Aktionsart, Aspect and Category Change in the History of Greek

in Variation and Change in Ancient Greek Tense, Aspect and Modality
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Abstract

This paper looks at the history of aspect in the Greek verb through a comparison of the system of Modern Greek with uses in earlier stages in the history of the language. Adopting a retrospective point of view and using a corpus of historians from the Classical, Hellenistic and Early Byzantine periods, it locates those uses of the two stems of the verb (aorist and present) which seem unacceptable or peculiar to speakers of the modern language and explains them as signs of a category shift from the expression of Aktionsart to the expression of aspect and tense. This development lends support to arguments for a necessary distinction between the categories of aspect and Aktionsart.

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