The perfect in Old Church Slavonic:a corpus-based study in grammaticalsemantics
VladimirPlungian(Moscow)AnnaUrmanchieva(St.-Petersburg & Moscow)
A periphrastic form:l-participle + ‘be’ [present / past]Elusive semantics and “strange” usesNB: no direct Greek counterpart (which is an extremely rare case in NT translation practice)!Greek perfect (which is not the most transparent, for its part) is mainly rendered by OCS aoristOCS perfect is a “free choice” of Slavic translators
Greek vs. OCS: Mt. 22:4
εἴπατε τοῖς κεκλημένοις: ἰδοὺ, τὸ ἄριστόν μουἡτοίμακαPF,οἱ ταῦροί μου καὶ τὰ σιτιστὰ τεθυμένα, καὶ πάντα ἕτοιμα; δεῦτε εἰς τοὺςγάμουςрьцѣте зъванымъ:се,обѣдъ моиоуготовахъAOR,ю҅ньци мои и оупитѣнаа исколена,и вьсѣ готова;придѣте на бракъTell them which are bidden, Behold, Ihave preparedmy dinner: my oxen andmyfatlingsarekilled, and all thingsareready: come unto themarriage [KJB]
OCS vs. Greek: Lk. 8:52
рыдаахѫжевьсииплакаахѫсѧеѩ.онъжерече: неплачитесѧеѩ.нѣстъоумръланъсъпитъἔκλαιον δὲ πάντες καὶ ἐκόπτοντοαὐτήν;ὁ δὲεἶπεν:μὴκλαίετε,οὐ γὰρἀπέθανενAOR,ἀλλὰ καθεύδειAnd all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; sheis not dead, butsleepeth
The main problem
OCS perfect is not like “standard” European participle-based perfect (and even not like Greek perfect)It drastically lacks resultative uses – which are always considered the bulk of perfect domain (cf. also 1-2 in the handouts)In addition, the rules seem different in different texts – in our case,CodexMarianus,CodexSupraslensis,andEuchologiumSinaiticum.
Main types of uses:a “pragmatic” cluster
“Interpretive” uses: mark a situation which has particularly important consequences“Characteristic” uses: describe the subject’s (important) propertiesExperiential uses: refer to the fact of (non)-ocurrenceof the situation in the past“Emphatic” uses: highlight the most important episode in discourse
Discourse highlighting: interpreting
останѣтееѩ. почътоѭтроуждаате. добрободѣлосъдѣлаомьнѣ.вьсегдабоништѧѩиматесъсобоѭ҄. ıегдахощетеможетеимъдобротворити. а мене невьсегдаимате. ежеимѣсиѩсътвори.варилаестъпохризмититѣломое на погребение. (Mk 14.6-8)Let her alone; why trouble ye her? shehath wroughta good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, andwhensoeveryewill,ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. Shehath donewhat she could: sheis comeaforehandto anoint my body to the burying.
Discourse highlighting: characterization
отъвѣшташѧирѣшѧемоу.въ грѣсѣхъ тыродилъ сѧ есивесь.ı҅тылиныоучиши.ıизгънашѧивънъ. (Jn9.34)They answered and said unto him, Thouwastaltogetherbornin sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.
Discourse highlighting: experiential
ıсжеречеимъ. ей.нѣстеличьлиниколиже.ѣкоизоустъмладьнечьисъсѫштихъсъвръшилъесихвалѫ.(Mt21.16 et passim)And Jesussaithunto them, Yea;haveyeneverread, Out of the mouth of babes andsucklingsthouhast perfectedpraise
Discourse highlighting: focalization
отъвѣштаемоуи’с.осебѣлитыг’лешисе. лиинитебѣрѣшѧомьнѣ?отъвѣщапилатъ. едаазъжидовинъесмъ?родътвои. ı архиереипрѣдашѧтѧмьнѣ. чтоесисътворилъ?(Jn18.34-35)Jesus answered him,Sayestthou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priestshave deliveredthee unto me: whathastthoudone?
Discourse highlighting: focalization
рыдаахѫжевьсииплакаахѫсѧеѩ.онъжерече: неплачитесѧеѩ.нѣстъоумръланъсъпитъ(Lk 8:52)And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; sheis not dead, butsleepethаминьамньг’лѭвамъ.ıштетемене неѣковидѣстезнамение.нъѣкоѣлиестехлѣбыинасытистесѧ.(Jn6.26)Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because yesawthe miracles, but because yedid eatof the loaves, andwere filled.
Main types of uses:a “syntactic” cluster
Hypothetic: markinga past hypothetical situationinconditionalsentencesAnterior: marking anteriority in the past (= pluperfect uses)
Г’лаеии’съ:Жено,что сѧплачеши,когоиштеши?Она жемьнѧштиѣковрътоградарьестъ,речеемоуг’и,аштетыесивъзѧлъ,повѣждьмьнѣ,къдеиесиположилъ,ıазъıвьзъмѫ. (Jn20:15)Jesussaithunto her, Woman, whyweepestthou? whomseekestthou? She, supposing him to be the gardener,saithunto him, Sir, if thouhave bornehim hence, tell me where thouhast laidhim, and I will take him away.
Г’и,пѧтьталанътъмиесипрѣдалъ. седроугѫѭ҄:д:таланътъприобрѣтъими. (Mt 25:20)Lord, thoudeliveredstunto me five talents: behold, Ihave gainedbeside them five talents more.
CodexSuprasliensis: more extensive uses of perfectNB: the problem of 2ndperson singular (special rules forEuchologiumSinaiticum!) – avoiding the homonymy2Sg/3Sgaorist and2Sg aorist/2Sgimperative, as inостави
No resultative useSemantically,better described as a discourse highlighting, oscillating between“interpretive” and “characteristic” uses, close to the domain of experiential meaning;Canalso have relative tense (anterior)uses and pasthypotheticaluses (in conditional constructions);Rather,pragmatically relevant situationsthan something else
OCS perfect is clearly not a resultative-based perfect; butwasit ever aresultative-based perfect?The problem is related to the original semantics ofl-participle: probably, not resultative!Adeverbaladjective with “ageneral sense ofquality,sometimes accompanied by modalnuances” [Igartua2014]
OCS perfect is a “narrow” experiential-like perfect not identical to typical resultative-based perfectsHowever, in Modern Bulgarian, resultative uses (along with evidential ones) are widespreadA non-standard diachronic development or a later areal influence?