participle formation and the prepositional prefix

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hlawson38
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participle formation and the prepositional prefix

Post by hlawson38 » Sat Nov 09, 2019 1:06 pm

I need a reference on how to form participles correctly, in relation to the particular issue of the prepositional prefix of verbs. I can't explain to myself the difference between the following forms, with respect to the prepositional prefix.


ὑπισχνέομαι (the Mastronarde vocabulary entry for the verb in question)

ὑποσχόμενος (the Mastronarde answer key for the participle called for in the exercise)

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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: participle formation and the prepositional prefix

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:16 pm

This is where knowing your principal parts really comes in handy.

ὑπισχνέομαι, contr. ὑπέχω impf. ὑπισχνούμην ‖ fut. ὑποσχήσομαι ‖ aort . ὑπεσχόμην

Montanari, F. (2015). M. Goh & C. Schroeder (Eds.), The Brill Dictionary of Ancient Greek. Leiden; Boston: Brill.

Which principal part does your form match most closely? Aorist is right. Now if you remember that participles don't augment, you have all the info necessary to see how you got from A to B. But what happened to the -ι-? Why did it go omicron? Because the aorist associated with this form is from ἔχω, the aorist middle ἐσχόμην which never had the iota, and when the augment goes away because participle, the compound reverts to its original vowel, in this case the omicron.

(On a side note, why was iota afraid of zeta? Why, because zeta eta theta? Ha! Get it?).

From the perspective of the beginner, ἔχω and its relations are formed irregularly, and the best thing to do is just force march your way through them.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

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Re: participle formation and the prepositional prefix

Post by Hylander » Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:00 pm

Barry is right that these are irregular verb forms that have to be memorized and can't be derived according to the normal rules for present stem and participle formation. However, I think Hugh is sufficiently sophisticated that a detailed explanation of how these forms arose is warranted. It may not be easy to follow, and there's no need to remember all the details, but it will give some idea of the complexity of Greek verbs, and also how there are certain underlying regularities beneath the apparently wild irregularities.

The basis for ὑπισχνέομαι is the verbal prefix ὑπο + the verbal root *σεχ-, which has a "zero grade" form σχ-. (The zero grade form is represented by the second aorist εσχον).

At a point in the evolution of the Greek language before literacy, initial σ- was weakened. Usually it was weakened to a rough breathing, but in the case of the verb *σεχω and its derivatives, initial σ- was simply lost and the verb is represented orthographically with a smooth breathing, resulting in the familiar verb ἔχω. (The zero grade form is represented by the second aorist ἔ-σχ-ον) The loss of σ- without initial aspiration (rough breathing) was due to a rule of Greek phonology that prevented two successive aspirated sounds -- an initial aspiration in place of σ- could not coexist with the -χ-.

However, the finite present indicative ὑπισχνέομαι was formed from an alternative present stem.

Some verbs form their present stem by reduplication: adding a syllable at the beginning with the initial consonant plus the vowel ι. (Perfect stems are typically formed by reduplication, too, but the vowel is ε.) So an alternative present stem was formed from the root σ(ε)χ-. An original reduplicated present stem would have been *σισχ-, but this became *ισχ- when initial σ- ceased to be pronounced. Again, no initial rough breathing due to the presence of -χ-.

In the Attic dialect, the finite present stem ὑπισχνέομαι was formed by adding both the verbal prefix ὑπο and a suffix, -νε-, with middle endings, to the reduplicated root in the form *-ισχ-. (The suffix -ν- was added to other verbal roots in various forms to form present stems; see Smyth section 523).

But the suffix, -νε- was not added to the present stem in the Ionic dialect and the language of Homeric epic, which have ὑπίσχομαι.

The middle participle ὑποσχόμενος was formed by adding the verbal prefix ὑπο to the zero-grade root -σχ- without reduplication, with the middle participle ending.

