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The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive system.

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The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive system.

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Sat Jul 28, 2018 12:02 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:you are confusing. I often read something you write and wonder what the gehenna you've actually said. You make stuff way too complicated.
I sent the following observation about the use of theta "passive" forms, and the others that of themselves take those endings to Carl Conrad himself by email, and his response was that he didn't didn't really understand what I was talking about. I suppose that there is no harm posting the same thing here, (so an even greater number of people can have no idea what I'm talking about :? ).

On his Ancient Greek voice page, Carl Conrad say the following:
4. The verbal infix -θη-is traditionally or conventionally understood as the morpheme signifying passivity in aorist verb-forms in -θην, θης, θη, θημεν, θητε, θησαν and in future verb-forms in -θήσομαι, θήσῃ, θήσεται, θήμεθα, θήσασθε, θήσονται. It should be noted, however, that the future forms in -θήσομαι, κτλ. are derivative secondarily from aorists in -θην κτλ. that are conjugated with active endings and that are formally identically with non-thematic aorist active voice forms such as ἔβην, ἔστην. Indeed, the so-called “second passives” are clearly older and formally identical with these non-thematic aorist active voice forms, e.g. ἐφάνην “I appeared” (or “I was made to appear”), ἐβλάβην (“I got hurt”). While these forms in -θη-have, as I said above, traditionally or conventionally been deemed as markers for passive forms and meaning, they are essentially intransitive and were never used exclusively to express passive sense but rather to form normally intransitive aorist forms that could represent the aorist for either “middle” verbs (ἠγέρθην “I rose,” aorist of ἐγείρομαι) or “passive” expressions of transitive (causative) active verbs (ἐποιήθη “was created,” aorist of ποιέω). While in fact the greater part of -θη- forms in ancient Greek do represent passive semantic force because they appear in the aorist- or future-tense forms of transitive causative verbs, nevertheless a very great number of the -θη- forms are simply the intrasitive aorist- or future-tense forms of “middle” verbs as defined in §3 above.

5. Replacement of older aorist middle-passive forms by “passive” θη/η forms: It is important to understand that over the course of time aorist middle-voice forms in -μην. -σο. -το and future middle-voice forms in -σομαι, -σῇ, -σεται came to be supplanted by --θη- forms in -θην, -θης, -θη (aorist) and -θήσομαι, -θήσῃ, -θήσεται (future). This process began early and is already apparent in Classical At http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/Pics/ic in the verbs that have conventionally and traditionally called “passive deponents.” In the κοινή one may readily recognize this process in alternative forms in the LXX and the Greek NT such as ἀπεκρινάμην = ἀπεκρίθην and ἐγενόμην = ἐγενήθην. This process continued on in the course of the development of Byzantine and later forms of the Greek language. Rutger Allan has shown the distribution of θη forms over the categories of middle usage in the Homeric era and in the Classical era in (sic.)*

*[The reference is not given on the webpage.]

In that page, he offers no explanation as to why both forms - traditionally known as middle and passive - co-existed in a system in which there was only two categories - unmarked and explicitly marked as subject-affected.

The theta stem passive forms (and what Carl refers to as "active endings and that are formally identically with non-thematic aorist active voice forms such as ἔβην, ἔστην", and importantly I might add also ἦν) serve a clear function within the system of the vocabulary moieties within the dual and alternating speech styles of Greek. Formulating that succinctly into the 6th or 7th most important rule that appears to have been followed in alternating speech styles, it can be said that:

    The theta "passive" forms (and the other verbs just mentioned) serve to change a second moiety verb for usage in the general or first speech style contexts.

In other words, when used in the theta passive (or one of the other forms mentioned just now) a verb belonging to the second vocabulary moiety (grouping) is legitimately used in the first (general) speech style.

[Barry, in anticipation of what you may be thinking, it is like that some words are issued with a temporary id card or hall-pass, so they can be in the places, where they would usually be restricted from.]
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And Love, and Death, and Birth, --
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Sat Jul 28, 2018 12:02 pm

I have only one thing to say.

Why was iota afraid of zeta?

Because zeta eta theta, and he's afraid he might be next...
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby Aetos » Sat Jul 28, 2018 2:36 pm

Because zeta eta theta, and he's afraid he might be next...

He should be afraid, very afraid! :lol:
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Jul 28, 2018 5:16 pm

ἑκηβόλος,

You have introduced terminology foreign to classical philology.[1] It is somewhat risky to attempt an exposition of Carl Conrad's thesis. Reading your posts is kind of like trying to understand Standard Theory (early Chomsky) by observing how transformational grammar was used in the mid-20th century bible translation literature, Eugene Nida and others.

There are moments when I run into difficulties with your terminology. I am uncertain about the topic under discussion. At certain points the history of the verb morphology seems to be the focus. But the semantics of the middle-passive is what I see as the central issue in Conrad's thesis.

