# Perfective-Imperfective

Vidhyanath Rao vidynath at math.ohio-state.edu
Sun Aug 29 11:22:01 UTC 1999

```[ moderator re-formatted ]

<ECOLING at aol.com> wrote:

> "Durative" implies a lasting over a considerable time, which is not necessary
> to all imperfectives.

My understanding is that ``durative'' means that the event is thought of as
occupying a period of time, so that one can be in midst of it.

> "treated as an indivisible unit" [perfective (NR)]
> vs. "treated as having extent" [imperfective (NR)]

I don't understand these terms. ``having extent'' in what? If time, how is
``having extent in time'' different from ``having a duration''? Also, given
that ``indivisible'' refers to possibility rather than what is being done, what
does ``treated as an indivisible unit mean''? Is it the same as ``treated as an
undivided whole'' (even if it is divisible)? For example, why does `ebasileue
deka ete' indivisible but not have extent?

> [comment:  this is also a fairly typical pair of uses of perfective
> vs. imperfective, combined with what is often a relic category,
> the non-indicative often preserving forms which at an earlier historical
> stage were the primary perfectives.

An alternate possibility is that the rise of a new imperfective has limited the
older forms to a perfective function.

```