diachronic explanation of 1st/2nd aorist

Harry W. Jones hjbluebird at aol.com
Sat May 25 06:20:23 EDT 2002

Dear Ward,

I wonder why 3rd aorists are not mentioned in any of my basic grammars?
I wouldn't even know about them if I hadn't seen a number of threads on
3rd aorists. 3rd aorist forms seem to be important forms to know. So why
aren't they in the books?

Best Regards,
Harry Jones

> At 07:05 AM 020521 -0400, Trevor Peterson wrote:
> >This is probably something I could go to the library and look up if I were
> >feeling ambitious enough, but at this point it's mainly just a curiosity. I
> >think in every discussion I've seen of 1st and 2nd aorist, it's been 
> >presented that there are just two different ways to form the aorist.
> Actually, Trevor, when koine Greek is assessed from the perspective of and
> by the methods of linguistic analysis, there are three patterns for the
> aorist active (and three Conjugations). They are:
> First Aorist (pronoun endings: zero, S, E(N), MEN, TE, N)
> Second Aorist (pronoun endings: N, S, E(N), MEN, TE, N)
> Third Aorist (pronoun endings: N, S, zero, MEN, TE, SAN)
> Similarly, ESTHN (hISTHMI); EBHN (BAINW); and some others, plus all aorist
> passives, where this set of pronoun conjugation endings is simply added to
> the passive morph "QE", which lengthens in this paradigm to "QH". In other
> words, "all verbs have third conjugation endings in the aorist passive".
> This third aorist conjugation pattern is also found in the pluperfect 
> active, where it was adopted in koine times in place of the very jumbled
> pluperfect pattern of classical Greek.
> This is set out in some detail (plus the setting-out of all the points of
> similarity and difference between the First, Second and Third 
> Conjugations)  in pages 81, 96-99, 142-145, 213, 235-237 of my Grammar 
> "Learn to Read the Greek New Testament" (of which many list members 
> obtained a copy when it was offered on-list last year).
> The classification (by some grammarians) of such third aorists as "second
> aorists" is linguistically invalid. They are obviously different in 
> pattern. (Note the similarities and differences in the sets of prounoun
> endings given above for the three differing aorist active conjugation 
> patterns).
> The so-called second aorist passive is not a separate pattern of 
> conjugation, but has an identical set of morph endings with the first 
> aorist passive. The difference is actually that the passive morph in these
> verbs is just "H", lacking the "Q" of the more usual passive morph "QH".
> This is simply what is known as an allomorphic variation. The pattern of
> pronoun endings is unchanged. Those verbs which contain this allomorph are
> listed on page 239.
> >  But what is the diachronic explanation for how the two paradigms 
> > originated? Specifically, it seems to me that the sequence would somehow
> > have gone 2nd aorist, then present, then 1st aorist, then imperfect, or
> > maybe with the last two reversed.
> There is evidence in many verbs of the Second and Third Conjugations that
> they are in the process of transition to First Conjugation forms, either
> fully or partly. Look at the aorists of PIPTW, hAMARTANW, hEURISKW, LEIPW,
> ANAKRAZW, AGW and its compounds, and the suppletive aorists  hEILON/hEILA,
> Third Conjugation (-MI) verbs which have not come to take the -SA aorist
> morph and follow LUW (ELUSA) in their aorists.
> Actually, we can notice a similar transition in English right now: in the
> speech of many people, some participles in "n" such as "proven", "shown"
> have become "regularized" ("proved", "showed"); "swollen" has become 
> "swelled", and past "dove" from verb "dive" has become "dived". A tendency
> in language to move irregular and unpredictable forms to become "regular".
> >After all, I would think you'd have to have the present stem in existence
> >before forms like 1st aorist and imperfect could build off of it.
> There is evidence to indicate that the root of Second and Third Conjugation
> verbs is their aorist. But First Aorists do build up from their present forms.
> >But this is just speculation, of course. As I say, I could probably find
> >some answers by looking myself, but if someone likes this sort of topic
> >and feels inclined to provide a brief explanation, I'd appreciate it.
> >
> >Trevor Peterson
> >CUA/Semitics
> So, herewith a few comments to mull over.
> Regards,
> Ward
>                                 http://www.netspace.net.au/~bwpowers
> Rev Dr B. Ward Powers        Phone (International): 61-2-8714-7255
> 259A Trafalgar Street          Phone (Australia): (02) 8714-7255
> PETERSHAM  NSW  2049      email: bwpowers at optusnet.com.au
> AUSTRALIA.                         Director, Tyndale College

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