[1] I do that all the time.
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby mwh » Sat Jul 28, 2018 5:33 pm

Well, no-one could accuse Barry of making stuff way too complicated. εκηβολε, I’m afraid you’re unlikely to find anyone here who will even try to figure out what you mean and give it real consideration.* A catablepas finds it hard to raise his head above the ground. Though I won’t properly engage with them myself (I’m pulling back from textkit) I do want to say that I think your posts deserve better, a lot better.

*Perhaps I should except Stirling whose post I now see. But I fear you won't get anywhere with him either.
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby Aetos » Sat Jul 28, 2018 7:26 pm

mwh wrote:I’m afraid you’re unlikely to find anyone here who will even try to figure out what you mean and give it real consideration.* A catablepas finds it hard to raise his head above the ground. Though I won’t properly engage with them myself (I’m pulling back from textkit) I do want to say that I think your posts deserve better, a lot better.

Michael, I do hope you'll drop in from to time to time. I sincerely appreciate your sharing what is essentially a lifetime's worth of learning and thinking and teaching about a subject that everyone here is at the very least passionate about. I don't know if you care for the term "resource", but you are perhaps one of best "resources" in this forum, which leads me to the point I'd like to make. Quite often, in the "heat of battle", we allow our discussions to get a little too personal, which leads to defensiveness, poor choice of words, emotionally charged statements and counterproductivity (what's our product? helping people learn.) Back in my previous life, we had a program called "Crew Resource Management". One of the key concepts of this was to engage in behaviors that break the error chain leading to accidents.(Not breaking the error chain could and did have fatal consequences.) One of those behaviors was to handle disagreements on the basis of what is right, not who is right. None of us is perfect, but we should make an effort to remember it's really the question that's important.

P.S. I hope this doesn't get me kicked out, but I'd really like Michael (MWH) to stay.
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby mwh » Sat Jul 28, 2018 9:17 pm

Thanks Aetos. I do sometimes wonder if I'm just wasting my time here. I doubt I’ll be disappearing just yet (I’ve already written two other posts in other forums today!), but I feel I should lessen my participation, if only for my own good. Of course it’s what’s right rather than who’s right that’s important, and I always try to focus on that, as I hope you can see from my posts. But there are certain behaviors that are flagrantly counterproductive (to use your word) and the opposite of helpful, and now and again I do venture at least an implicit criticism of them in hopes of remediation. Perhaps that itself is counterproductive, but I would hope not, and you can have no idea of how much I suppress in the interests of maintaining civility!
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby jeidsath » Sat Jul 28, 2018 10:23 pm

I’ve discovered since our last discussion that ἑκηβόλος’s more mysterious postings generally refer back to this theory of his about Greek. Once you understand that he’s pushing a theory that Greek is composed of two separate vocabularies, used alternatively by individual writers, what he’s saying becomes much easier to understand. Here, for example, he’s claiming that these alternating vocabularies are the real reason behind the linguo-historical trainwreck that is Greek verb forms.

His references back to this private theory, and his use of his private vocabularly for the development of that theory do make him hard to understand, but you’ll find that the above link is quite the Rosetta Stone for decoding him.
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Sun Jul 29, 2018 3:54 am

Aetos wrote:
P.S. I hope this doesn't get me kicked out, but I'd really like Michael (MWH) to stay.


In total agreement. Michael is one of those people from whom it's impossible not to benefit, even when in disagreement. A bit curmudgeonly at times, but that's part of his charm.
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Sun Jul 29, 2018 7:38 am

Aetos wrote:
Because zeta eta theta, and he's afraid he might be next...

He should be afraid, very afraid! :lol:

The new order came into play with grand hopes and lofty ideals, but soon degenerated into a power structure, purging, subjugating or ignoring the sounds that fell through the cracks of classification. The legendary digamma was the first to go, and left a deep emotional scar on the zeta that had been standing next to it at the time. In the days before the new technology of writing, with its great ammounts of data being available, and the lessened need for professionals to recite the old texts the /i/ sound had never conceived of itself as a letter. It had always thought of itself as a mere sound, distinct from others, but now along with the nasalised and palatalised /i/ sounds, had been designated as iota. If that wasn't enough, this purely spoken /i/ sound had then unexpectedly been designated as the representative of the other /i/ sounds.

