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principal parts of ἅπτω

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principal parts of ἅπτω

Postby radagasty » Mon Aug 26, 2013 12:36 pm

What are the principal parts of ἅπτω?

I'm still really struggling with finding the principal parts of verbs. All I'm after is a resource that lists Greek verbs with their six principal parts, but all I've found so far are either resources that list them incompletely, e.g., Mounce's BBG lists only ἧψα as the aorist, but I've since discovered the future ἅψω as well, or something like the LSJ, which tends to list a large number of additional forms in addition to the principal parts.

Why is it so hard to get a straightforward listing of the principal parts of Greek verbs?
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Re: principal parts of ἅπτω

Postby Markos » Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:01 pm

radagasty wrote:What are the principal parts of ἅπτω?


ἅπτω, ἅψω, ἧψα, [ἧφα,] ἧμμαι, ἑάφθην.

Why is it so hard to get a straightforward listing of the principal parts of Greek verbs?

Probably because language is always a lot less straightforward than the dictionaries and grammar books lead you to believe. Give me, for example, a straightforward explanation of the principle parts of English "lie" and "lay."
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Re: principal parts of ἅπτω

Postby NateD26 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:10 pm

I recommend reading this blog post, which impeccably relayed my feelings about overly relying on Greek
principal parts.
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Re: principal parts of ἅπτω

Postby radagasty » Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:00 am

Markos wrote:Probably because language is always a lot less straightforward than the dictionaries and grammar books lead you to believe. Give me, for example, a straightforward explanation of the principle parts of English "lie" and "lay."


Nothing simpler:

To lay is transitive, having the principal parts lay, laid, laid [cf. German legen].
The are two different verbs with the infinitive to lie, both intransitive:
lie, lay, lain [cf. German liegen] and lie, lied, lied [cf. German lügen]

My impression is that Greek principal parts are exceptionally inaccessible, something particular to Greek, rather than simply attributable to the vagaries of language. For instance, it is much easier to find and work with the principal parts of Latin verbs.

NateD26 wrote:I recommend reading this blog post, which impeccably relayed my feelings about overly relying on Greek principal parts.


That may be so, but a learner like me is in no position to judge which principal parts are more important. To be able to conjugate verbs, I need to know the principal parts, and I would like them all laid out for the sake of learning the system, even if some of them are infrequent. I find Mounce particularly frustrating, because he only lists a principal part if it occurs in the New Testament, but that results in random gaps that are themselves difficult to remember. Where a principal part is missing, I often find myself wondering if that is because it doesn't exist, or it is not listed simply because it doesn't occur in the NT.
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Re: principal parts of ἅπτω

Postby NateD26 » Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:08 pm

I understand your point. If Mounce only lists NT forms, you can always consult Smyth's list of verbs, and if it's not there, trying to go through LSJ for the principal parts indeed can be tedious
but it gets the job done.

Let's try doing that.

LSJ ἅπτω

First they list the active forms:

[pres.] ἅπτω , fut. ἅψω: aor. ἧψα:

Then, the passive ones, though not in this order.

Pass., pf. ἧμμαι, [and they add the Ionic form] Ion. ἅμμαι
fut. [medio-passive] ἅψομαι; [fut.pass.] ἁφθήσομαι [and they note it is only attested in
compound form with συν-].

In II. they list the medio-passive forms which were more common:
II. more freq. in Med., [pres.] ἅπτομαι, fut. ἅψομαι, aor. ἡψάμην.

They did not list a pf. act., but they dubbed the aor. pass. [ἥφθην] ἑάφθην v. infr. (verb inferential evidential, which means by inference the verb is suspected as part of ἅπτω, and by sense, probably
connected with ἰάπτω, was hurled over. It could definitely be glossed as aor. pass. of ἕπομαι, to follow. [Source: LSJ ἑάφθη]
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Re: principal parts of ἅπτω

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Tue Aug 27, 2013 3:13 pm

radagasty wrote:
Nothing simpler:

My impression is that Greek principal parts are exceptionally inaccessible, something particular to Greek, rather than simply attributable to the vagaries of language. For instance, it is much easier to find and work with the principal parts of Latin verbs.

That may be so, but a learner like me is in no position to judge which principal parts are more important. To be able to conjugate verbs, I need to know the principal parts, and I would like them all laid out for the sake of learning the system, even if some of them are infrequent. I find Mounce particularly frustrating, because he only lists a principal part if it occurs in the New Testament, but that results in random gaps that are themselves difficult to remember. Where a principal part is missing, I often find myself wondering if that is because it doesn't exist, or it is not listed simply because it doesn't occur in the NT.


For the past 7 years I have been using Crosby & Schaeffer, a very traditional classical Greek primer, and the readings in Athenaze as a supplement to teach my beginning Greek classes. The rules for the principal parts for the regular Greek verb are just as straightforward as for Latin, e.g., παύω, παύσω, ἔπαυσα, πέπαυκα, πέπαυμαι, ἐπαύθην... You simply have to know what tenses are included and how they are formed. The problem is that there are far more "irregular" (as it appears to the student) principal parts for Greek verbs than for Latin. Some verbs lack all 6 principal parts, others use different roots for some of the principle parts, and many have a surprising tense formation due to the consonant or consonant cluster with which the stem for the given principal part ends (although these are actually quite regular in terms of formation, they just take a while for the student to get used to them). C&S has a handy table in chapter 56 which lists the majority of irregular verbs and their principal parts with which the student might have trouble really up through her intermediate semester.

Resources that I know of, besides your basic primers, would include All the Greek Verbs, originally Tutti Verbi Greci. This list lots of forms, mostly what you couldn't predict from the lexical form of the verb, and then gives you the lexical form associated with it. The Vis-Ed Classical Greek cards also include the principal parts of practically every verb included, unless it's as regular as παύω or λύω.
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Re: principal parts of ἅπτω

Postby Markos » Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:03 pm

radagasty wrote:
Markos wrote:Probably because language is always a lot less straightforward than the dictionaries and grammar books lead you to believe. Give me, for example, a straightforward explanation of the principle parts of English "lie" and "lay."


Nothing simpler:

To lay is transitive, having the principal parts lay, laid, laid [cf. German legen].
The are two different verbs with the infinitive to lie, both intransitive:
lie, lay, lain [cf. German liegen] and lie, lied, lied [cf. German lügen]


χαῖρε φίλε Ῥαδαγάστης!

Yes and no. I know, and you know, that only one of these sentences is technically "correct."

Yesterday, taking a nap, I laid down next to my cat.

Yesterday, taking a nap, I lay down next to my cat.

Yesterday, taking a nap, I lied down next to my cat.


But we also both know that in "real" English (and is there any other kind of English?) one is likely to hear all three. We even know that statistically the one you hear most often may not even be the correct one, which raises the question of what it means to be "correct." Language is always straightforward and simple except when it isn't.

But that's a side point. As for Greek principle parts, I did find Mounces Morphology of Biblical Greek somewhat helpful in understanding some of the basic sound-change principles that account for some of the more unexpected principle parts. As a practical matter, there are a few common forms, especially futures--οἴσω, ἕξω, τεύξομαι, πείσομαι (for the future of both πείθομαι and πάσκω) that are more likely to cause problems in reading. Ideally these should be isolated and given special attention for memorization by students.

But yes, you are correct. Principle parts are one of the dozen or so things that makes learning Ancient Greek really hard.
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Re: principal parts of ἅπτω

Postby Qimmik » Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:43 am

Just a few observations:

ἑάφθην is an obscure word that occurs only in two places in the Iliad (except for scholia and glosses attempting to explain it). There's a separate entry for it in LSJ, which explains it as equivalent to the aorist passive of ἅπτω, ἥφθη, but there are other explanations, and it's not even clear whether it begins with a rough or a smooth breathing. (Incidentally, the abbreviation v. infr. in the LSJ entry for ἅπτω doesn't relate to ἑάφθην; it's an abbreviation for Latin vide infra ("see below") and it's an instruction to look below in the entry for the middle forms ("Med." for Latin medium), which are indeed in the next section of the entry.)

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3De%28a%2Ffqh

But the form ἥφθην, although listed in Smyth, doesn't seem to be attested anywhere--there are no citations for this form in LSJ under ἅπτω. It might be inferred from the future passive form συναφθήσομαι, which occurs at least once in the 2d century CE medical writer Galen, but LSJ does give any indication that ἥφθην appears in any ancient Greek text.

