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477Re: Aorist participle?

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  • David Kiltz
    Aug 28, 2003
      On Mittwoch, August 27, 2003, at 04:57 Uhr, Carl F. Hostetter wrote:

      > My question for the group is: are there any Primary-world languages
      > having an aorist vs. present tense verb-stem distinction that form
      > participles on the aorist stem, either in addition to or instead of the
      > present-tense stem?

      While I'm not aware of any language having a 'tense' stem dichotomy,
      forming participles from aorist stems *instead* of from present stems,
      Old Greek and the oldest Indic (Vedic) both form active participles from
      the present and aorist stem. Indeed, even from the 'future stem':
      (I will only give the active forms, as they suffice to make the case)

      Greek: 1) Neuter present participle active: _paidêu-on, -ontos_
      2) Neuter aorist participle active: _paidêu-sa-n, -ntos_
      3) Neuter future pariciple active: _paidêu-s-on, -ontos_

      Vedic: 1) _gacch-ant-_ (_gacch-/gam- 'to go')
      2) _gm-ant-_
      3) _gamisy-ant-_.

      Note that both the Greek and Indic aorist forms do not (neccessarily)
      indicate 'past'. The difference between aorist and present is rather

      The oldest form of the (present) active participle in Indo-European was
      *_-ont/-nt_. It is of nominal origin. The same seems to be true for
      Proto-Quenya *_-lâ_, which, in its uncharatcterized or 'sex indicative'
      forms shows up in Q. _tecil_ 'pen' < *_tek-la_ or _hekile, hekilo_
      'she/he outcast' < *_heklê, *heklô_ (XI:365).

      An ending probably of the same ultimate origin can be seen in Early
      Noldorin, e.g. present pariciple _madol_ 'eating', _madannel_ 'having
      eaten' etc. (PEXIII:131) which can also be attached to various stems.
      Later adjectival forms show up in _The Etymologies_ (passim) etc..

      A system similar to the Noldorin one seen in PE XIII can be found in
      Baltic which has, e.g. in the active three participles (leaving out the
      _-damas_ participle found only in Lithuanian and Latvian). The present
      and preterite participle active are derived from the tense stem.
      The future participle (<*_-siant_) too is only found in Lithuanian and

      Last note: The distinction active/passive may not always be indicated
      by the suffix. E.g. in Hittite _-ant_ attached to a transitive verb has
      passive meaning (_kunant-_ 'killed', cf. _kwenzi_ 'kills' but _asant-_
      'being', cf. _eszi_ 'is'). In Old Greek and Old Indic too, _to/ta_
      participles have active meaning when attached to intransitive verbal

      Similar things might be found in Elvish.

      David Kiltz

      [Thanks! CFH]
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