After the introduction of the alphabetical order and the purging of theta by zeta, fears had risen in the hearts of the /i/ sounds, but after meeting together and discussing the situation, they consoled themselves with a few facts. Mu and omicron were the only two letter designations for sound groups that followed the ζηθ sequence in the language. Therefore this newly-formed band of iotas were safe. Unbeknowns to them, the alphabet had become a power structure. The history of that is worth an aside:

    The power and dominance of the alphabet had originally been in the hands of the first two letters - those letters lent their name to the whole alphabet, also known as the corn chips and the double town. During the migration, the double town found his own direction and the then single corn chips, now finding itself with a candy colour and many new roles to fill. The candy coloured corn chips needed a rest, so more of the letters became candy coloured. Eventually, the new order of hierarchy starting from zeta, who had risen to prominence with promises of access and help to the little letters, was established. The old order of titulary hegemony that had rested with the candy coloured corn chips, existed in tandem for some time, but finally broke down with that letter's enfeeblement. Thereafter, in keeping with the practices of many power structures, where the powerful control the little, new little letters joining the group were vetted ever more stringently.
Besides not recognising that the freedom of language had been replaced by the "foreign" alphabet, the iotas were misguided in their reasoning about how safe they really were in the language. With the purging of theta, it was not the sequence ζηθ that they should have been concerned about, but actually only ζη. In this case, the iota was not immediately purged, but rather, for a while was removed from its place as an equal on the line, and subscripted, unable to make a sound except when allowed by one of the other letters. That situation of subjugation by subscript lasted until 1976, when it was purged. It still remains, however, in texts printed before that date.
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And Love, and Death, and Birth, --
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:40 am

jeidsath wrote: separate vocabularies, used alternatively by individual writers,

Alternatingly not alternatively.

jeidsath wrote: he’s pushing a theory that Greek is composed of two separate vocabularies,

Not pushing. I don't have an interest in whether or who else understands / accepts these observations.

jeidsath wrote:His references back to this private theory, and his use of his private vocabularly for the development of that theory do make him hard to understand, but you’ll find that the above link is quite the Rosetta Stone for decoding him.

The idea (theory or observation if you like) - making statement, further development or giving examples of the patterns of vocabulary use wuthin the alternating styles- was censored from another place. Besides that, the record of my.thinking that was stated is not complete there, because a number of the posts I made were deleted, altered or rejected from publication. The ultimatum given in a email was that if I could not accept American cultural norms of discourse, I could not post further. That got the bird.

The positive results of that reaction to new or alternative ways of reasoning and approaching Greek studies could be two things. First, as you (Joel) say, they are my private ideas, and far less than being not understood by anybody else, they are not even understood either. Of course, not being understood is not a good thing. Second, through censorship of a certain idea, a restrictuve side of study within Biblical Greek, has clearly manifest itself.
Last edited by ἑκηβόλος on Sun Jul 29, 2018 10:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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And Love, and Death, and Birth, --
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:23 am

mwh wrote:Well, no-one could accuse Barry of making stuff way too complicated. εκηβολε, I’m afraid you’re unlikely to find anyone here who will even try to figure out what you mean and give it real consideration.* A catablepas finds it hard to raise his head above the ground. Though I won’t properly engage with them myself (I’m pulling back from textkit) I do want to say that I think your posts deserve better, a lot better.

*Perhaps I should except Stirling whose post I now see. But I fear you won't get anywhere with him either.

I'm wondering if Isaac Newton might not be a good person to help out. He puts a lot of good effort into trying to read Greek out. My two aims in develooing and practicing these rules through composition are idiomatic use of vocabulary in composition and fluency in reading aloud. I hope to read more fluently, by understanding the patterns that produce the phraseology. Furthermore, he seems unlikely to be the kind of person to bog those aims down in some quest for scholarly acceptability.
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And Love, and Death, and Birth, --
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:04 am

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:ἑκηβόλος,

You have introduced terminology foreign to classical philology.[1] It is somewhat risky to attempt an exposition of Carl Conrad's thesis. Reading your posts is kind of like trying to understand Standard Theory (early Chomsky) by observing how transformational grammar was used in the mid-20th century bible translation literature, Eugene Nida and others.

There are moments when I run into difficulties with your terminology. I am uncertain about the topic under discussion. At certain points the history of the verb morphology seems to be the focus. But the semantics of the middle-passive is what I see as the central issue in Conrad's thesis.

[1] I do that all the time.

Development of understanding by manipulating terminology is for people who can not conceptualise abstractly. As you no doubt know, I have little regard for terminology, and that is basically for two reasons. First, terminlogy is usually a fudge. It usually contains too much simplification Secondly, it is open to interpretation and reassignment. The conceptual understanding if something should always exceed the ability of terminology to contain it. If one simply learns the definition and usage of terminology they are intellectually moribund.

I am not working from Carl's research as a starting point. Whatever might have been where he started or where he tarried, I haven't considered. I was just looking over his page a couple of months ago, and noticed that a point he didn't make, related to a small aspect of what I had discovered some time ago.
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby jeidsath » Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:42 pm

I regret having said pushing. It was clearly a mischaracterization. However, it was pleasant to have a number of formerly obscure things fall into place. Honestly, I was very annoyed by our last discussion. At the time, I felt that it veered off its initial course and resented the unexplained "dual speech style" references that came in at the middle, which you suddenly took as the main subject of debate. Now I see that this was actually the subtext from the first post, and from your viewpoint, there was no veering off-course of the discussion.

