diachronic explanation of 1st/2nd aorist

Alex / Ali alexali at surf.net.au
Mon May 27 08:54:27 EDT 2002

I'd like to make a comment on a detail of a recent post from Ward Powers in
which my more northerly Australian friend was mainly addressing the
terminology of the third aorist, though my note is not in reference to the
third aorist.  Ward mentioned in what was a comment in passing,

>(We can note here that the Second Conjugation [e.g. BALLW] is not
differentiated from the First in its pattern of pronoun endings, but rather
by taking a durative infix in its stem, in the case of BALLW a second

Ward, I'd be inclined not to teach students that BALLW has taken a second
lambda as an infix, but to explain its development in relation to the yod
suffix.  In this way it can be linked to a large group of such words.

However, I wouldn't teach the yod suffix to all students.  For some, it
might make the Greek language appear a cold, cerebral thing, and so actually
do them a disservice;  but for some of us, it's a fascinating bit of the
history of the language which actually makes more understandable what is
observed in the pattern of certain verbs (and their relation to certain

See e.g. Goodwin (Grk. Gr, 84, 579-602), Smyth (20, 37a, 507-522), C.D.Buck
(Comp. Gr. of Grk and Latin, 181-188, 360).

Alex Hopkins
Melbourne, Australia

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