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890Citation forms of verbs (was Re: Etym. _karin_: present or aorist?)

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  • Andreas Johansson
    Feb 12, 2006
      Quoting Helios De Rosario Martinez <imrahil@...>:

      > That being said, I don't agree that there would necessarily be
      > anything odd in citing the aorist form of a verb as opposed to the
      > present tense form, _per se_. The actual practice seems to be rather
      > to cite the _least marked_ formation first, followed by whatever forms
      > are necessary to illustrate the other formation classes. It happens that
      > for Latin as for most Western European languages this least marked
      > form of the verb is its present tense; but this neeed not be true of
      > languages generally. So in those stages of Tolkien's languages where the
      > aorist is the least marked form, it would be quite expected for the
      > aorist form to be the first cited. CFH

      The most common form for citation, as far as Western European languages are
      concerned, is surely the infinitive, regardless of how marked it is compared to
      other forms.

      I however quite agree with Carl's larger point - that a form being the citation
      form is no ground for assuming it to be a present tense form. Indeed, the many
      European languages that use the infinitive as the citation form is a powerful
      counter-example.

      Andreas

      [Every Latin dictionary I am familiar with cites verbs by 1st. sg. pres. act. ind.,
      (and then by infinitive). Standard Greek dictionaries follow the same convention,
      as do those of Welsh (e.g. the _Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru_). English dictionaries
      universally cite the 1st sg. pres. So in fact many dictionaries of Western IE
      languages do not cite the infinitive form of the verb first. It is true that many
      do, e.g. for most (all?) Romance languages, and for those Germanic languages that
      have a distinct infinitive inflectional form (though even here the practice seems
      aimed at citing an actual speech form from which the least-marked tense stem
      can readily and mechanically be extracted, which in these IE languages happens
      to be the present tense). CFH]
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