Subscribe to Blog via Email
Does modern Greek still use the six tenses of classical Greek?
No, thank God. Although there’s some noteworthy continuities in what has survived: the morphology and semantics are pretty much the same. In the indicative:
- Present: yes.
- Imperfect: yes. The imperfect shows up in subjunctive contexts, to do the work of the erstwhile optative.
- Aorist: yes.
- Future: no. Replaced by a succession of auxiliary formations (μέλλω, έχω, να subjunctive, θέλω); the θέλω formation has prevailed, and is now a θα particle. Just like the will future in English.
- Perfect: no. Replaced by auxiliary formation, with have or be. Just like the perfect in English.
- Pluperfect: no. Replaced by auxiliary formation, with had or was. Just like the perfect in English.
- Future perfect: no. Replaced by auxiliary formation, with θα and have or be. Just like the future perfect in English.
In the subjunctive, imperative, and participle, the present/aorist distinction survives, and is purely aspectual.