Monday, June 09, 2014

The problem of the perfect

Working on the Ørberg up until chapter 10 has been fairly free of grammatical controversy. I still have a decision to make about how to treat voice, but I feel like the debate over voice is not too divisive. Other tenses don't appear before chapter 15, but eventually we will need to address aspect.

Which is where it will get tricky. I'm fairly clear in my own mind about the following:
Present tense - Imperfective Aspect
Aorist tense - Perfective
Imperfect tense - Imperfective

But there remains considerable debate about the Perfect, Pluperfect, and Future tenses. What aspect are they? And if I choose one scheme and run with that, will this render the book unusable by other-thinking teachers?

Even I don't know what I think. I had the great advantage of spending a little time interacting with C.Campbell, but I don't hold his 'proximate/remote' position with the same tenacity and confidence that he does. And I'm not convinced that we should call perfect tense an imperfective aspect.

So at the moment I'm leaning towards a default Porter/majority position, and labelling aspect as perfective/imperfective/stative. I don't think this is ideal, but it's better than not discussing aspect at all.

Your thoughts on the aspect debate, as well as the pedagogical issue, are welcome. I have done some reading in the area, but references to articles would certainly be welcome (articles I can access, books not so much).

No comments: