Greek article & pronouns (was Degrees of volition in active languages)
|From:||Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Monday, August 14, 2000, 18:47|
At 7:48 pm -0500 13/8/00, Thomas R. Wier wrote:
>No... IIRC there are two divergent developments in the demonstative system.
>The 'ho, he:, to' system had formerly denoted proximative demonstratives
>like "this" and "here" in English.
Probably fairly generic demonstratives, rather like modern French 'ce, cet,
cette, ces'. But even by the time of Homer (8th cent. BC) it had become
the definite article. In the Epic dialect we find nom. plural 'toi, tai,
ta' instead of the more familiar 'hoi, hai, ta'.
Indeed, it is a definite article in all historic Greek dialects from Homer
onwards, tho Homer & the earlier dialects do not use it as extensively as
later Classical Attic did. (Not sure about Mycenaean Greek of the Bronze
Age, written in Linear B)
>From this, it diverged into on the one hand the
>definite article, whereupon 'hode, hede, tode' was developed in its place.
....in the Ionic dialects, including Attic. Thessalian has 'ho-ne',
Arcadian 'o-ni' and Cypriote 'o-nu'.
>the other, it came to be used sometimes as a third person personal pronoun,
>somewhat like modern (dialectal?) German "der, die, das".
? What evidence is there of this in Ancient Greek? The modern Greek
unstressed oblique forms of the 3rd person pronoun are, indeed, identical
with the definite article (as is often the case in the Romance languages);
but these forms developed by aphaeresis from af'ton, af'tin etc (Ancient:
auton, aute:n) - and I suspect mutual influence of similar developments in
Proto-Romance & late Hellenistic Greek.
On the other hand, the definite article was used also as a relative pronoun
rather like 'der, die, das' in modern standard German, in Homer, some
Ionian writers, e.g. Herodotos, and in the dialect of Lesbos, as well as in
Thessalian, Arcadian & Cypriote. This was possibly faciliated by the fact
that some forms of the inherited definite article and the inherited
relative pronoun - hos, he:, ho <-- *jos, *ja: etc. This usage was
eventually superceeded by 'correct' Attic usage & did not AFAIK survive
into the Hellenistic period.
But Ancient Greek also developed another series of demonstratives by
'extending' the definite article, namely: houtos, haute:, touto etc. This
had much the meaning of 'ce, cet' etc (while 'hode' = ce...ci, and
'ekeinos' = ce....là). But the actual development of these forms is not
One strange feature of the Greek demonstatives, even those developed from
the definite article, is that the article is still needed if these are used
to definine nouns, e.g.
tóde tò paidíon = this child (cet enfant-ci)
toûto tò paidíon = this child, that child (cet enfant)
ekeîno tò paidíon = that child (cet enfant-là)
This is still so in modern Greek, where the equivalent of the above phrases is:
toúto to paidí /'tuto to pe'Di/
autó to paidí /af'to to pe'Di/
ekeino to paidi /e'kino to pe'Di/
(Notice how 'touto' has shifted from 'ce' to 'ce..ci')
>'Autos', too, had
>been used as a third person personal pronoun in Homer,
In the oblique cases only, not the nom.
>and so was not replaced as much as kept.....indeed, and have remained so until the present day, at least when
emphatic (the modern unemphatic oblique forms are aphetic forms of
auton/afto(n) etc which, as noted above, are identical with the same forms
of the definite article).
The personal pronouns were/are not normally used in the nominative case,
since the verb endings are usually sufficient. They are only used for
clarity and/or emphasis. In ancient Greek the third person forms, when
needed this way, were supplied by appropriate demonstratives. Modern Greek
similarly uses the demonstrative <autós> /af'tos/ this way.
>The first and second person pronouns had always existed; they are in fact
>with other IE languages' pronominal systems.
...and still do exist. Yep - they are indeed cognate with 1st & 2nd person
pronouns in other IE langs.
>Anyways, I'm sure Ray can come and correct all my errors here. :)
Not many errors, methinks - mostly I've added padding :)
A mind which thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language.
[J.G. Hamann 1760]