Expressing temporal relations in Latin And Greek AcI and NcI clauses: Some recent findings and their applicative aspects
Latin and Greek AcI and NcI clauses display a tendency towards stativity, a tendency that is also observed in modern languages such as English. Furthermore, it appears that in Ancient Greek, the perfect infinitive gradually tended toward adopting the function of conveying anteriority in these constructions. This view is consistent with the assumption that Ancient Greek saw the emergence of the perfect that had much in common with the perfect in modern languages (e.g., English and Dutch) (Haspelmath 1992). Nevertheless, the situation in Ancient Greek appears to have been different in that the aorist infinitive (and rarely, the present infinitive) could convey anteriority as well – although it seems that this applies mostly in specific, predictable contexts. For instance, this was the case within the so-called mythological-historical clause type (Kavčič forthcoming). In this clause type, the governing verb of saying or thinking typically refers to the speech time, whereas the dependent infinitive clause refers to an event concerning a well-known mythological or historical hero. In addition to shedding new light on the traditional view concerning expressions of the temporal distinctions in AcI/NcI clauses (in Classical languages), these tendencies should also be taken into account in the teaching process.
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