In addition, the bracketed form ἧφα doesn't seem to occur anywhere, either, and it's possible that the stem underlying ἧμμαι was ἧπα, but there's no way to tell--although a number of verbs with roots in -π form their perfect stems with -φ-, e.g. βλάπτω.

So really there are only four securely attested principal parts for ἅπτω: ἅπτω, ἅψω, ἧψα, ἧμμαι.

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3Da%28%2Fptw

Learning principal parts is easier and works better for Latin because the Latin verb system was much more radically restructured than Greek, which preserves lots of archaic features without analogical levelling. Even the supposedly irregular perfects and past particples of 3rd and 4th conjugation Latin verbs can be explained by a few simple morphophonemic rules. Latin principal parts, even nearly all of them that seem irregular at first blush, group into distinct and easily assimilated patterns. (Latin was also much more standardized in the classical period--in contrast to Greek, where there are many divergent dialects to contend with.)

But Greek is different: the morphology is much more complex, with thematic and athematic presents and aorists, first aorists and second aorists and perfects, reduplication, apophony (vowel mutations such as λείπω-ἔλιπον-λέλοιπα, but we still have these in English, too!), futures that take middle forms, etc., as well as more suppletive verbs (φέρω-οἴσω-ἤνεγκα, but in English, we have "go", "went", "gone"; "be", "am" "is", "was").

Here again, some morphophonemic rules are helpful to understanding how various stems are formed from a single root, but at an elementary stage, explaining these rules would probably be more confusing than helpful. So brute memorization is a necessity. There are very few "regular" verbs in Greek.

If you want to understand how the many ways that various stems (present-aorist-perfect) and other forms of Greek verbs are formed from a single root, it's worth working through the entire discussion of verbs in Smyth. I think that understanding nasal infixes, present reduplication in -i- and the behavior of the suffix -y- in various phonological contexts (which is not usually taught) are particularly helpful for isolating the verbal root on which the various stems are formed. This won't allow you to predict the various stems on which the principal parts are based, because for each stem there are several alternative procedures. But understanding the underlying processes will help in memorizing the principal parts and, more importantly, in retaining them once memorized.

But ultimately, my advice would be: if you can't stand brute memorization, don't study Greek.
Last edited by Qimmik on Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: principal parts of ἅπτω

Postby NateD26 » Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:10 pm

Qimmik, how is h(/fqh a perfect passive?
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Re: principal parts of ἅπτω

Postby Qimmik » Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:33 pm

I meant to write "aorist passive." Thanks for catching the error; I'll edit the original. I hope it doesn't lead anyone astray, and I apologize if it did.
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Re: principal parts of ἅπτω

Postby Markos » Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:51 pm

Qimmik wrote:In addition, the bracketed form ἧφα doesn't seem to occur anywhere, either, and it's possible that the stem underlying ἧμμαι was ἧπα, but there's no way to tell--although a number of verbs with roots in -π form their perfect stems with -φ-, e.g. βλάπτω.


Indeed, Qimmik, I had thought of that, but the noun ἡ ἁφή convinced me that the root is ἁφ not ἁπ, but as you say, there is no way to tell. βλάπτω does seem on the surface to be a good analogy, but, for what it is worth, Wharton connects βλάβη (note that it is not βλάφη or βλάπη) with βαλβίς and φάλαγξ! and refers us to English "baulk." So God only knows what the original root of ἅφω was. (I suspect that rough breathing may be a remnant of something else.)

Reconstructing unattested Greek principle parts is like intervening in Syria--a nasty business, but someone has to do it. Or not.
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Re: principal parts of ἅπτω

Postby Qimmik » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:30 pm

I think you're right about ἡ ἁφή -- the root is ἁφ.
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Re: principal parts of ἅπτω

Postby Qimmik » Sat Aug 31, 2013 2:56 pm

This inexpensive book has a handy list of principal parts of a substantial number of verbs, stripped down to the forms that are really useful to know, as well as a lot of other useful information about Greek grammar. It doesn't obviate the need for a copy of the 1956 edition of Smyth (the online version is as far as I can tell useless because it's very difficult if not impossible to find a particular section). However, it presents the basic facts of Greek grammar in a concise format that might even convince you that ancient Greek really isn't as daunting as the comprehensive treatment of other works like Smyth would lead you to believe.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0195218515/ref=rdr_ext_tmb
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Re: principal parts of ἅπτω

Postby radagasty » Sat Aug 31, 2013 11:04 pm

Qimmik wrote:This inexpensive book has a handy list of principal parts of a substantial number of verbs, stripped down to the forms that are really useful to know, as well as a lot of other useful information about Greek grammar.


