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Open Access Aspect in Greek Future Forms

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Aspect in Greek Future Forms

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Medieval Greek had three future periphrases making use of a finite verb and an infinitive: μέλλω + INF, ἔχω + INF, θέλω + INF. Given the parallel nature of the periphrases as well as the fact that the infinitive existed in both a perfective and an imperfective version, it might be expected that these future-referring forms developed aspectual distinctions in similar ways. However based on papyrological evidence from AD I and AD VI this article shows that this was not the case. Rather, each future periphrasis seems to follow its own path towards the aspectual distinction which is a hallmark of the Modern Greek verbal system: μέλλω + INF has a much higher ratio of imperfective infinitives than the two other periphrases especially in AD I, ἔχω + INF starts out using only the perfective infinitive when referring to the future, and θέλω + INF distinguishes for aspect before it gains future meaning. The difference in aspectual usage is explained both by the semantics of the respective auxiliaries and by different oppositional relations (modal and temporal) that the periphrases enter into.

Affiliations: 1: University of Copenhagen, Denmark slucas@hum.ku.dk

10.1163/15699846-01402008
/content/journals/10.1163/15699846-01402008
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Medieval Greek had three future periphrases making use of a finite verb and an infinitive: μέλλω + INF, ἔχω + INF, θέλω + INF. Given the parallel nature of the periphrases as well as the fact that the infinitive existed in both a perfective and an imperfective version, it might be expected that these future-referring forms developed aspectual distinctions in similar ways. However based on papyrological evidence from AD I and AD VI this article shows that this was not the case. Rather, each future periphrasis seems to follow its own path towards the aspectual distinction which is a hallmark of the Modern Greek verbal system: μέλλω + INF has a much higher ratio of imperfective infinitives than the two other periphrases especially in AD I, ἔχω + INF starts out using only the perfective infinitive when referring to the future, and θέλω + INF distinguishes for aspect before it gains future meaning. The difference in aspectual usage is explained both by the semantics of the respective auxiliaries and by different oppositional relations (modal and temporal) that the periphrases enter into.

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/content/journals/10.1163/15699846-01402008
2014-01-01
2018-09-19

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