Eugene Oh wrote:
> 2009/4/23 R A Brown <[log in to unmask]>
>> Eugene Oh wrote:
>>> "Later", as in literally they arose later?
>> Yes - a bit like the weak verbs in the Germanic languages. It's a drive
>> toward bringing in some sort of regularity. With the weak verbs the aorist
>> was derived by suffixing -s(a)- to the imperfective stem, tho the /s/ could
>> sometimes get 'disguised' by late phonetic development. These weak aorists
>> also had a distinctive set of personal endings, all of which, except the 3rd
>> sing., contained the vowel /a/.


> Does that mean that these verbs were once strong but then in the drive for
> regularity their conjugation changed? I wonder if Germanic weak verbs were
> thus derived too.

There are people on this list who are far more informed regarding 
Proto-Germanic than I am, so I think I'll leave it to them to comment.

As for the Greek, IIRC the division of strong & weak verbs does go back 
to PIE. I believe something similar is found in Sanskrit. Can the 
PIEists on the list throw light on this?

>> I think it really would be helpful if 'perfect' could be dropped as an
>> aspectual label and that, like "imperfect" it was used only as a label for a
>> 'tense' (i.e. a tense-aspect) in particular languages. But I don't
>> particularly like 'retrospective'; while that reflects on the past
>> events/action that led to the current situation, it seems to me that the
>> main thrust of the aspect is the resulting _current situation_. But, i must
>> confess, I can't think of an obvious alternative.
> Maybe "current". Or "currentive". ;) All the suitable words have already
> been appropriated for some purpose or other, that's why it's so difficult to
> find a good name for it.

Yes, I'm afraid we're stuck with perfective & perfect, with all the 
attendant confusion that this generates    :(

> But what would "grapsō" be classified as? IIRC the quartet "graphō, grapsō,
> -grapha, -grapsa" survived into M. Gr. (where I learnt it, a few weeks ago).

_grapsō_ is aorist (i.e. perfective) subjunctive. However, _graphō_ may 
be either present indicative (i.e. present imperfective indicative) _or_ 
'present subjunctive' (i.e. imperfective subjunctive); when it is used 
as a main verb with no preverbal particle such as /Ta/it is indicative, 
but when used in various constructions where _grapsō_ could be used, it 
is subjunctive.

The so-called present indicative & present subjunctive are, in fact, 
identical both in pronunciation and in spelling (In the days when 
Katharevousa was used, there were differences of spelling in 2nd & 3rd 
singular and the 1st plural). There is a single form and distinguishing 
the two uses as indicative & subjunctive is a hang-over from the 
Classical past. Philip Newton is more clued up on Modern Greek practice 
than I am; it may be the moderns have now dropped this archaic terminology.

_égrapha_ is the past indicative of _graphō_, i.e. the "imperfect tense" 
(past imperfective) and _égrapsa_ is the past of _grapsō_, i.e. the 
"aorist tense" (past perfective).

There's modern Greek grammar given on:

Although I haven't read it all in detail, what I have seen seems sound 

>> Incidentally, I found this PDF on the negative imperative in An. Greek --
>>> there was a word, "υΐος" (that's ypsilon-iota-omicron-sigma). How is that
>>> read? [y'ios]?
>> It's written υἱός
>> In the ancient language the word accent was one of pitch, not stress. Also
>> the initial /h/ was still pronounced in most (tho not all) dialects in those
>> far off days   :)
>> The ancient Athenian pronunciation would have been (something like)
>> [hyjjo_Rs] (i.e. there was a rise of pitch on the [o] diphthong. In the
>> modern language, it is simply /jos/     :)
> Ah, thank you. I presume "rising" means like the Chinese rising tone. 

Possibly - though I think the vowel was simply said on a higher pitch 
(i.e. a bit like the 1st tone of Mandarin).

There is, however, a difference between a tonal language such as Chinese 
and a pitch-accent language. In Chinese most syllables carry a 
distinctive tone. In languages like Serbo-Croat & ancient Greek, one 
syllable in a word was marked out by a change of pitch. The _details_ of 
the ancient Greek system are not known, but we do know the vowel that 
carried the change of pitch in the Homeric (as pronounced in the 
Hellenistic period), Koine and Aiolic dialect of Lesbos - we simply 
don't know the others, but by convention they are usually printed with 
the accents of the ancient Koine.

Sanskrit had a similar pitch accent and that is well described by the 
ancient Hindu phoneticians (mainly to ensure correct recitation of the 
scriptures). It is assumed that the ancient Greek pitch accent was 
similar. But there are unclear details (e.g. how was the grave pronounced?)

> intonation fascinates me, especially when I read, say, Aristotle and imagine
> him speaking with florid prosody. The circumflex is low-high-low (rise-fall)

Probably not, I think. It occurs only on long vowels & diphthongs; I 
think it showed the sound started on the high pitch and lowered to 
normal pitch (i.e. a bit like the Mandarin 4th tone, but longer). But an 
acute on a long vowel (or diphthong) probably meant the vowel began on 
the normal pitch and then shifted to high, hence the acute was always 
written on the second element of a diphthong.

> and the grave is slightly lower than high, IIRC. (Please correct me if I'm
> wrong!)

I can't correct you because we just don't know   :)

The grave is a source of controversy. It would appear to indicate that 
the final vowel was not raised - but that would leave the word without a 
word accent. Some think it indicated, as you say, something between 
normal and high pitch. As Sidney Allen writes:
"...[it] might be resolved by some modification of the high tone - but 
it must be admitted that the nature of the modification is unknown, and 
there seems little point in making a guess." [Vox Graeca]

> Eugene

"Ein Kopf, der auf seine eigene Kosten denkt,
wird immer Eingriffe in die Sprache thun."
[J.G. Hamann, 1760]
"A mind that thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language".