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Tense is at its most interesting when it behaves badly. In this book Arjan Nijk investigates the variation between the past and present tenses to refer to past events in Classical Greek and beyond. Adopting a cognitive approach to the issue, he argues that the use of the present for preterite depends on the activation of implicit conceptual scenarios in which the gap between the past and the present is bridged. The book is distinguished from previous accounts by its precision in describing these conceptual scenarios, the combination of linguistic theorising with philological and statistical methods, the size of the corpus under investigation and the explicitly cross-linguistic scope. It provides a complete overview of the phenomenon of tense switching in Classical Greek, as well as new theoretical perspectives on deixis and viewpoint, and is important for classicists, narratologists and linguists of every stamp.
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