The B-Greek crowd tries to maintain a level of discourse that we obviously don't. Over here it's more of a free for all. We only send actively crazy people or the (more annoying) idée fixes over to the Academy.

I don't read B-Greek though, so I wasn't aware of your epic thread there. I only Googled some of your unique technical vocabulary because your original post in this thread seemed reasonable enough and then stopped making sense to me at the line: "The theta stem passive forms..."

So I'd ask everyone to refrain from the nonsense posting in ἑκηβόλος's threads. I would also ask ἑκηβόλος to remember that his own choices have considerable influence over the character of the discussion in these same threads.
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:58 pm

jeidsath wrote: Honestly, I was very annoyed by our last discussion.

Which discussion was that? Was it when you made strange mention of autistic-level physicists and cheap food? If that, then no problem. I deal with disaffected people every day. There are common patterns to challenging patterns of knowledge - annoyance is one of them.

jeidsath wrote:At the time, I felt that it veered off its initial course and resented the unexplained "dual speech style" references ... was actually the subtext from the first post,

The first post was couched in traditional terms. I had thought through the vocabulary patterning requirements of the alternating speech styles before posting it, but didn't include reference to that in the first post. There was no subtext. I didn't expect much more than a yes or no answer to that previous synoptic parallel question, if that's the thread, which you're talking about.

In addition, ignoring for a moment Michael unexpectedly carving his own headstone in the middle of this thread, I'm surprised it got any air time at all. Barry's good natured riddle was a welcome diversion though.
Last edited by ἑκηβόλος on Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:37 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby jeidsath » Sun Jul 29, 2018 5:23 pm

There are common patterns to challenging patterns of knowledge - annoyance is one of them.


That's 10 points.
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:36 pm

jeidsath wrote:
There are common patterns to challenging patterns of knowledge - annoyance is one of them.


That's 10 points.

Baez scale of crackpot wrote:14. 10 points for each new term you invent and use without properly defining it.
It appears you've read that a different way, but without your misreading, you may not have shown your hand.

    There are common patterns (of people's reaction) to challenging (or new) patterns of knowledge - annoyance is one of them.
Academia perpetuates itself on the premise that it is possible to arrive at knowledge by logic, deduction and proof. Culturally valuable knowledge is rational, and can be tested. The challenge to "prove" something, is an a requirement to genuflect to that idea. These patterns of language were not arrived at by applying logic and proof, but by observation. Nobody working from the basis of logic and proof provided me with this useful tool the observation that certain words in certain senses are used in one or other of the speech styles. To pretend that logic had produced this knowledgefalsification and concoct some proof or derivation for it, would be a falsification and a sham.

Stuck between your designation as "crackpot" and dishonesty, I choose to be discredited. A singer with naturally beautiful song, who performs in an advertisement as a proof of a singing studio's method of instruction OR a model who eats a csrtain food for the first time during the photo shoot for it, present us with a similar dilemma. I have consistently said that I am willing to explain, but not prove the observations of patterning in the language that I have noticed.

If or when it comes time to discuss the implications of this for word order, your belief in the need for internal consistency will be something that you may trip you up, like the need for definition of terms did in the previous discussion.
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And Love, and Death, and Birth, --
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:22 pm

I've asked this question before, and never gotten an answer, so let me ask it again.

Does everybody already agree that Greek is composed by making general statements, followed by specific ones? In other words there is more specificity at the end of a sentence, phrase or couplet than at the beginning, or is that a new and personal observation too?

My point of departure in discussion is that there is broad acceptance of this point, and that what is new in my observation is vocabulary patterning - either words or the senses of words. Is that a reasonable assumption to make in discussion?
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sun Jul 29, 2018 10:28 pm

ἑκηβόλος wrote:I've asked this question before, and never gotten an answer, so let me ask it again.

Does everybody already agree that Greek is composed by making general statements, followed by specific ones? In other words there is more specificity at the end of a sentence, phrase or couplet than at the beginning, or is that a new and personal observation too?

My point of departure in discussion is that there is broad acceptance of this point, and that what is new in my observation is vocabulary patterning - either words or the senses of words. Is that a reasonable assumption to make in discussion?


This bears a certain resemblance to Topic --> Focus which has been kicked around in Functional frameworks (S. Dik, T. Givon) for at least several decades. Topic will be more general and Focus will be more specific.
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby jeidsath » Sun Jul 29, 2018 10:33 pm

I’m only attempting humor. Always dangerous in text-only communication. I think that Greek often follows up general statements with specific examples. But I wonder if there is any language that doesn’t. I suppose it’s possible that there are word that tend to be used in general statements and other words in specific statements. It would have to be demonstrated to me. And again, I’m skeptical that it would be a greek-only phenomenon.

