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PIE grammar made very easy indeed (3)

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  • Piotr Gasiorowski
    III VERBS: The PIE Moods In addition to the indicative mood, used chiefly to make statements and recount facts, PIE had verb forms expressing various kinds of
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 30, 2001
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      III VERBS: The PIE Moods
       
      In addition to the indicative mood, used chiefly to make statements and recount facts, PIE had verb forms expressing various kinds of modality.
       
      (1) The Imperative
       
      The imperative mood was used in commands, requests and prohibitions. As in many other languages, it lacked first-person forms. It is clear that this category included formations of different origin.
       
      The ‘injunctive’, attested chiefly in Indo-Iranian but supported also by archaic Greek and Hittite forms, is formally indistinguishable from the preterite indicative (except for the fact that it was never accompanied by tense-markers such as the preverbal augment in Indo-Iranian and Greek). It can be regarded as an ‘underspecified’ form of a verb, inflected for person and number (and voice as well, though I’ll ignore it here) but having no overt tense or mood markers. For the stem *weg^H-e- ‘carry, transport’ we have the following forms:
       
      2sg. *wég^H-e-s, 2pl. *wég^H-e-te
      3sg. *wég^H-e-t, 3pl. *wég^H-o-nt
       
      For example, *wég^H-e-t, when used as an injunctive, can express meanings such as ‘let it carry’, ‘it must carry’, or ‘may it carry’. In post-Vedic Old Indic the use of the injunctive was by and large restricted to prohibitions with the negative particle <ma:>. The 2pl. form (*wég^He-te) occurs very widely across the IE family as the exclusive type of imperative for that person/number combination.
       
      One widespread and apparently very archaic variety of the 2sg. imperative consists of the bare stem without any inflections (this is analogous to the formation of PIE vocatives):
       
      *h1ei ‘go!’
      *wég^H-e ‘carry!’ (*-e is the thematic vowel)
       
      In the case of root verbs, the root was more frequently in the nil grade, followed by the enclitic particle *-dHi, as in the following examples:
       
      *h1s-dHi ‘be!’
      *h1i-dHi ‘go!’
      *k^lu-dHi ‘listen!’
      *wid-dHi [widzdHi] ‘know!’
       
      The third-person imperative includes evidently old forms in *-tu (3sg.) and *-ntu (3pl.), which look like injunctives extended with an obscure particle (*-u). They are found in Indo-Iranian and Hittite, and so can be plausibly projected back to PIE:
       
      *bHer-e-t-u ‘let him carry’
      *h1s-ent-u ‘let them be’
       
      The so-called future imperative in *-to:t is attested in Indo-Iranian, Greek and Latin, and probably represents an innovation of ‘non-Anatolian IE’ date; *to:t looks like the ablative of the demonstrative pronoun *to- (contracted *to-et), so the ending may be interpreted as ‘hence’, i.e. ‘from now on; in the future’:
       
      2sg. *bHereto:t
      3sg. *bHereto:t, 3pl. *bHeronto:t
       
      Here, either the 3pl. form has analogical *-(o)nt- corresponding to 3sg. *-(e)t-(assuming that the original imperative was *bHere-to:t across the board), or both third-person forms have been simplified (from conjectural *bHeret-to:t, *bHeront-to:t) by dropping the inflection-final *-t before an enclitic. Similar forms occur for athematic verbs:
       
      *h1itó:t ‘go; let him go; you/he shall go’
      *h1sntó:t ‘let them be; they shall be’
       
      (2) The Optative
       
      The optative mood expresses wishes, choices or preferences. It is rather well attested, though absent from Anatolian. In athematic verbs the optative stem-extension is *-jéh1- alternating with *-ih1-. The suffix is followed by the ordinary personal endings (without the present-tense marker *-i):
       
      *h1s-jéh1-m ‘I would be; I wish I were; I’d rather be’
      *h1s-ih1-mé ‘we would be, etc.’
      *gWHn-jéh1-t ‘may he strike’
      *gWHn-ih1-ént ‘may they strike’
       
      There is no alternation (and no paradigmatic stress-shift) in thematic verbs, where the suffix occurs invariably in the nil grade. The thematic vowel is realised as *-o-, e.g.
       
      *bHér-o-ih1-t ‘may he carry’
      *bHér-o-ih1-nt ‘may they carry’
       
      (3) The Subjunctive
       
      The subjunctive mood is used in clauses expressing doubts, fears, predictions, hypothetical or guarded statements (as opposed to assertions). Hence its use in conditional constructions, various kinds of subordinate clauses (speaking of things inferred, assumed or reported second-hand), and as a surrogate future tense -- the future being inherently uncertain.
       
      The subjunctive is moderately well attested. It is probably a rather late category; there is no trace of it in Anatolian.
       
      The subjunctive can be based on durative or aorist stems and seems to have taken the ordinary present-tense endings of the thematic conjugation. Interestingly, subjunctives corresponding to athematic indicatives look exactly like their thematic counterparts:
       
      *h1éd-e-ti ‘(as though) he ate; (if/that) he should eat; he will be eating’ (cf. *h1éd-ti ‘he eats’)
      *h1és-o-nti ‘they might be, will be, are alleged to be, etc.’ (cf. *h1s-énti ‘they are’)
      *déik^-s-o-h2 ‘I may/shall show’ (cf. *de:ik^-s-m, a sigmatic aorist)
      *déik^-s-o-mes ‘we may/shall show’ (cf. *deik^-s-me)
       
      The subjunctive of thematic verbs shows a lengthened thematic vowel, as if resulting from contraction:
       
      *bHér-e:-ti ‘he may carry, etc.’ (apparently from *bHér-e-e-ti)
      *bHér-o:-mes ‘we may carry, etc.’ (apparently from *bHér-e-o-mes)
       
      Piotr
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