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Re: Aorist participle?

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  • David Kiltz
    ... 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
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 28, 2003
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      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
      aspectual.

      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
      Latvian.

      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
      stems.

      Similar things might be found in Elvish.

      David Kiltz

      [Thanks! CFH]
    • Pavel Iosad
      Hello, ... A somewhat similar situation obtains in Russian. Even though Russian does not possess the necessary distinction, still a correlation between the
      Message 2 of 4 , Aug 29, 2003
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        Hello,

        Carl F. Hostetter asked:

        > 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?

        A somewhat similar situation obtains in Russian. Even though Russian
        does not possess the necessary distinction, still a correlation between
        the tense of the finite forms and participles derived from a particular
        stem is observable.

        Generally, the Russian verb system revolves around two basic stems,
        traditionally termed the 'infinitive stem', i. e. the infinitive minus
        the suffix -t', and the present tense stem, i. e. the present tense
        minus the personal endings. The first stem is the basis of, inter alia,
        the past tense and the past participles, while the second one yields the
        present-future tense and the present participles:

        delat', 'to do'
        Infinitive stem dela-, present tense stem delaj-

        delaj-u DO-1SG 'I do'
        delaj-usch-ij DO-PrAP-NOM:SG (one who is doing)
        delaj-em-yj DO-PrPP-NOM:SG (something that is being done)

        but

        dela-l DO-PAST (I did)
        dela-vsh-ij DO-PaAP (one who did)

        et cetera.

        I believe that participles can also be formed from different stems in
        Bulgarian, and there is a correlation between the aspectual properties
        of the finite forms and participles (which is even closer to the Quenya
        situation), but perhaps Ivan will enlighten us on this better than I
        can.

        Pavel
        --
        Pavel Iosad pavel_iosad@...

        Nid byd, byd heb wybodaeth
        --Welsh saying


        [Thanks, Pavel, that is interesting! I feel I should offer a gentle
        nudge though to make sure we don't drift too far afield. What I'm
        trying to get at is some indication of how likely it is that a language
        that has a clear present participle vs. past participle distinction,
        the former formed (so far as we can judge from the available
        evidence) at least nearly exclusively on the present-tense stem,
        but also separate aorist, present, and past tenses, would in fact
        also be able to form participles on the aorist stem, either as a third,
        independent class of participles, or as a variant form of the
        present participle. CFH]
      • Hans Georg Lundahl
        Wrote CHF in Pavel Iosad s post: What I m trying to get at is some indication of how likely it is that a language that has a clear present participle vs. past
        Message 3 of 4 , Aug 29, 2003
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          Wrote CHF in Pavel Iosad's post:

          "What I'm trying to get at is some indication of how likely it is that
          a language that has a clear present participle vs. past participle
          distinction, the former formed (so far as we can judge from the
          available evidence) at least nearly exclusively on the present-tense
          stem, but also separate aorist, present, and past tenses, would in
          fact also be able to form participles on the aorist stem, either as a
          third, independent class of participles, or as a variant form of the
          present participle. CFH"

          Likelihood? I severely doubt that JRRT thought in terms of "how likely
          is it that a language with postpositions has a PSO basic word order?"
          which if he did not means such considerations would hardly limit his
          choice of grammatical structures. As Pavel Iosad indicated, however,
          one can in Slavonic languages form present participles of imperfective
          and perfective verbs alike. Where the distinction would be like Q
          aorist and present tense.

          Hans Georg Lundahl

          [Of course there was no question of likelihood in _Tolkien's_ mind:
          the language either had this feature or it didn't. But that's looking
          at the matter from the wrong end: what _we_ have to hand is not
          Tolkien's mind, but the evidence of his writings. And in these
          writings we have a handful of present participles and a _single_
          (potential) example of an aorist participle. Since we know that
          Tolkien's Eldarin languages generally follow Indo-European and
          Finno-Ugric grammatical patterns -- those being, not coincidentally,
          the languages Tolkien was most knowledgable about -- it is natural
          to look to those languages (in particular) for possible examples and
          even clarification of phonological, morphological, and syntactic
          phenomena or patterns that we see, or think we may see, in
          Tolkien's languages. And in areas of uncertainty like the present
          case, corroboration of putative phenomena or patterns in Primary-
          world languages _does_ speak to the _likelihood_ of the correctness
          of an analysis and that the phenomenon or pattern under
          investigation pertains in Tolkien's languages.
          As for my "nudge", it was not meant as a comment on
          Pavel's post, but as clarification based on comments on the
          matter I have received in messages not posted to the list. CFH]
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