But shouldn’t this be its own thread?

And yes, topic->focus is definitely what I think of.
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Mon Jul 30, 2018 2:58 am

ἑκηβόλος wrote:Understanding by manipulating terminology is for people who can not conceptualise abstractly. As you no doubt know, I have little regard for terminology, and that is basically for two reasons. First, terminlogy is usually a fudge. It usually contains too much simplification Secondly, it is open to interpretation and reassignment. The conceptual understanding if something should always exceed the ability of terminology to contain it. If one simply learns the definition and usage of terminology they are intellectually moribund.


Well, if you are going to talk about stuff, then you've got to have words to talk about that stuff. Not only that, it helps if everyone agrees on what those words mean. Otherwise you end up like Humpty-Dumpty. Say, why is a raven like a writing desk? Because a raven is a writing desk!
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Mon Jul 30, 2018 1:30 pm

jeidsath wrote:I think that Greek often follows up general statements with specific examples. But I wonder if there is any language that doesn’t. I suppose it’s possible that there are word that tend to be used in general statements and other words in specific statements. It would have to be demonstrated to me.

The issue arising more broadly speaking is where to make the break, there are two types of structures. Those where the general things are mentioned in a syntactically complete statement, then the specific things are subsequently said in another syntactucally complete statement, AND where the general things are mentioned followed by the specific within the one syntactic unit. The second type is the most interesting.

In straightforward phrases where the moiety division comes within a single syntactic unit like Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, the break between the speech styles is easy to identify. That us because the words are common and easily recognisable. Marking the speech styles by s or g at the beginning, and the vocbulary moieties by 1 or 2 at the end, I could remark that the ἀρχ¹-family of words are first moiety usually general words, and so is the form ἦν¹ (as mentioned above in the opening post), while λέγειν² / λόγος² are second moiety (belonging to the specific speech style) words. That being said, prepositions afford a degree of flexibility to a word's position. The position of ἦν¹ - an unequivocally general speech style word makes it clear that Ἐν ἀρχῇ is in the first, because the speech styles don't mix. The division of speech styles is therefore easily seen as of here as ᵍἘν ἀρχῇ¹ ἦν¹ | ˢὁ λόγος². The next line is a chiasm, with the speech styles reversed, viz. καὶ ˢὁ λόγος² | ᵍἦν¹ πρὸς τὸν θεόν, and then back to the standard order ᵍκαὶ θεὸς ἦν¹ | ˢὁ λόγος².

The idea is not one of my recent ones about Greek, but I only stated it early last year. The entrance point for discussion of the speech styles was back in April last year, in a post that was perhaps not as clear as it could have been for people who hadn't previously reached a certain basic understanding, or at least awareness of the nature or existence of the speech styles. In the case of Matthew 1:20 (which I explained at that time by both specificity and syntactic patterning - related but at times quite independent features of the language), it seems that the second moiety quality of πνεῦμα is utilised despite it being in a prepositional phrase. At that time, I had taken it for granted that other people understood the dual (and alternating) speech styles, and I was merely offering an explanation about an apparent anomaly. In subsequent duscussion, it became very clear just how pristine certain blank tablets were. Right from the outset of it being stated, the observation of the speech styles was repeatedly maligned using pejorative words like "intuition", as if intuition was somehow inferior to reason. Maligning ideas per se, and maligning intuition as a way of knowing are both undesirable reactions to knowledge.
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Mon Jul 30, 2018 2:02 pm

jeidsath wrote:I’m only attempting humor. Always dangerous in text-only communication.

The humour of the list seems to based on the tension created but its deviation from generally accepted or at least recognised norms.
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby jeidsath » Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:47 pm

I'm afraid that you haven't made your criteria for specific and general clear to me. Why ἦν would be general, why ὁ λόγος specific, ὁ θεός general, and ἐν ἀρχῇ general again, are all a mystery to me. These statements don't look anything like your sign example (general prohibition followed by specific examples).

Also, the list is the product of the wonderful mathematical physicist John Baez (cousin of Joan).
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby mwh » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:42 pm

I’ve now read some of the b-greek thread that Joel referenced, and now have a better understanding of εκηβολος’ thinking, which strikes me as largely fantastical and linguistically crude. I think he goes overboard on the idea of alternating moieties. His model is structuralist and depends on binary oppositions (in particular, one between abstract and concrete or general and specific, used sequentially). Far from being too complicated, it is too simple, and quite inadequate as an observation of ancient Greek compositional practice.

