Alpha to Eta?

Barry Hickey bhickey at sun-spot.com
Sun Aug 12 19:41:44 EDT 2001


 Carl,

 Thank you for the timely response.  I truly appreciate the existence of a
resource like b-greek.  May I inquire as to which beginning grammars might
best detail such morphological changes?

Thank You,

 Barry W. Hickey


> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Carl W. Conrad" <cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu>
> To: "Barry Hickey" <bhickey at sun-spot.com>
> Cc: "Biblical Greek" <b-greek at franklin.oit.unc.edu>
> Sent: Sunday, August 12, 2001 7:23 PM
> Subject: Re: [b-greek] Alpha to Eta?
>
>
> > At 7:10 PM -0400 8/12/01, Barry Hickey wrote:
> > > I'm attempting a self study of Koine Greek and have come upon a
> question.
> > >Why does the final stem vowel alpha change to an eta in the Genitive
> > >singular and Dative singular of a noun like GLWSSA?  What rule of
grammar
> > >necessitates the change?
> >
> > There are two or three different rules involved here:
> >
> > (1) The stem vowel of first-declension (alpha) nouns must be LONG in the
> > genitive and dative singular endings; so if the nominative (and
accusative
> > as well) is in short alpha, as it is in quite a few first-declension
> nouns,
> > the genitive singular will be in long-alpha + S while the dative
singular
> > will be in long-alpha with an iota subscript;
> >
> > (2) In Attic and Ionic dialects (the basis of Koine forms), long alpha
> > gradually became eta over the course of time; therefore most short-alpha
> > first-declension nouns have genitive sg. in -HS, dative sg. in Hi;
> >
> > (3) HOWEVER, that change of long-alpha to eta was inhibited if the
> > long-alpha was preceded by E, I, or R; consequently short-alpha nouns
such
> > as GEFURA ("bridge") have genitive sg. in -AS (the alpha long) and
dative
> > sg. in A- (also with the alpha long).
> >
> > There are in fact quite a few apparent irregularities in the
morphological
> > paradigms of Greek that can be shown NOT to be anomalies if one is
> > cognizant of the phonological principles and history involved.
> > --
> >
> > Carl W. Conrad
> > Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
> > Most months: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
> > cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad at ioa.com
> > WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/
>




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