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question about an irregular consonant declension noun

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question about an irregular consonant declension noun

Postby Nooj » Fri May 01, 2009 12:32 pm

We've been learning the consonant-declension/third declension nouns. I don't recall having near as much trouble learning the Latin third declension! There's so much to memorise, in so little time. We have literally a day and then in the next lesson we cover another chapter.

For the irregular stems in ρ, the book I'm using states for the irregular stems in ρ:
"Elsewhere the accent of these three words falls on the stem-ending -ερ- (or -ρα- in dat. pl.) or on the case ending (in the gen. and dat. sing., where the rule about monosyllabic stems applies normally to μήτηρ and πατὴρ, while θυγάτηρ is treated similarly by analogy)


Is the book saying that μήτηρ and πατὴρ have monosyllabic stems? But isn't the stem disyllabic? μή-τηρ?

My second question is, what does it mean when it says 'by analogy' for θυγάτηρ? I don't understand why it has an accent on the ultima, like all the other monosyllabic stemmed words, when it is clearly a trisyllabic word.

My third question. All the other monosyllabic stem consonant declension nouns, like ἅλς, ἁλός keep to the rule (accent on U if monosyllabic stem) in all numbers, gen/dative singular and plural e.g. ἁλῶν and ἁλσί(ν). But that is not true of the irregular nouns like πατὴρ e.g. πατράσι(ν), not πατρασί(ν). Any idea why?
Last edited by Nooj on Fri May 01, 2009 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: question about an irregular consonant declension noun

Postby modus.irrealis » Fri May 01, 2009 1:52 pm

For the accent of θυγάτηρ, I've seen it explained as being by analogy with πατήρ.

On the surface of things, for πατράσι the stem is disyllabic in this case and so the accent doesn't shift. Same with the dual πατέροιν. The deeper reason must have something to do with Proto-Indo-European.

There are other exceptions as well like the genitive plurals παίδων and φώτων but I believe it's the same explanation here, that an earlier time, the stem here was disyllabic (παΐδων e.g.) and so the accent shift didn't apply (although I guess it later did by analogy in forms like the genitive singular παιδός or φωτός).
Last edited by modus.irrealis on Fri May 01, 2009 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: question about an irregular consonant declension noun

Postby Nooj » Fri May 01, 2009 1:55 pm

My deep apologies, I noticed something odd and you posted while I was editing to reflect my new concerns!
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Re: question about an irregular consonant declension noun

Postby Nooj » Fri May 01, 2009 2:09 pm

But isn't the stem disyllabic? μή-τηρ?

I have a terrible feeling that I've got something very wrong. τηρ is the stem isn't it?
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Re: question about an irregular consonant declension noun

Postby modus.irrealis » Fri May 01, 2009 2:23 pm

No need to apologize. By analogy just means that the accent of θυγάτηρ was copied from πατήρ and μήτηρ. Analogy is an irregular change since it only affects a few words which are felt to be similar to other words and so become even more similar, so the explanation in this case is just that the accentuation of θυγάτηρ was influenced by the accentuation of μήτηρ and πατήρ.

The thing with these words is that their stems has a number of forms, e.g. πατήρ originally had the stems πατηρ-, πατερ-, and πατρ-. This goes back to the complicated system of Proto-Indo-European which did sort of survive into Greek but occurs more fully in Sanskrit (which has a similar accent rule for the genitive and dative). Now the πατρ- stem can be monosyllabic -- it's further complicated because originally ρ could be either a consonant or a vowel depending on the following sound. With πατρός and πατρί the ending starts with a vowel so the ρ is just a consonant so you have a monosyllabic stem and the accent shifts to the end, but with πατράσι the ending (-σι) starts with a consonant so the ρ was a vowel, which developed into ρα in Greek, so it wasn't monosyllabic and the accent didn't shift. I believe that's the explanation but from the point of view of Greek, these words are just irregular.
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Re: question about an irregular consonant declension noun

Postby Nooj » Fri May 01, 2009 5:35 pm

Thank you for your help, it is greatly appreciated!

There are other exceptions as well like the genitive plurals παίδων and φώτων but I believe it's the same explanation here, that an earlier time, the stem here was disyllabic (παΐδων e.g.) and so the accent shift didn't apply (although I guess it later did by analogy in forms like the genitive singular παιδός or φωτός).


My book:
The non-Attic form is φάος; in Attic the stem is contracted and treated like a monosyllabic stem except in the gen. pl., which is accented φώτων.


It also strikes me as a little odd that a word like πατηρ has its gen.plural stem in the normal grade - τερ - and not the -τρα- stem like the gen/dat sing. and dat. plural. It's almost like irregularities were purposefully put there to befuddle beginners like me. :)
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