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At 19:57 20.3.2000 +0100, Raymond Brown wrote:

>With the indicative it seemed to the Greeks that either we have something
>happening (she is writing) or something that habitually happens (she
>writes) or else we have a completed state (she has written it [and here it
>is]).  The first two are meanings of the so-called 'present stem' and the
>third is the present of the perfect.  It seemed to them that the present
>indicative could not be undefined, hence there is only the past tense:
>imperfect - past of of the present: she wrote (i.e. used to write), she was
>writing
>pluperfect - past of the perfect: she had written it [and there it was]
>aorist - she wrote (once at some unspecified time)
>
>But the imperative shows the aspect clearer:
>present - get writing, start writing (now)
>perfect - have it written  (rare  :)
>aorist - write!  (no messing: just write!)

The problem of course being that in the indicative the aorist for some
strange reason always refers to past time -- having an augment.  In Sanskrit
there are augmentless s-aorists, called Precatives, who in actual usage are
indistinguishable from past-tense optatives.  E.g. _budhyaat_ 'oh that she
wakes up!'  (the aorist s has dropped before the personal t ending, so that
3sg. doesn't become homonymous to 2sg.!)


/BP

"Doubt grows with knowledge" -Goethe