LOGIZOMAI: passive or active?

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Wed Mar 13 10:11:51 EST 2002

At 9:08 AM -0500 3/13/02, Moon-Ryul Jung wrote:
>> Yes, precisely. What I have argued is that the -QH- morphoparadigms have
>> become in Hellenistic/Koine Greek pretty much "first middle-passive" in
>> relation to the older MAI/SAI/TAI;MHN/SO/TO "second middle-passive"--i.e.,
>> a newer standard form of middle-passive for the aorist and future that is
>> increasingly displacing older "second middle-passive" morphoparadigms:
>> that's the simple explanation for the equivalency of EGENETO/EGENHQH and
>> APEKRINATO/APEKRIQH. And I think this is exactly what Geoffrey Horrocks is
>> saying in _Greek: A History of the Language and its Speakers_, pp. 54 and
>> 76.
>Why would only the future and aorist have the "first middle-passive"
>Is it purely accidental? I know this is a question with no answers.
>But I cannot resist asking it.

It's NOT a question with no answers. I've responded to it before; here's my
hypothetical historical explanation, if you really care about an answer,
from a few months ago in my message to the list with subject-header,
"[b-greek] Response to Ward Powers re Voice (2)."

>Date: Thu, 8 Nov 2001 10:02:46 -0500
>What I've said about the origin and spread of the -QH- forms is essentially
>as follows; I hope I can make a bit clearer my sense of how these changes
>may have or probably occurred:
>(a) In addition to older second-aorist thematic forms in -OMHN/ESO/ETO
>which once were, I believe, as much middle AND passive in meaning as the
>MAI/SAI/TAI forms in other tenses, there was a "third" non-thematic aorist
>which tended to have intransitive or even "quasi-passive" semantic
>functions. Thus for hISTAMAI and its compounds there was ESTHN and its
>compounds, and for FAINOMAI there was EFANHN. A form such as KATESTHN
>STRATHGOS from KAQISTHMI/KAQISTAMAI might mean "I became Strategos" or "I
>was elected Strategos" (the only public office that Pericles ever held was
>Strategos), while a form such as EFANH TOUTO TO SHMEION might mean "This
>omen appeared" or "This omen was revealed."
>(b) With the growing adoption of the sigmatic or first aorist active
>morpholoparadigm, the opposition of voice-forms in the aorist for verbs
>such as FAINW/FAINOMAI and hISTHMI/hISTAMAI became neatly:
>"active/causative" EFHNA (originally EFANSA) and ESTHSA,
>"intransitive/quasi-passive" EFANHN and ESTHN.
>(c) At some point (and since there are a few such forms in Homer, it must
>have been a fairly early but not immediately sweeping development), an
>extended form of this morphoparadigm (long-vowel, normally Eta, secondary
>ACTIVE endings: N/S/_/MEN/TE/SAN) emerged in -QH- conjugated in the same
>fashion as the -HN/HS/H type. My hypothesis (and I honestly don't think I
>invented this but I'm trying to show why understanding it may help us
>understand the ambivalence of the -QH- morphoparadigm) is that these -QH-
>aorist forms probably spread in common usage among Greek-speakers in
>roughly the same time frame that the Sigmatic active aorists in -SA spread.
>And of course, I'm also saying that these -QH- forms carried the same
>ambivalence as the -HN/HS/H forms: they were
>"intransitive/quasi-passive"--they might even convey "middle" semantics.
>(d) It appears to be the case (but the evidence needs to be gathered to see
>whether this is really the case) that as the -QH- aorist morphoparadigms
>came increasingly into use, the older -MHN/SO/TO aorist morphoparadigm of
>the same verbs became obsolete. It appears that there are VERY FEW KOINE
>GREEK VERBS--certainly very few in the GNT--that display BOTH -MHN/SO/TO
>aorists and -QH- aorists for non-active forms.
>(e) Future-tense forms in Greek may be based upon a present stem, but
>actually the present stem is most commonly formed with an extension of the
>verb root that differentiates the present stem from other tense-system
>stems. Not always, but more often than not, the future stem is built upon
>the same form of the verb root as the aorist stem. I would guess that just
>as, with expansion of the -SA aorist, futures in -SW/SOMAI came
>increasingly to complement aorist actives in -SA/SAMHN; in the same manner
>future-tense stems of the -QH- morphoparadigm developed -QHSOMAI/Hi/ETAI
>forms to complement the -QHN/QHS/QH aorist forms and that these future
>forms also carried the same ambivalence as the -QH- aorists: intransitive,
>quasi-passive, middle semantics as called for by the particular verb and
>the context. And here too, by and large, the futures in -QHSOMAI tended to
>supplant the older middle futures in -SOMAI.
>That's a hypothetical account of how I think these morphoparadigms may have
>developed and spread--and I believe it helps to explain WHY they spread


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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