No more from me here. I recant my first post. I was not aware of εκηβολος’ b-Greek identity, which I don't believe he's ever disclosed on Textkit, and I don't read b-Greek anyway (whenever I've looked at it I've run away screaming). I’d have no objection to Joel’s shifting this thread over to the Academy.
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Tue Jul 31, 2018 12:18 am

Michael, great to see that your humours are once again excited.
mwh wrote:I’d have no objection to Joel’s shifting this thread over to the Academy.

I am happy for it to be moved there too. That seems like a secluded place to develop ideas. Alternatively, since the aims of the analysis are compositional idiomacity and fluent reading, it may suit the composition thread.
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:48 am

jeidsath wrote:I'm afraid that you haven't made your criteria for specific and general clear to me.

Reasonabky speaking, specificity should be scalar, ranging from very vague and undetailed to the most detailed of minutae. That was my initial assumption in looking at specificity. I assumed that Greek wiuld be like Chinese, where, rather than being direct at first, statements get progressively more to the point. Surprisingly, Greek seems to have lexical items arranged discretely (as opposed to smoothly varying) into two groups for stylistic reasons. [Is "discrete" close enough to "quantum" to earn me more Baez points?] There is the similarity with Chinese in the order of presentation of material that I expected, but not in the same gradual (graduated) way that I expected. The realisation of the allignment of vocabulary items to the less specific or more specific part of something came quite by chance. During a very early realisation of the issue of specificity and vagueness back in March 2016 I wasn't aware that it was binary.

jeidsath wrote:Why ἦν would be general, why ὁ λόγος specific, ὁ θεός general, and ἐν ἀρχῇ general again, are all a mystery to me.

Is this a rhetorical statement or a request?

These statements don't look anything like your sign example (general prohibition followed by specific examples).

The more confusing thing about that example is the politics of resister in English. The historical class-baded social oppression that employed latinate words as a mark of social status is not inherent in the Greek style systems.

Another drawback in using English to describe a feature in Greek is that taxonomically speaking, "say" in English is the general word, while words like "promise", "bless", "tease" in English are more concrete or specific, as mostnpeople would agree. If you can get your head around it, in Greek it is the opposite. The words that flavour the meaning of "speak" in English, are the contextualisers in Greek. The non-specific word is used as a contextualiser, then "speak" is used to describe the actual thing that is done. Although we need ti translate the Greek general - contextualisers as verbs of speaking in English, they are not taxonomically related in Greek, but rather synonymous (using this word idiosyncratically here for want of a better one) within the speech style system.
Last edited by ἑκηβόλος on Tue Jul 31, 2018 3:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby jeidsath » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:06 am

mwh only said that he had no objections. I don't think that he was calling on me to do anything. For now, I'm not sending anything to the Academy. I think that this is an example of a theory that, even if wrong, can co-exist with good discussion on the Koine board. Textkit isn't meant to be an old boys' club. Threads that destroy good discussion for everybody else, or drive off good posters, can go over to the Academy. Absent that I think we can tolerate a fair amount of eccentricity. (If not, then we're probably all going over to the Academy.)
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Tue Jul 31, 2018 3:24 am

mwh wrote:I’ve now read some of the b-greek thread that Joel referenced, and now have a better understanding of εκηβολος’ thinking, which strikes me as largely fantastical and linguistically crude. I think he goes overboard on the idea of alternating moieties. His model is structuralist and depends on binary oppositions (in particular, one between abstract and concrete or general and specific, used sequentially). Far from being too complicated, it is too simple, and quite inadequate as an observation of ancient Greek compositional practice.

No more from me here. I recant my first post. I was not aware of εκηβολος’ b-Greek identity, which I don't believe he's ever disclosed on Textkit, and I don't read b-Greek anyway (whenever I've looked at it I've run away screaming). I’d have no objection to Joel’s shifting this thread over to the Academy.


Thanks ever so much for your ringing endorsement of B-Greek. Of course, it serves quite a different purpose from Textkit, though with some overlap, and many people have found many of the discussions pertinent and helpful, but like any forum that's been around for a while, there are a few heaps of σκύβαλον here and there. BTW, the individual advancing similar claims to εκηβολος is no longer a member of B-Greek at moderator discretion (I'll leave it to your discriminating intellect to discern why).

In the "for what it's worth category," this simple soul is in complete agreement with regard to your analysis above. Joel has asked that we not make "nonsense" responses to εκηβολος, and I understand why, but it is so tempting, and seems at times the only fitting rejoinder.

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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:38 am

jeidsath wrote:I think that this is an example of a theory that, even if wrong, can co-exist with good discussion on the Koine board. Textkit isn't meant to be an old boys' club. Threads that destroy good discussion for everybody else, or drive off good posters, can go over to the Academy. Absent that I think we can tolerate a fair amount of eccentricity.

