Re: [tied] Stative Verbs, or Perfect Tense

From: Miguel Carrasquer
Message: 36484
Date: 2005-02-25

On Fri, 25 Feb 2005 17:36:40 -0500 (EST), Andrew Jarrette
<anjarrette@...> wrote:

>Thank you for educating me on this point, Peter. I never knew that
>Homeric "perfect" forms had such explicitly present meaning.
>But that raises two questions: The first, that if scholars were
>aware that in Homer the perfect most commonly expresses a present
>tense (condition or attitude), why is it that the traditional view
>is considered to be that the perfect (stative) expresses a completed
>action, or a present "state resulting from previous action or
>experience" (thus in Sihler)? Did the traditional IE linguists
>discount these Homeric "perfects", or did they not know about them?
>(I actually have never read the traditional view anywhere, but am
>aware of the definition of "perfect" as a verb tense, which is then
>applied to these Greek forms which had perfect meaning everywhere
>but in Homer, I take it.) And the second: how did a Homeric "perfect"
>with explicitly present, stative meaning evolve into a form which
>indicated completed, no-longer-occurring action or experience? Why
>would it evolve so? Do these questions not occur to you?

It seems to be the case that verbal forms expressing state
are inherently likely to become past tenses. That is borne
out by the Germanic and Romance composite perfects ("I have
the book read" / "Habeo librum lectum" => "I've read the
book" / "He leido el libro"), which we know made the
transition from "stative" to "past" in recent history (the
same phenomenon in Hittite with the hark-perfect). This is
not just an IE thing: the Proto-Semitic stative (still a
real stative in Akkadian) has become a perfective past in
e.g. Hebrew and Arabic.

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal