ἐστίν.


Philosophical Greek, like Philosophical English, can be... strange. I have always found Greek philosophers' use of forms of εἰμί quite puzzling. I get the impression that Aristotle's phrase here remains puzzling to people to this day. To quote the SEP:

Aristotle turns in Ζ.4 to a consideration of the next candidate for substance: essence. (‘Essence’ is the standard English translation of Aristotle's curious phrase to ti ên einai, literally “the what it was to be” for a thing. This phrase so boggled his Roman translators that they coined the word essentia to render the entire phrase, and it is from this Latin word that ours derives. Aristotle also sometimes uses the shorter phrase to ti esti, literally “the what it is,” for approximately the same idea.)


This very issue was also discussed here on Textkit not too long ago.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
annis
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 3397
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 4:55 pm
Location: Madison, WI, USA

Re: About the nuance of aorist.

Postby Ahab » Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:43 am

annis wrote:
Philosophical Greek, like Philosophical English, can be... strange. I have always found Greek philosophers' use of forms of εἰμί quite puzzling.


It is certainly a deep subject.
Apparently the philosopher Charles H. Kahn has been struggling with it for over 40 years. For those interested in this topic, here is a link to a BMCR review of one of his books:

http://www.bmcreview.org/2009/11/20091121.html
"In no scholarly discipline is untidiness more out of place than in grammar."
J. Wackernagal
Ahab
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 53
Joined: Sun May 08, 2011 2:22 pm

Re: About the nuance of aorist.

Postby Cheiromancer » Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:58 pm

annis wrote:
Cheiromancer wrote:I'd like to piggy-back on Junya's question: what are the nuances of using one rather than the other of a perfective, durative or punctual tense? In particular, why would the imperfect be used over the present?


Perfective = punctual. Did you mean "perfect" above?


I still get the terminology all messed up. Perfect, imperfect and aorist are each of a different type, right? Whatever those different types are called. And so I was concerned with the difference between two tenses of the same type, such as present and imperfect. As in τὸ τί ἦν εἶναι.

annis wrote:This very issue was also discussed here on Textkit not too long ago.


Thank you! And thank you for the Rijksbaron reference. Amazon tells me it will be here tomorrow. :)
Cheiromancer
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:20 pm

Re: About the nuance of aorist.

Postby Junya » Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:09 am

Thank you, Annis.


No. This is one of the most confusing things about verb aspect — in interacts with the intrinsic meaning of the verb in complex ways. So, every verb has what we can call a "lexical aspect." That is, the meaning of the word itself can imply a time structure. For example, "sneeze" or "trip" are not things that we normally think of as actions that go on for very long. In the linguistics biz, we refer to the telicity (from τέλος) of the verb. "Trip" is telic, since it has a natural end-point, "walk" is atelic, since in theory it can go on for some time. (See the link above for more details and remaining theoretical questions around these.)



Do you have a Japanese colleague or friend ?
Japanese language has, like Greek, an extensive usage of verb aspect (like, much use and intermingling of past and perfect tenses when talking about a present time matter).
Though I am still a beginner in Greek, I feel Japanese and Greek are very similar in the use of aspoect.
Sometimes, when I literally translate the Greek into Japanese, the use of aspect, i.e. what it implies, is very understandable to me, a Japanese.
It may be easier for Japanese to learn about the Greek aspect than for English speakers.
So if you have a Japanese friend, try asking him how Japanese use asperct.




"To ti e^n einai", if it means "What it was to be", would imply in Japanese "What it was for us to be", or "What it meant for us (in some past time shared by us, like in our previous lecture, or in our customary use) to be".
By the use of a past tense, the questioner urges the hearers to be reminded of the past.





As I always do at this point, I strongly urge people to get their hands on Rijksbaron's The Syntax and Semantics of the Verb in Classical Greek: An Introduction: Third Edition. It is still in print and inexpensive. He covers all these issues.


I will buy it, since Goodwin's Syntax of the moods and tenses of the Greek verb, which I have, seems to be similar to it but didn't answer my question this time.
Junya
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 453
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:26 am
Location: Japan

Re: About the nuance of aorist.

Postby Damoetas » Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:25 am

Junya wrote:Do you have a Japanese colleague or friend ?
Japanese language has, like Greek, an extensive usage of verb aspect (like, much use and intermingling of past and perfect tenses when talking about a present time matter).
Though I am still a beginner in Greek, I feel Japanese and Greek are very similar in the use of aspoect.
Sometimes, when I literally translate the Greek into Japanese, the use of aspect, i.e. what it implies, is very understandable to me, a Japanese.
It may be easier for Japanese to learn about the Greek aspect than for English speakers.
So if you have a Japanese friend, try asking him how Japanese use asperct.


An excellent suggestion. Some people think that you can only learn things about Greek by studying other ancient Indo-European languages (usually Sanskrit). But there are many features about Greek that have parallels in modern languages: e.g., certain principles of word order are similar to Hungarian (see Dik, Word Order in Ancient Greek, 1995); some of the particles (and also aspirated consonants) were similar to those in Hindi; the long and short vowel contrast might have sounded like Finnish; the pitch accent has parallels in Serbo-Croatian; etc. etc.
Dic mihi, Damoeta, 'cuium pecus' anne Latinum?
Damoetas
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 216
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 6:31 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: About the nuance of aorist.

Postby Scribo » Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:32 am

And both Hindi and Serbo-Croatian are IE languages...
User avatar
Scribo
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 720
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 2:28 pm
Location: Between Ilias and Odysseia.

Re: About the nuance of aorist.

Postby Junya » Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:19 pm

Damoetas wrote :
An excellent suggestion. Some people think that you can only learn things about Greek by studying other ancient Indo-European languages (usually Sanskrit). But there are many features about Greek that have parallels in modern languages


In learning the Greek aspect, I have thought I should be conscious about my own language's use of aspect, to compare it with Greek for an easy, analogical understanding.
And, carefully observing my own speech, I can find much use of aspect, resembling Greek, though I'm not yet sure if the "analogical understanding" of Greek aspect from the uses of aspect in Japanese that resemble Greek is really valid or not.
In English speaking areas, are there learners (not linguistic scholars) who study in such a way ?
Junya
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 453
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:26 am
Location: Japan


Return to Learning Greek

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 22 guests