Friday, October 24, 2014

More historical present

As with the other prominence markers, HPs tend to highlight some kind of discontinuity in the discourse. Usage of the HP at a boundary attracts extra attention to it, helping the reader process the transition to a new topic or pericope. Usage before a significant event or speech accomplishes the same processing task.

Usage that is unneeded for processing serves the pragmatic function of highlighting the speech or event that follows. It directs the reader to pay closer attention to something important. The HP achieves this effect by standing out in its context, on the basis of both temporal reference and aspect. If it did not stand out, it would not achieve these effects. One must differentiate the semantic meaning of the tense form from the effect of using it to describe past-time, perfective action. The HP should be regarded as a marked usage to accomplish a specific pragmatic effect, not a special submeaning of the tense.—Steven E. Runge, Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament: A Practical Introduction for Teaching and Exegesis (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2010), 142.

No comments: