radagasty wrote:I suppose my gripe is that the principal parts of a Greek verb don't really seem to be all that principal. With Latin, with the principal parts, you can fully conjugate just about any verb (the main exceptions being a handful of athematic verbs). Moreover, just about every Latin dictionary lists the principal parts.
With Greek, on the other hand, it seems that the dictionaries either don't bother to list the principal parts of verbs, or, if they do, then the principal parts are buried amidst a heap of dialectal and other forms, in such a way that the principal parts don't stand out. Moreover, the principal parts themselves don't seem all that principal, in the sense that, even with the principal parts, one may not be able to fully conjugate the verb.
I couldn't have said it better myself. It's virtually impossible to predict or guess a particular
verb's conjugation, unless you're well-versed (which I'm not) in the various "families" (as
Smyth dubbed them) of verb stems and their respective conjugations. I'm constantly
finding myself running crying for the answer in Smyth, precisely because so many verbs behave
unpredictably, which is also the reason why I raised up the question in the Learning Greek section
about the traditional Greek text-books and first-year courses obsessing too much about conjugations
of verbs which in practice were used far less than those with seemingly unpredictable behavior.
Those heaps of notebooks filled with conjugations sure did me a fat lot of good.