Besides its typical imperfective functions, the Greek imperfect appears to be used also in perfective contexts, where an aorist indicative would seem more appropriate. This phenomenon is well attested in Ancient Greek, especially with verbs of saying, but its characteristics in Late-Antique and Proto-Byzantine Greek have received little attention so far. In the first part of the present article some data about the frequency of imperfect and aorist indicatives up to the 2nd century AD will be presented (section 1.1). Following an introduction to the concepts of ‘foreground’ and ‘background’ (section 1.2), Moser’s hypotheses about the use of the imperfect in Late- Antique Greek will then be reviewed (sections 2.1–2.2): according to these, the imperfect was used in the same way in both Late-Antique and Modern Greek and had lost, by the Late-Antique Period, some of the ‘perfective’ functions it had in Classical Greek. However, a qualitative analysis of three 7th-century hagiographical texts shows that in the Proto-Byzantine Period the imperfect still retained its Classical uses, which are discontinued in Modern Greek, especially with the verba dicendi (sections 2.3–2.4). These preliminary findings thus suggest that the matter needs to be investigated further.

L’imperfetto narrativo nel greco tardoantico: uno studio preliminare

De Santis, Leonardo
2021

Abstract

Besides its typical imperfective functions, the Greek imperfect appears to be used also in perfective contexts, where an aorist indicative would seem more appropriate. This phenomenon is well attested in Ancient Greek, especially with verbs of saying, but its characteristics in Late-Antique and Proto-Byzantine Greek have received little attention so far. In the first part of the present article some data about the frequency of imperfect and aorist indicatives up to the 2nd century AD will be presented (section 1.1). Following an introduction to the concepts of ‘foreground’ and ‘background’ (section 1.2), Moser’s hypotheses about the use of the imperfect in Late- Antique Greek will then be reviewed (sections 2.1–2.2): according to these, the imperfect was used in the same way in both Late-Antique and Modern Greek and had lost, by the Late-Antique Period, some of the ‘perfective’ functions it had in Classical Greek. However, a qualitative analysis of three 7th-century hagiographical texts shows that in the Proto-Byzantine Period the imperfect still retained its Classical uses, which are discontinued in Modern Greek, especially with the verba dicendi (sections 2.3–2.4). These preliminary findings thus suggest that the matter needs to be investigated further.
Settore L-FIL-LET/02 - Lingua e Letteratura Greca
Late Antique Greek; Imperfect; Aorist
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11384/107645
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