Although my principal interest is Koine Greek, I actually have the 'Oxford Grammar of Classical Greek'. I have as a set of flashcards on my phone all the words that occur 10 times or more in the NT, as they are given in Mounce, but the list is seriously defective in terms of verbs, as only principal parts occurring in the NT are given. I had started to fill in the list by trying to look up the principal parts for every verb, to see which ones are missing, using a combination of the Middle Liddell, the LSJ, the Oxford Grammar, and Decker's Morphology Catalogue, but, of these, only the Oxford Grammar lists principal parts in the customary order, but it contains the fewest verbs, and I often have to resort to the others, which do not list principal parts, but rather a grab-bag of forms, through which I have to wade to identify the relevant parts. I've done this for all verbs occurring 50 times or more, but I am giving up as it is taking way too long.

I need an alternative strategy. I haven't quite settled on one yet, but I am considering just learning the lexical forms as given in Mounce (i.e., just the first principal part) and then trying to find, separately, a list of irregular verbs and learning their principal parts. (This is the strategy I have adopted with German: just to learn the infinitive of verbs as they occur in vocabulary lists, and the separately, to learn the principal parts of strong or otherwise irregular verbs. It seems to work for German, as it is relatively easy to get a relatively complete list of the strong/irregular verbs and their principal parts, but it has not been so easy for Greek. Perhaps I should try to get hold of Smyth.) However, as Qimmik points out, most verbs in Greek are irregular in some way, so this strategy may not work.

Another alternative is just to learn the principal parts as Mounce gives them, but I don't like this approach, because I want to learn all the parts for the sake of the pattern, and, moreover, the random gaps are themselves difficult to remember. I also have ambition to read more than the NT, at least the Septuagint, and perhaps eventually even the Greek philosophers, esp. Aristotle & Plato.

What if I just learnt the lexical forms of verbs as Mounce gives them, and then all the principal parts of the 100 most irregular verbs from the Oxford Grammar? I just worry that I will be missing a lot of important principal parts if I adopt this approach. I don't mind memorising, but it is so darn hard to get a relevant list of verbs and theirs parts to memorise. (I don't want to learn every verb under the sun, of course, just the common ones, at least in the first instance.)

Any suggestions? Thanks.
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Re: principal parts of ἅπτω

Postby Qimmik » Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:12 am

North & Hilliard has a good list of principal parts. It's available for download free on this site.

http://www.textkit.com/learn/ID/51/author_id/11/

I think the shorter lists in Morwood and North & Hilliard should be good enough if you are interested in memorizing principal parts. Don't forget that many verbs (probably a majority) are defective in one or more stems: those forms simply don't occur in ancient Greek literature -- not just in NT Greek -- for one reason or another, and there's no reason to construct hypothetical forms and memorize them. In fact, it would be misleading to construct and learn forms that aren't actually attested in ancient Greek. Those defective forms probably account for nearly all of what you describe as "random gaps."

If the verbs in the North & Hilliard and Morwood lists aren't enough for you, you probably ought to get a copy of Smyth, who provides an appendix of 38 pages of verb forms with about 20 verbs per page--that should amount to upwards of 700 verbs with unpredictable principal parts. (The appendix isn't reproduced in the on-line version.) But many of the forms are rare or show up only in dialects other than Attic, and many of the verbs lie outside the core vocabulary that you would want to acquire at this stage. If you skim that appendix, you'll see why memorizing large numbers of principal parts isn't as effective a way to approach Greek verbs as is the case for Latin verbs. (In fact, if you're serious about Greek, you should probably get a copy of Smyth in any case. Make sure you get a hardbound copy of the revised 1956 edition published by Harvard University Press, which is still in print, not one of the paperback reprints of the original edition.)