It is more likely that good posters will not tolerate eccentricity than that eccentricity will drive off good posters - that is usually done by repetition. So far, discussion of this has not been positively characterised. I think that now that people of reputation have made their pre-discussion positions on this matter clear, and those positions have been understood. Nobody will mistakenly associate them with either understanding of, acceptence of, contribution to or support for these ideas and this system of analysis and understanding.

The originality of these ideas of mine is has been established succinctly and without doubt by community acclamation in a way that I would find difficult to prove myself.

That seems like the most excellent of beginnings to discussion.
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:44 pm

jeidsath wrote:Why ἦν would be general, [is] a mystery to me.

In case that was a serious question, and despite expecting a continuation of the lack of others' confidence in what will be said, let me say that I approach this question of "why?" from two directions.

First, the most obvious way of considering it is that it is part of the original set of words that the theta passive forms of words were added to.

Second, another sort of "why?" question leads to an answer that needs be a little more speculative, viz. The suggestion arising from the grouping of the theta passives of second moiety verbs used in general speech style sections of the text, together with this ἦν and certain other forms is that the ancients grouped words for use in certain circumstances by shape (ie sound for the ancients) rather than by abstract grammar. That is logical in as far as it goes, because speakers of a language speak and write rather than analyse or parse as they use the language. For more than 35 years, I have trained to recognise grammarfrom the lastest (or at least 19th century understanding) then looked for similarities and grammatical patterning in terms of grammar, but this point from the dual speech styles understanding of Greek suggests that there is some validity in looking at Greek in the most uneducated way - the way we looked at Greek when we didn't know any Greek.

Just similarity of shape (ie sound) seems to have been the way that theta passive forms of second moiety verbs were able to come to be used in the general speech style contexts.
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:37 pm

mwh wrote:I think he goes overboard on the idea of alternating moieties.

If you mean overboard by quantity, it might be worth me mentioning that posting about the speech styles constitues about just less than 1% of my posting on Greek. If private correspondence about Greek is included into that total to compare "overboard", then my writing about the speech styles and moieties is less than 0.5% of my writing on Greek.

If you are noting that the idea seems over extended and that it doesn't apply in all classes of clauses, I should perhaps state clearly that I have not mentioned at all much about it.

Confronted with a range of responses to this patterning that seem to suggest that nobody understands the basic patterning, how could I go on to discuss other issues. Things like the patterns of speech style:
  • in subordinate clauses,
  • in some demonstrative clauses,
  • in embedded narration where the narrator alternates with the action / other speakers vs. parallel narration where the narrator alternates with himself while the other action alternates with themself,
    OR
  • about the relationship between adverbial participles and the finite verb in the same speech style vs. in a different speech style,
  • about the reverse speech style structure (still alternating) in some authours, or
  • about the historical development of this patterning from the classical period to the Modern period.

The face I am currently chipping at is γάρ. It is exciting to say the least.
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby jeidsath » Wed Aug 01, 2018 3:52 pm

I was not expressing agreement with your assignments, but was asking "why have you assigned them this way"? What are your criteria? What you say to someone who cleaned that λόγος is quite general while θεός is specific? λόγος is quite a general word, after all, while θεός is a specific individual (for the author). And certainly εἶναι and its forms can appear quite comfortably in either general or specific statements.
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:03 pm

ἑκηβόλος wrote:
mwh wrote:I think he goes overboard on the idea of alternating moieties.

If you mean overboard by quantity, it might be worth me mentioning that posting about the speech styles constitues about just less than 1% of my posting on Greek. If private correspondence about Greek is included into that total to compare "overboard", then my writing about the speech styles and moieties is less than 0.5% of my writing on Greek.


I think he means you make too big a deal about it, not in the quantity of writing, but in your speculation on the subject.
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:47 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:in your speculation on the subject.
:?:
I've been quite careful to only mention the things that I've worked through. There is nobody, who has enough understanding of this for me to be able to use as a sounding board for my speculations. At the outset, more than 90% of my speculations proved futile, but things have settled down a lot since then.

Barry Hofstetter wrote:you make too big a deal about it

In what way? Do you understand what it is yet? Rejecting an idea without knowing what the gehenna it is is a bold leap of faith. I'll probably get more Baez points from Joel for saying it, but, "Have you looked into the telescope yet?"
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:39 pm

jeidsath wrote:I was not expressing agreement with your assignments, but was asking "why have you assigned them this way"? What are your criteria? What you say to someone who cl[aim]ed that λόγος is quite general while θεός is specific? λόγος is quite a general word, after all, while θεός is a specific individual (for the author). And certainly εἶναι and its forms can appear quite comfortably in either general or specific statements.

There is no superscript numeral 1 after θεός. I'm not sure this time and wasn't sure previously, why you are mentioning that I made a claim about it being in either or any particular moiety?

