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principal parts and what they really mean.

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principal parts and what they really mean.

Postby psilord » Tue Jan 10, 2006 9:04 am

[This is an email I was going to send to a friend, but realized that it might be better served being posted here since it could help people realize the importance and *meaning* of the principal part. The "verb grinder" in question is: http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~psilord/verb/test.html
It'll work if you have firefox and is in alpha stages (and this version is far older in code development and data specification than the version I have on my box at home). Its purpose is to act like a "501 Spanish Verbs" style book which simply shows all the conjugations of a verb with some commentary about them when necessary. It is intended for composition, not translation.]


After staring a LONG time (days) at pharr 807, 810, and 811, I think I finally saw near enlightenment about how the principal parts relate to the tense system and individual inflections of a verb.

I think I've been labeling--and thinking about, principal parts wrongly:

They should be specified (in my verb grinder) like this instead:

1. Present
2. Future OR Future Mediopassive
3a. First Aorist
3b. Second Aorist
4a. First Perfect Active
4b. Second Perfect Active
5. Perfect Mediopassive
6a. First Aorist Passive
6b. Second Aorist Passive

In the above, unless the voice is specified in pharr 807, it means all voices, and since no modes are specified, it means all modes (for each principal part). This was one of the major parts I didn't really understand until just now.

Although, I'm a little confused in pharr 810 over the terminology "first (or second) perfect active)". Does this mean either or, or could it mean both?

However, now if I had the "present" principal part (for lu/w), that means the same stem (lu-) is used for (channeling pharr 807):

Code: Select all
Active
    Indicative
        Present
        Imperfect
    Subjunctive
        Present
    Optative
        Present
    Imperative
        Present
Middle
    Indicative
        Present
        Imperfect
    Subjunctive
        Present
    Optative
        Present
    Imperative
        Present


The Passive voice only exists in the aorist tense, so by definition I cannot apply the Present principal part to it in any mode.

Is this right?

So, a small question, basic as it is, is how come there is no "Active Subjunctive Future" for lu/w, and would there EVER be such a thing (and what would it mean)?

A large question is how do I know what tenses can go with what modes in general for a verb? Another question is how do the endings for the (say above specified present principal part specification) relate to the fact the stem is being used there? No relation at all? This is what I'm figuring.... Simply the stem is used in the right place and nothing more....

I just stumbled across this:
http://www.orbilat.com/Languages/Latin/Alternative_Grammars/Harris_Grammar/Latin-Harris_13.html

which quotes:

"Note: There is no Future Subjunctive or Future Perfect Subjunctive, for a perfectly logical reason: The idea of the Future is part of a quasi-real set of parameters (Past Present Future), whereas the basic idea of the Subjunctive is vested in "Un-reality". In the realm of the Future the idea of Subjunctivity or un-reality simply does not fit!"

Hopefully, I'm slowly beginning to understand this stuff.

Am I on the right track?

Thank you.


P.S. This is one of the major reasons why I'm so late with my homeworks for pharr-c. I just HAD to understand this stuff before I could continue. I was being destroyed by my misunderstandings on this topic since the verbs forms are all introduced so quickly and you're supposed to be able to understand how to inflect them as a combination of voice, mode, and tense, with a dictionary definition of only principal parts.
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Re: principal parts and what they really mean.

Postby spiphany » Tue Jan 10, 2006 5:11 pm

IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: principal parts and what they really mean.

Postby psilord » Fri Jan 13, 2006 6:45 am

spiphany wrote:But don't worry if you don't understand it all at once. This stuff is confusing. There is a kind of system to the formation of the Greek verb, but nothing which is entirely straightforward or easily explained. Mostly you just have to keep working on it and thinking about it, and one day it will all fall into place.


Ok, lesse if I can give the big list of doom properly:

1. present
2. (a)future active and/or (b)future mediopassive
3. (a)first aorist active and/or (b)second aorist active
4. (a)first perfect active and/or (b)second perfect active
5. perfect mediopassive
6. (a)first aorist passive and/or (b)second aorist passive

Now, let's analyze a verb from the dictionary, how about bai/nw, that looks like a good one....

bai/nw, bh/sw [bh/somai], e)/bhsa [e)/bhn], be/bhka, be/bamai, e)ba/qhn

Using the identification system above...

1. bai/nw
2. (a) bh/sw AND (b) bh/somai
3. (a) e)/bhsa AND (b) e)/bhn
4. (a) be/bhka
5. be/bamai
6. (a) e)ba/qhn

Is this correct?

Suppose only the second perfect active had been given in 4 (being no first perfect active), how would that get represented in the dictionary entry, or would I just have to "know" that it was a second perfect active, and not a first?

In 5, could I have a perfect middle AND a perfect passive?

I guess what I'm asking for is if a verb had ALL possible principal parts (I know in reality this is not true), what would be each one of them?

Thanks. I greatly appreciate your help.
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Re: principal parts and what they really mean.

Postby annis » Sat Jan 14, 2006 12:23 am

psilord wrote:I guess what I'm asking for is if a verb had ALL possible principal parts (I know in reality this is not true), what would be each one of them?


Take a look at Smyth sec. 367-380, especially 368.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
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Postby spiphany » Sat Jan 14, 2006 4:46 pm

I'm not sure I like the term "mediopassive" -- it seems destined to cause a great deal of confusion for beginners in cases where middle and passive are not identical.

