The Imperfect Unbound. A Cognitive Linguistic Approach to Greek Aspect

in Variation and Change in Ancient Greek Tense, Aspect and Modality
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In Ancient Greek narrative, the imperfect typically presents the state of affairs as ongoing in order to serve as a temporal framework for the occurrence of one or more other states of affairs. However, in narrative we also find a considerable number of imperfects (especially with verbs of motion and verbs of speech) which refer to completed states of affairs. In this paper, it is argued that Cognitive Grammar notions such as construal, temporal scope of view, profile and base can be helpful in describing aspectual contrasts. The imperfects at issue express the narrator’s construal of the state of affairs as unbounded, thereby emphasizing that the state of affairs is of continuing relevance in the subsequent narrative.

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