[B-Greek] tenses of GINOMAI

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Sun Jun 22 07:12:00 EDT 2003

At 1:19 PM +0800 6/22/03, Zhang Jia Jun wrote:
>GINOMAI is a deponent verb. When we say deponent verb, it means basically a
>verb which is passive in form(s), but has an active meaning. Deponent verbs
>normally take the passive and the middle verb forms as such, instead of
>active verb forms. That could explain the reason why GINOMAI only has four
>parts. (I am not a linguist here, so maybe, someone who is more familiar
>with Greek grammar and its structure will be able to give a clearer
>Kevin Teo

1. I cannot let this go by without adding my own note, repeating yet once
again that the term "deponent" is wholly worthless and tends to distort any
understanding of the way voice works in the Greek verb. Most simply stated,
the facts are thus: (a) many verbs that follow an active paradigm in
English or other languages have middle paradigms in ancient Greek precisely
because the involvement of the subject in the verbal action or process; in
several European languages many of these same verbs have a reflexive form
and must be conjugated with the reflexive pronooun; (b) while Greek
grammars persist in denoting the -QH- forms in the aorist and future as
"passive" (while at the same time listing oodles of verbs that are
obviously NOT passive in these -QH- forms and calling them "deponent"), the
fact is that the -QH- morphoparadigms are no more distinctly "passive only"
than the MAI/SAI/TAI;MHN/SO/TO forms are distinctly "middle only"; both
morphoparadigms would better be labeled "middle-passive" for the reason
that both of them can indicate either semantic voice; -QH- aorists and
futures came in the course of Greek linguistic history to be used more
commonly than the older -MHN/SO/TO and -SOMAI/SHi/SETAI paradigms for verbs
that are regularly middle. My report on my research into these points is
set forth in a PDF file which may be downloaded from my web site and
perused and/or printed using the Adobe Acrobat Reader:


2. GINOMAI has forms in all six principle parts:


some of these are less common in the GNT, but a quick review of the forms
listed in the first part of BDAG's listing for this verb is instructive.
The fact is that there is no substantive difference of meaning between
EGENOMHN and EGENHQHN; both forms with essentially the same sense are in
use during the Hellenistic era, but it is evident that EGENHQHN is becoming
ever more frequent and it did eventually completely supplant the older
EGENOMHN. In fact, the two most common verbs which retained some passive
usage in the older aorist MP -MHN/SO/TO forms (as indicated by agent
constructions with hUPO + genitive) are 	EGENOMHN and APWLOMHN. My
endeavor to demonstrate that EGENOMHN and EGENHQHN are not distinct in
meaning constitutes the bulk of my appendix to the document I've cited in
the URL above.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
WWW: http://www.ioa.com/~cwconrad/

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