For your sample verb, βαίνω may not be the best choice here, as it has a number of unusual features. The form *βήσω does not exist. The future is deponent, which is why it's listed as βήσομαι in the dictionary. If the future did exist in the active, though, your form would be correct. *ἔβησα does not exist either. The aorist form ἔβην is not a regular second aorist, but what is known as a root aorist. Root aorists conjugate a bit differently, and are generally introduced along with -μι verbs. There are about a dozen verbs all told which have root aorists.

psilord wrote:In 5, could I have a perfect middle AND a perfect passive?

In the perfect, the forms for the middle and passive are identical.

One thing I think may be confusing you is the distinction between the principle parts and the forms a verb takes. Or maybe I'm just confused about whether the list you're making is of principle parts, or forms derived from each principle part.

psilord wrote:I guess what I'm asking for is if a verb had ALL possible principal parts (I know in reality this is not true), what would be each one of them?

You can't really predict how a verb will form each principle part, if that's what you're trying to figure out. There are patterns you will start to recognize after a while, but generally it's best just to memorize them.

A perfectly regular verb (like λύω) will use the first aorist and first perfect forms.
There is no difference in conjugation for a first and a second perfect, or a first and second aorist passive. I don't know how you learned the tense endings; some books list them as beginning with -κα and -θην respectively. The kappa and theta aren't really part of the personal endings; they're part of the tense indicator. A second perfect is simply a perfect which drops the kappa (or variant thereof, such as χ) and uses something else instead, generally because of euphony. Same thing with the theta of the aorist passive. The point is that you don't need to worry to much about the distinction except for knowing what the form is for a particular verb. Similarly, there are also asigmatic first aorists for verbs like ἀγγέλλω (ἤγγειλα) and μένω (ἔμεινα).

A second aorist active, however, is different. It conjugates just like the imperfect. There's usually also a shift in the quantity of the vowel, as in λείπω, λείψω, ἔλιπον.
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Postby Paul » Sat Jan 14, 2006 8:11 pm

spiphany wrote:The form *βήσω does not exist.

βήσω is hard to find. But it does appear in compounds; cf. Eurpides I.T. line 742.

spiphany wrote:*ἔβησα does not exist either.

Here see Theocritus Idyll 25, line 213.

Cordially,

Paul
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Postby spiphany » Sat Jan 14, 2006 11:19 pm

I beg your pardon. Evidently I phrased myself badly. Thank you for correcting me.

However, the point I was making is that these are not standard forms, and do not appear in dictionaries. Whether one author or another used these forms (or compounds thereof, which is a not quite the same thing) on some rare occasion is not really relevant to the issue I was trying to address.
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Postby Paul » Sun Jan 15, 2006 12:45 am

spiphany wrote:I beg your pardon. Evidently I phrased myself badly. Thank you for correcting me.


Please, you needn't beg pardon of me. Despite my impending dotage, I am capable of considerable informality. :)

spiphany wrote:However, the point I was making is that these are not standard forms, and do not appear in dictionaries. Whether one author or another used these forms (or compounds thereof, which is a not quite the same thing) on some rare occasion is not really relevant to the issue I was trying to address.


They do appear in dictionaries, e.g., the Great Scott, Marinone's "All The Greek Verbs", and Vecchi and Sacchi's "Verbi Greci".

I agree that a compound word is not the same as its components. But these components have a lexical existence independent of the compound. Hence, again, these forms of bai/nw exist.

Cordially,

Paul
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Re: principal parts and what they really mean.

Postby psilord » Sun Jan 15, 2006 9:22 am

annis wrote:Take a look at Smyth sec. 367-380, especially 368.


Excellent! That is EXACTLY the information for which I was searching.

Thanks!
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Postby psilord » Sun Jan 15, 2006 9:27 am

spiphany wrote:However, the point I was making is that these are not standard forms, and do not appear in dictionaries.


See, those forms are what I took from the back dictionary of the Pharr textbook for bai/nw. As a beginner, I have no real idea of rarity of anything. I simply shove all of it into my head unless something specifically says that I shouldn't.

And, I've noticed that as soon as your told something is rare, it shows up a bunch of times in the work you have to do, so you end up learning it anyway. :)
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Postby spiphany » Sun Jan 15, 2006 4:07 pm

psilord, I'm sorry. I've been doing a bit of checking and just realized where you got the forms. This seems to be an Attic/Homeric difference -- my education so far has been almost entirely Attic, and none of my books mention the other forms at all. So I couldn't figure out where you were getting them from and thought you were extrapolating. (I'm still a bit puzzled, though, as to why Liddell, which is supposed to include epic forms, hardly mentions them.) My inexperience here showing, I guess.
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Postby psilord » Tue Jan 31, 2006 6:32 am

Out of curiosity, for a verb, can there be more than one first person singular for a specific principal part in the same dialect of greek?
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Postby Bert » Tue Jan 31, 2006 11:03 am

psilord wrote:Out of curiosity, for a verb, can there be more than one first person singular for a specific principal part in the same dialect of greek?

There are a few verbs that were in the process of changing from μι to ω endings that that can be found in both forms but I cannot think of an example right now.[/list]
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Postby psilord » Tue Jan 31, 2006 10:36 pm

Thanks. I appreciate it.
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