As for a person making some claim, it would depend on my relationship to the individual, who was making the claim. I'd probably not say anything - taking a swing at a wide ball might only get you caught in the slips - better to let it go through to the keeper. If somebody was defensive, just say "Lovely thoughts, I'm glad you have yourself to agree with", or words to that effect.

I've got no sense of responsibility to share my ideas and no evangelical (note the small "e") zeal to bring others to the same understanding or to convince others about it. My aim when I picked up Greek as a teen was to read not to teach.

What I would think to myself is that such a person was caught up on the words used to describe things. I would understand that they meant "general" in the sense of having a wide range of meaning, and "specific" in the sense of unique. I would speculate within myself about suppletive verbs. It is highly unlikely that I would "correct" them to agree with me.

If somebody has another way of thinking about the structure of the vocabulary and its usage, that might work too. Somebody beginning their reasoning from what does it mean to be transitive, and how much effect or change really happens because of verbs will end up in the same ball park (perhaps on the opposing team), a person who looks in the patterns of tenses will eventually notice that tense patterns are clustered, and dependent on what kind of verbs. Why should anybody mindlessly undersrand or accept what I say? I have consistently said that somebody arrives at these same conclusions that I have as premises, then there is some value in it. Otherwise...
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby jeidsath » Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:49 pm

Marking the speech styles by s or g at the beginning, and the vocbulary moieties by 1 or 2 at the end, I could remark that the ἀρχ¹-family of words are first moiety usually general words, and so is the form ἦν¹ (as mentioned above in the opening post), while λέγειν² / λόγος² are second moiety (belonging to the specific speech style) words. That being said, prepositions afford a degree of flexibility to a word's position. The position of ἦν¹ - an unequivocally general speech style word makes it clear that Ἐν ἀρχῇ is in the first, because the speech styles don't mix. The division of speech styles is therefore easily seen as of here as ᵍἘν ἀρχῇ¹ ἦν¹ | ˢὁ λόγος². The next line is a chiasm, with the speech styles reversed, viz. καὶ ˢὁ λόγος² | ᵍἦν¹ πρὸς τὸν θεόν, and then back to the standard order ᵍκαὶ θεὸς ἦν¹ | ˢὁ λόγος².


I'm asking for the explicit set of critera that direct your placement of the s's and g's in the above.
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:16 pm

jeidsath wrote:
Marking the speech styles by s or g at the beginning, and the vocbulary moieties by 1 or 2 at the end, I could remark that the ἀρχ¹-family of words are first moiety usually general words, and so is the form ἦν¹ (as mentioned above in the opening post), while λέγειν² / λόγος² are second moiety (belonging to the specific speech style) words. That being said, prepositions afford a degree of flexibility to a word's position. The position of ἦν¹ - an unequivocally general speech style word makes it clear that Ἐν ἀρχῇ is in the first, because the speech styles don't mix. The division of speech styles is therefore easily seen as of here as ᵍἘν ἀρχῇ¹ ἦν¹ | ˢὁ λόγος². The next line is a chiasm, with the speech styles reversed, viz. καὶ ˢὁ λόγος² | ᵍἦν¹ πρὸς τὸν θεόν, and then back to the standard order ᵍκαὶ θεὸς ἦν¹ | ˢὁ λόγος².


I'm asking for the explicit set of critera that direct your placement of the s's and g's in the above.

What is not said, I wonder, in the explanation that you are quoting that would make it understandable?

Are you asking about the relatiinship between vocabulary moieties and speech styles? To put that another way, are you asking whether a word is arbitrarily in one speech style or the other?
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:19 pm

ἑκηβόλος wrote:
Barry Hofstetter wrote:in your speculation on the subject.
:?:
I've been quite careful to only mention the things that I've worked through. There is nobody, who has enough understanding of this for me to be able to use as a sounding board for my speculations. At the outset, more than 90% of my speculations proved futile, but things have settled down a lot since then.


Spock: It would be impossible to discuss the subject without a common frame-of-reference.
McCoy: You're joking!
Spock: A joke
[pause]
Spock: is a story with a humorous climax.
McCoy: You mean I have to die to discuss your insights on death?

Apologies to Joel, but I couldn't resist.
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Re: The use of the theta passives in the middle-passive syst

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:30 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:Spock: It would be impossible to discuss the subject without a common frame-of-reference.
McCoy: You're joking!
Spock: A joke
[pause]
Spock: is a story with a humorous climax.
McCoy: You mean I have to die to discuss your insights on death?

Introducing an "if" is sufficient to create a common frame of reference. It creates adequate distance for the person considering somebody else's view not to feel too involved, while allowing sufficient scope for empathy, so as to engage with what is being discussed.
I sang of the dancing stars,
I sang of the daedal Earth,
And of Heaven -- and the giant wars,
And Love, and Death, and Birth, --
(Shelley, Hymn of Pan)
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