Imperative ending -θι

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y11971alex
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Imperative ending -θι

Post by y11971alex » Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:09 pm

To me, the 2nd P. sing. act. imperative ending -θι is a quaint and wonderful little creature that pops out at the most unexpected places, but that's part of the fun in Greek. Upon further research that I conducted with some enthusiasm in my leisure time, I discovered that this ending is an exceedingly ancient relic present in almost all I.-E. languages, and it's standard for all verbs taking root stems, i.e. athematic root present, root aorist, and perfect. While only a second-year student of Attic Greek, this transcendence of this ending through so many inflectional paradigms goes a long way to tell us about the way that the prehistoric speakers of the Greek language conceptualized their language.

But the fascination about this desindence has led me to view the standard forms given in my textbook Greek: an Intensive Course in a different light, exactly as my first-year professor prophesized: that it will eventually morph from an authority into a reference, as clearly the Greek speaking world has no great consensus regarding this -θι ending. Most recently, I'm tasked with the assignment to develop a dialogue in Greek, involving a street scene; I need to use the phrase "Stop" as in "stop where you are, stop moving".

Of course, the first verb that came to mind was the middle imperative of παύω, but that seemed rather too vague to my partner, so he instead recommended the perfect imperative of βαίνω; to this I consented because really βαίνω conveyed the sense of moving on foot better, on the grounds of the comparison to βέβαιος, defined as "steady", ostensibly from "having moved but now stopped: steady". Since the perfect has no middle voice, we supposed that βέβηκα meant "I stop", taking on a middle meaning though active in form. He said that the imperative should be βέβαθι ("stop!"), which, while seeming entire correct to me, is not to be found in Hansen & Quinn. Based on what I have read, this should be the perfect imperative, given other perfect imperatives ἴσθι and τέθναθι and the fact that the perfect system is athematic. I tried to stay on safer ground by using the periphrastic imperative βεβηκὼς ἴσθι, which is the form we have at this moment.

I'd appreciate some input if we should use a form (βέβαθι) not glossed by Hansen & Quinn; we've moved away from the textbook now, though its memory is still fresh and vivid.
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Re: Imperative ending -θι

Post by mwh » Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:02 am

I think it’s great that you should experiment with forms, but neither your hypothesized βέβαθι nor your safer βεβηκὼς ἴσθι will work for “Stop!” βέβηκα can indeed mean not just I’ve gone but also I’m in a certain place, state, or whatever, but then it needs appropriate adverbial modification, plus it wouldn’t be used in conjunction with εἰμί (which in fact it often approximates). The word you’re probably after—if I’m allowed to tell you—is ἐπίσχες. You’ll just have to find some place else to use one of those transcendently quaint –θι forms.

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Re: Imperative ending -θι

Post by Markos » Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:59 am

mwh wrote:You’ll just have to find some place else to use one of those transcendently quaint –θι forms.
You can tell your drinking buddies:
ἢ πῖθι ἢ ἄποθι!

"Drink another drink or go home!" You can also use it in other contexts, where we might say "Sink or swim" or "Sh--t or get off the pot!"

Why πίνω takes a θι imperative I cannot say.

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Re: Imperative ending -θι

Post by Σαυλος » Mon Dec 08, 2014 3:15 pm

y11971alex wrote:I'm tasked with the assignment to develop a dialogue in Greek, involving a street scene; I need to use the phrase "Stop" as in "stop where you are, stop moving".

στῆθι!!! works for "Stop!"
Literally, "stand," but also used for "Stop" [where you are].

παυε or παυσον does not work.
That's transitive "Stop him"

παύου or παῦσαι does work
"Stop" [yourself / stop doing whatever you are doing.]
(I'm sure the Aorist is the default for this word, παύεσθαι)

Hmmmm.... When we say "stop, thief" are we calling on bystanders to stop him, or are we telling him to stop? Are we calling out to the thief, or are we alerting others that there is a thief. You can see my opinion in the choices I've made here...


παῦσαι, κλέπτης!
I will babble until I talk. ετι λαλαγω...

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Re: Imperative ending -θι

Post by y11971alex » Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:23 pm

στάτες τε ἀποκρίνοντές τε μὴ παύσασθε γράφων, ὦ γραφεῖς καὶ διδάσκαλοι ἀμείνονες! :)
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Re: Imperative ending -θι

Post by jeidsath » Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:59 pm

ἔπισχε!

EDIT: Oops, mwh already said this.
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Re: Imperative ending -θι

Post by y11971alex » Mon Dec 08, 2014 10:08 pm

jeidsath wrote:ἔπισχε!

EDIT: Oops, mwh already said this.
:(

ἀλλὰ μανθάνοιμι.
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Re: Imperative ending -θι

Post by mwh » Tue Dec 09, 2014 12:54 am

Actually, ἑπίσχες. It doesn't follow the normal rules.

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Re: Imperative ending -θι

Post by jeidsath » Tue Dec 09, 2014 1:02 am

The LSJ claims ἔπισχε and cites Electra:

ἔπισχε, τρανῶς ὡς μάθηις τύχας σέθεν.