Also, notwithstanding my previous remarks, there are actually several large classes of quite common verbs that are essentially "regular" (in the sense that they follow predictable and easily recognizable patterns), for which you don't need to memorize principal parts -- thematic verbs with roots ending in a vowel (including most of the contract verbs) or a diphthong (e.g., -εύω), or in a suffix ending in zeta (e.g., -άζω -ίζω).

And you generally don't need to memorize the principal parts of compound verbs if you know the parts of the simple verbs.

So really the shorter lists in the books mentioned above, plus the (more or less) regular verbs, encompass just about all the verbs you will ever need to know. As you read more Greek, you'll see that you don't need to know as many exotic principal parts as you think you do. Most of the time, when you encounter verb forms you've never seen before, you'll be able to infer the verbal root and morphological form without much difficulty. And don't expect to find the well-ordered regularities of Latin principal parts in the luxuriant jungle of Greek verbs.
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Re: principal parts of ἅπτω

Postby Qimmik » Mon Sep 02, 2013 2:51 pm

If you want to see just how complex the patterns of Greek verbs are, read through Smyth secs. 496-598, which explain the processes that form the various stems for the "principal parts" of the thematic verbs.

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0007%3Asmythp%3D496

This exercise will show you why learning the principal parts of more than 50 or so Greek verbs would simply be a wasted effort. After that, you learn the various forms as you encounter them, just as you learn individual items of vocabulary. In most cases, you'll recognize the various forms even if you don't have an active knowledge of the principal parts.

But there will be some forms that could keep you puzzled for hours. That's what All the Greek Verbs is for.
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Re: principal parts of ἅπτω

Postby uberdwayne » Mon Sep 02, 2013 3:18 pm

After that, you learn the various forms as you encounter them, just as you learn individual items of vocabulary.


This has been my experience when it comes to learning principal parts. The more "Regular" patterns are easy to recognize, but the less regular ones, I think, are best learned as you come across them. My thinking has always been that Rote memorization works better for fluency, than trying to figure out how a form came to being by comparing it with various rules! After all, we don't spend time figuring out tenses in our native language, we just know it because we see, for example, the past form of a verb within its context, not its relation to the other tenses of that verb.
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Re: principal parts of ἅπτω

Postby radagasty » Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:16 pm

Qimmik wrote: Those defective forms probably account for nearly all of what you describe as "random gaps."

I accept that there will be gaps due to defective forms, but I think Mounce greatly multiplies them because the NT is a particularly small corpus.

Also, notwithstanding my previous remarks, there are actually several large classes of quite common verbs that are essentially "regular" (in the sense that they follow predictable and easily recognizable patterns), for which you don't need to memorize principal parts -- thematic verbs with roots ending in a vowel (including most of the contract verbs) or a diphthong (e.g., -εύω), or in a suffix ending in zeta (e.g., -άζω -ίζω).

It seems to me that verbs in -ίζω are not wholly regular: they form their future either in -iῶ or in -ίσω. Is there a rule determining which it is, or it is just a matter of remembering each verb?

And don't expect to find the well-ordered regularities of Latin principal parts in the luxuriant jungle of Greek verbs.

I think you've hit the nail on the head, here. I'm a Latinist first and foremost, and I was deceived by the term 'principal parts' used of Greek.
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Re: principal parts of ἅπτω

Postby NateD26 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:18 am

radagasty wrote:It seems to me that verbs in -ίζω are not wholly regular: they form their future either in -iῶ or in -ίσω. Is there a rule determining which it is, or it is just a matter of remembering each verb?

According to Smyth, if a verb has more than two syllables, it drops ζ and inserts ε in between
the verb stem vowel and the personal ending. νομίζω has three syllables and so its
future is νομί-(σ)ε-ω > νο-μί-εω* > νομιῶ. But σχίζω has only two syllables and so its future
is σχίσω. In later times, νομίζω's future became νομίσω, but not in Attic. (529e)

* The intervocalic sigma drops between two vowels.
** This class of verbs in -ίζω might be considered in the same class of liquid verbs.
(further reading here)
*** The resulting future has three vowels pre-contraction. First, we contract -εω and then ί and the
contracted ω which produces ῶ. (Smyth 55)
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