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

Randall Buth randallbuth at gmail.com
Thu Jun 11 07:13:25 EDT 2009

Mitch egrapse
> 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? >
> Mitch Larramore

>"using the [Military Police] form and calling it active"
Who said that the Greeks would call ερχεσθαι ERXESQAI active?

How on earth could they possibly reach such a conclusion,
without the "benefit" of English?

Sure looks middle to me, and I'm guessing it's always looked middle
to millions of Greeks throughout history. I think we should call it a

You'll never guess what our students call it in our SXOLH:
MESH (DIAQESIS 'disposition') or MESON RHMA  ="middle verb".

And Passives are super easy in the SXOLH: they only occur in
AORISTOS and MELLWN (aorist and future)! Of course we do
tell students that if they ever need a "passive" in the other tenses
or aspects to just use the MESH. French students understand that
like water off a duck's back: that's what they already do in French.

I don't recommend trying to straighten them out by explaining this
with English actives. My guess is that that would leave them in a
mess: trying to think in English along with some self-doubt.

just come with the turf when one learns a new language and enters
a new world.
Universal grammar number one:
we do it like that because that's the way they do it.

πειρωμεθα, PEIRWMEQA  "let's keep on trying ..."
Yes, this is a MESH! Feels good, doesn't it?


Randall Buth, PhD
randallbuth at gmail.com
Biblical Language Center
Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life

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