But that form only occurs twice in TLG.
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Re: Imperative ending -θι

Post by Markos » Tue Dec 09, 2014 1:23 am

Σαῦλος wrote:When we say "stop, thief" are we calling on bystanders to stop him...
παύσατε τὸν κλέπτην!
...or are we telling him to stop?
παῦσαι, ὦ κλέπτα!
...or are we alerting others that there is a thief.
παύσασθε! ἔστι γὰρ κλέπτης!
(I'm sure the Aorist is the default for this word, παύεσθαι)
That would be my sense too, given the nature of the action involved, but I haven't seen any stats.

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Re: Imperative ending -θι

Post by y11971alex » Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:24 am

But what's the force of πέπαυκα in this case? Is it a pure perfect force, or a resultative force?

As in εἴδομαι vs. οἶδα.

Edit: actually, seeing,
Smyth wrote:1946. Perfect with Present Meaning. -- When the perfect marks the enduring result rather than the completed act, it may often be translated by the present.

Thus, [...] βέβηκα (have stepped) stand and am gone, [...]
Would it be reasonable to cite this to make βέβαθι "stop"?
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Re: Imperative ending -θι

Post by mwh » Tue Dec 09, 2014 3:19 pm

No, see my first response. And you should be wary of using unattested forms; there's probably a reason they're unattested.

jeidsath – There’s ἴσχω, impera. ἴσχε, alongside ἔχω, aor.impera. σχές. Accordingly you have έπ-ισχε as well as the far more common επί-σχες.

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Re: Imperative ending -θι

Post by y11971alex » Thu Dec 11, 2014 12:01 pm

mwh wrote:No, see my first response. And you should be wary of using unattested forms; there's probably a reason they're unattested.

jeidsath – There’s ἴσχω, impera. ἴσχε, alongside ἔχω, aor.impera. σχές. Accordingly you have έπ-ισχε as well as the far more common επί-σχες.
I'm sure there's something quite obvious to you that isn't equally obvious to me.

Do you say that the "stand" conveyed by στῆναι and βεβάναι respectively are different? I'm sure there is a difference to warrant two separate words, but if στῆναι can mean "stand [in place]", why can βεβάναι (= stand = stopped walking) not mean the same thing?
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Re: Imperative ending -θι

Post by mwh » Sat Dec 13, 2014 5:36 am

Counter-question: If it does, why is it never used? There is such a thing as usage (and morphology too, but let that go).

PS I see βεβάναι is once used to gloss βεβάμεν at Il.17.359 (cf. 510), i.e. –ναι glosses –μεν to show it’s infinitive (βεβάμεν not βέβαμεν indic.), so it’s not a real form. Elsewhere this Homeric βεβάμεν (used only in these two places) is glossed with the regular perfect, βεβηκέναι. The phrase is αλλα μαλ’ αμφ’ αυτῳ βεβαμεν, and may indeed mean to stand firm around him (the corpse of Patroklos). They are already standing around him, ἑσταότες (~ Attic ἑστῶτες), in 355. So this is an interesting passage for your purposes. But it’s far from validating your βεβάθι.

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Re: Imperative ending -θι

Post by y11971alex » Sat Dec 13, 2014 10:17 pm

mwh wrote:Counter-question: If it does, why is it never used? There is such a thing as usage (and morphology too, but let that go).

PS I see βεβάναι is once used to gloss βεβάμεν at Il.17.359 (cf. 510), i.e. –ναι glosses –μεν to show it’s infinitive (βεβάμεν not βέβαμεν indic.), so it’s not a real form. Elsewhere this Homeric βεβάμεν (used only in these two places) is glossed with the regular perfect, βεβηκέναι. The phrase is αλλα μαλ’ αμφ’ αυτῳ βεβαμεν, and may indeed mean to stand firm around him (the corpse of Patroklos). They are already standing around him, ἑσταότες (~ Attic ἑστῶτες), in 355. So this is an interesting passage for your purposes. But it’s far from validating your βεβάθι.
Well, I don't purport to be more expert in these mattes. It's just our general observation that athematic forms usually form imperatives in -θι and off the weak grade stem, if applicable, which in this case seems justified to be βεβα-.

Edit: Personally, I believe that there must be some forms that simply weren't committed to writing but would come to a contemporary's mind when called for, but I do not speculate with this in mind. I believe this ability to conjugate is the very basis of inflexion: we, given both the principal parts and the personal endings, should be able to produce a full paradigm except where known to be defective (such as first-person dual forms, which could have existed at one point in the history of all Greek dialects but remain unattested, hence no personal endings have remained extant for our use). If there is a rule for the appearance of the -θι imperative ending, we ought to be able to apply that rule and conjugate verbs with that ending, just as we do with any other ending, such as -ει or -ω; my observation is that -θι appears wherever an athematic, root stem appears, and this may very well be overly general or just grossly incorrect. Given λείπω, we do not need to be told that λείπει is correct instead of *λεῖψι(ν). We're not dealing with a logographic language like Chinese, in which you really can't just create a new character to represent an idea (such as one for Toyota as against the generic car).

May I also direct you to A Greek grammar, for the use of learners, a rather dated book, in particular sec. 88, wherein it is stated, "The terminations θι and σο are used when the connecting vowel is dropped", but I am not entirely sure if in modern study the perfect is still considered "unthematic" as it appears in Smyth. In Note 7 of sec. 91, the form βέβαθι appears, though I understand that this is a learner's grammar and not an authoritative reference. This form is under the heading of the second perfect of βάω, which I suppose is somehow related to Attic βαίνω as LSJ reads βάω = βαίνω.
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