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EAK - preliminary thoughts on verbs

From:R A Brown <ray@...>
Date:Sunday, May 27, 2007, 17:23
Probably not much more will happen to this in the near future as I'm off
to Peru this coming Thursday and will be occupied with packing etc over
the next few days.

It is with the verbs that "Latino sine Flexione" most clearly shows that
its name is a misnomer for we find that in fact we have the inflexions
-re to mark infinitives and -nte for present participles, and that its
perfect participle is derived from the Latin supine! I intend that EAK
shall not be misnamed, i.e. that we shall not retain any inflexions,
even for verbs.

When verbs form the first part of a compound, we find in the ancient
language that:
(a)We have the simple verbal stem without change before a vowel or with
-e-, -i- or -o- added before consonants.
(b) The verbal stem + -si-.

We the singular imperative (as also does LSF), being the 'present
imperative' with verbs that have a 'weak' (or sigmatic) aorist, but the
aorist imperative if the verb has a  'strong' aorist AND the 'aorist
stem' is the simplest part. If the strong aorist has an unusual form,
e.g. εγνών (egnôn), aorist of γιγωώσκω (gignôskò), we take the plural
imperative and remove the final -τε (-te). Similarly, if the verb is
deponent we take the plural of the imperative and remove the final -σθε
(-sthe). This gives. for example:

agápa = love
ággelle /'aNgelle/ = announce
áge = lead  [pres. stem used as the strong aorist has a reduplicated form]
bále = throw
bápte = dip
bè = go
géne = become
gnô = know
do = give
déxe = receive
dókei = seem

As _do_ above shows, the -mi verbs are adopted according to the rules
above, except that:
ίημι (híèmi) is deprecated in favor of _pémpe_ "send"
είμι (eími) is deprecated in favor of _bè_ "go"

However the very irregular verb ειμί (eimí) "to be" will probably obey
the rules above and thus become _es_ in EAK.

One query: according to the above, "have" should be _sxe_ (σχε) /sxE/,
rather than _éxe_ (έχε) /'ExE/. But, although the stems are
diachronically variants of *segh-, would the stems _skh-_ and _ekh_ have
felt _synchronically_ variants of the same stem to the ancient Greeks,
or would the verb have seemed suppletive to them? I am inclined to have
_éxe_ in EAK.

If the verb is suppletive, then an arbitrary choice has to be made; in
this I am guided by forms used in compounds and by survivals in
post-Classical Greek). For example, I propose the following:
fére (φέρε) = bear, carry [rather than _énegke_]
lége = say [rather than _eípe_]
fáge = eat [rather than _ésthie_]

Undecided suppletives:
_érxe_ or _élthe_ "come"?
_óra_ or _íde_ (or even _ope_ in this very suppletive verb) "see"

If one looks in a grammar of ancient or Hellenistic Greek, one finds a
large number of 'tenses'. But this is the traditional grammar usage
which "covers not only distinctions of tense but also aspect and
sometimes further distinctions" [Trask]. Indeed, the tenses given in the
grammar books cover tense, aspect and mood distinctions in Greek.

In the strict, linguistic sense of 'tense', this was poorly developed in
ancient & Hellenistic Greek, the being only a two-way distinction
between past and non-past. It is, therefore, only a small step for EAK
to take to drop tense entirely, leaving it to context to determine time
(as, indeed, in Chinese and many other languages).

On the other hand, aspect was more developed, there being four:
imperfective ('present stem'), perfective ('aorist'), perfect* and
futuritive. In the modern language only imperfective and perfective
remain; but they play an important part in the language. I propose that
we do something similar to modern Chinese, i.e.
- the simple verb form is unmarked with regard to aspect, but:
- we may mark aspect if we wish.
I propose to keep only a optional imperfective ~ perfective distinction,
but have yet decided on the markers (and I might be persuaded to drop
aspectual marking entirely).

*"It is important not to confuse the 'perfect' aspect with the
perfective aspect" [TRASK]
Perfective - "A superordinate aspectual category involving a lack of
explicit reference to the internal temporal consistency of the
situation" [TRASK].
Perfect - "A distinctive aspect most typically expressing a state
resulting from an earlier event" [TRASK]
The AG perfect aspect was strictly as defined above. The 'aorist' forms
denoted perfective aspect as defined above

Ancient Greek had four: indicative, subjunctive, optative and
imperative. In Hellenistic Greek, the optative was moribund, having for
the most part, but not entirely, given way to other forms. It does not
survive in modern Greek. I propose that the unmarked form should
normally do duty for the indicative & imperative [the so-called '1st
person imperative' (hortative) and '3rd person imperative' (jussive)
shall be marked with modal particles]. Subjunctive & optative meanings
shall, when necessary, be marked with modal particle, for example
_eíthe_ to mark wishes.

The array of 'tenses' were repeated in the middle and passive voices for
the imperfective and perfective aspects, but only in a single
medio-passive voice for the perfective and futuritive aspects. EAK will
have no inflexions to denote voice. Middle voice will be expressed by
appropriate periphrases (usually a reflexive form). I have not yet
decided on how the passive will be expressed, except that it will be by
an analytic construction.

In ancient Greek these were infinitives and participles. The infinitives
have disappeared from the modern language, being replaced by nominal
clauses. EAK will, unlike LSF, have *no* infinitive inflection. It will
probably have clauses, like the modern language, but a marker like the
English "to" might be used in certain situations.

Participles can be replaced by relative clauses and will be be so in EAK
(passive have yet to be decided - see above).

Observations on the above are encouraged - but I might not reply (at
least in detail) till I get back from Peru in mid June.

Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu.
There's none too old to learn.


Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>