[B-Greek] Deponent definition - active form 'lost'

Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Thu Jun 11 05:23:50 EDT 2009

On Jun 11, 2009, at 12:32 AM, Mitch Larramore wrote:

> While listening to Mounce on his BBG DVD, he mentions that the  
> Deponent verbs "lost" their active forms.
> How is an active form 'lost'? Would not a Greek know how to  
> reconstruct an active form of ERCOMAI rather than using the MP form  
> and calling it active?

Perhaps you should put that question directly to Mounce. Certainly,  
there is no active form of ERCOMAI in any known surviving early Greek  
literature (of course the aorist HLQON is supplied from a different  
verb root). I rather think that this explanation (that such verbs  
"lost" their active forms) derives from the Latin verb "deponere" that  
is used to refer to verbs that have only middle and passive forms;  
"deponere" means to "lay down" or "put aside." This reasoning is jusat  
one of the bizarre features of the traditional explanation of what I  
would prefer to call "middle verbs" in ancient Greek.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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