iterative -SKO, -SKE

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Fri May 3 09:41:27 EDT 2002

At 10:38 PM -0700 5/2/02, c stirling bartholomew wrote:
>Hello Manolis,
>You wrote:
>> According to most Greek grammars, iteration in verbs (produced by other
>> verbs) is regularly denoted by the suffixes -AZW, -IZW, -UZW . The ending
>> -SKW is considered to denote the beginning of an action (that's why -SKW
>> verbs are usually described as ENARKTIKA).
>Smyth, Monro, Robertson all mention -SKO/SKE as an iterative suffix.
>Robertson comments about IZW (pp.149, 351) saying that it has become so
>common in the Koine that it no longer has an intensive, iterative or
>causative force. He also seems to play down the significance of -SKO/SKE in
>the Koine as an iterative suffix (p.352).
>> However, no matter what the semantic aspects of -SKW might initialy have
>> been, it certainly didn't function anymore as a productive suffix in NT
>> Greek. As far as I know, this remark applies to any other verbal suffix as
>> well.
>Yes, this was the main point. If you want to communicate an iterative notion
>in Koine you do it through lexical choice, not by inflection.

I don't really disagree with what's been said but would like to add a
little quibble: although the -SK- infix with thematic endings does appear
in Homer and Herodotus with present and aorist stems, the same -SK- element
is one of the formative elements for present-tense-stems such as GINWSKW,
BLWSKW, QNHiSKW, FASKW, ARARISKW KTL; yet this is different, I think, from
use of the infix with a present or aorist stem. It's noteworthy that the
above verbs have aorists without the -SK- (EGNWN, EMOLON, EQANON, EFHSA,

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months:: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at OR cwconrad at

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