I don't think this will help you remember the forms, and there's no need to remember the details of these processes, but I hope it will give you an idea of how the Greek verb system evolved and produced so many seemingly "irregular" forms, and also a hint of the underlying regularities -- without confusing you too much.

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Re: participle formation and the prepositional prefix

Post by hlawson38 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 3:38 am

At the end of this post is a question.

Many thanks to Barry and to Hylander for their patient instruction. This explains Mastronarde's explanation which, as I now see, I forgot even before starting in on the exercises. They were so difficult that I gave up on solving the problems myself, and went to the answer key, which experience prompted my query. When I don't know enough, I use the exercises + answer key as an extension of the examples given in the instructional part of the chapter.

For ease of reference I repeat the two verb forms.

ὑπισχνέομαι (the Mastronarde vocabulary entry for the verb in question)

ὑποσχόμενος (the Mastronarde answer key for the participle called for in the exercise)

I was working on Unit 26, in which ὑπισχνέομαι is a new vocabulary word. As is his custom for verbs compounded with a prepositional prefix, Mastronarde printed it like this:

ὑπισχνέομαι (ὑπο)

The third principal part, which I did look up, is: ὑπεσχὀμην.

Is the following correct?

An A student would have noticed the augment in the prepositional prefix in the third principal part. Then s/he would have remembered from the "ὑπισχνέομαι (ὑπο)" entry in the vocabulary list, that ὑπο is what you have when the augment is taken away, as participle construction requires.

Many thanks, Hugh

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Re: participle formation and the prepositional prefix

Post by Hylander » Sun Nov 10, 2019 3:34 pm

Is the following correct?
You're right, except that it's better to think of it in a slightly different way: the augment is only added to indicative forms (rather than thinking of the augment as "taken away" in the participle form).

Note how the second (strong) aorist indicative ὑπ-ε-σχ-ὀμην is formed. Verbal prefix ὑπ- + augment -ε- + verbal root in zero grade -σχ- + personal ending -ὀμην.

Incidentally, LSJ explains the present indicative form ὑπισχνέομαι as follows: "ὑπίσχομαι was replaced by ὑπισχνέομαι under the influence of the opposite ἀρνέομαι ['refuse']".

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Re: participle formation and the prepositional prefix

Post by hlawson38 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:21 pm

Many thanks Hylander. This session has been very helpful, for I was confused about several issues, some of which were "unknown unknowns", studied earlier but forgotten.

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Re: participle formation and the prepositional prefix

Post by Hylander » Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:49 pm

Think of the augment as a marker of past tense.

In Greek, leaving aside the future (which is a special, secondary development), the grammatical category of tense is only applicable to the indicative. The indicative has both tense and aspect..

Leaving aside the future, other moods -- subjunctive, optative and imperative -- and the infinitive and participle have no tense. The only grammatical category relevant to these forms is aspect.

Thus, the augment, which functions as past tense marker, is added only to indicative forms.

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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: participle formation and the prepositional prefix

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:34 pm

Hylander wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:49 pm
Think of the augment as a marker of past tense.

In Greek, leaving aside the future (which is a special, secondary development), the grammatical category of tense is only applicable to the indicative. The indicative has both tense and aspect..

Leaving aside the future, other moods -- subjunctive, optative and imperative -- and the infinitive and participle have no tense. The only grammatical category relevant to these forms is aspect.

Thus, the augment, which functions as past tense marker, is added only to indicative forms.
And just to help avoid future (!) confusion, you will see the grammars talking about aorist subjunctives or present infinitives. That's not a reference to tense, but to the stem.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

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Re: participle formation and the prepositional prefix

Post by Hylander » Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:48 pm

you will see the grammars talking about aorist subjunctives or present infinitives. That's not a reference to tense, but to the stem.
Good point.

The present stem ought to be referred to as the stem of the "imperfective" aspect, with two tenses in the indicative, present imperfective and past imperfective, but that would be just too confusing.

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