το ρήματο - το 2ʹ μέρο
Verbs - Part 2
On this page I deal first with impersonal verbs and then examine how the invariable ΤΑΚΕ verb, with no inflexions, handles
tense, mood, voice and non-finite forms
1. Impersonal Verbs
It will have been noticed from examples on other pages that, unlike ancient Greek where verbs had inflexions which indicated the
subject, subject pronouns must be expressed in ΤΑΚΕ, and that ΤΑΚΕ uses a strict Subject-Verb-Object word order. There are, however, some verbs
in ΤΑΚΕ which do not and, indeed, cannot have subject pronouns because they are impersonal, i.e. there is no subject. In such cases
English uses a 'dummy' or expletive subject, namely "it"; ΤΑΚΕ does not use an expletive 'it' in such sentences, e.g.
ἔς ὄψιο "it is late"
τύχε διά ἀνθρωπικό ἁμαρτήματο "it happened through human error."
Other types of impersonal verb are:
- 1.1 There to be
- In ancient Greek the meaning of "there is" and "there are" were expressed by ἔστι(ν) and εἶσι(ν) respectively; these are
the same as the 3rd person forms of εἰμί "to be", except that they are not enclitic and are accented on the first syllable. In practice, ἔστι(ν)
was often used when a plural noun followed. I have, therefore, simply used ἔστιν to mean "there is", "there are", etc.; e.g.
ἔστιν τρία ἀνδρό ἐν το πλοῖο "there were three men in the boat."
- 1.2 'Weather' verbs
- These are given in dictionaries in the 1st person singular forms just like other verbs as, among the ancients, Zeus or other deities could be
subjects of such verbs and could speak for themselves. The ΤΑΚΕ verbs are, therefore, derived in the normal way, though in ΤΑΚΕ they are impersonal.
- ὕε = "it is raining [shower]"
- ὄμβρει = "it is raining heavily [and continuously]"
- χιόνιζε = "it is is snowing"
- ἄστραπτε = "there's lightning"
- βρόντα = "it is thundering", "there's thunder"
- 1.3 Verbs with a noun clauses as complement.
- In ancient Greek we find such verbs as δεῖ "it is binding", "it is necessary" and πρέπει "it is proper"
as in: δεῖ μ' ἐλθεῖν "it is necessary that I go" = "I must go", πρέπει ἐσλοῖσιν ὑμνεῖσθαι "it is proper for brave
people to hymned" = "The brave should be praised in song" [Pindar]). The former verb is followed by the accusative and infinitive
and he latter by the dative and infinitive. Occasionally πρέπει was also found followed by the accusative and infinitive.
In the ancient language, when δηλόω was used impersonally it was regularly followed by a noun clause beginning with the conjunction ὅτι, e.g. δηλοῖ ὅτι οὐκ Ὡμήρου τὰ Κύπρια ἔπεά ἐστι "It is clear that the Cyprian epic is not Homer's", i.e. "it's clear Homer is not the author of the 'Cypria'" [Herodotos]). As ΤΑΚΕ does not have noun cases nor an infinitive, it uses exclusively noun clauses with ὅτι, as in the example from Herodotos, after such impersonal verbs. The ΤΑΚΕ versions of the three sentences above are:
- δεῖ ὅτι ἐμέ βῆ "It is binding that I go" = "I must go"
- πρέπει ὅτι ἐσλό λαό ὕμνει "It is proper that brave people are hymned" = "Brave people should be praised in song"
- δήλου ὅτι το Κύπριο ἔπο οὐκ ἔς ἐξ Ὥμηρο "It is clear that the Cyprian epic is not Homer's"
Two other examples of such verbs are:
- ἔνι ὅτι σέ ποίει τοῦτο "it-is-possible that you do this" = "You may do this"*
- τύχε ὅτι ἕ οὐκ ἔς ἐκεῖ "it happens that he is not there" = "He happens not to be there"
*In the ancient language the two compounds of ἔστι(ν), namely ἔξεστι(ν) and ἔνεστι(ν), both meant 'it is possible'. The later was often shortened to ἔνι, which is the form adopted for ΤΑΚΕ.
The active and passive voice of modern European languages and other languages are well known. Ancient Greek had also the 'middle voice' which served to express that the subject was either acting upon himself/ herself (reflexive) or for himself/ herself (indirect reflexive) or was in some way involved for better or for worse in the action 1. In fact, ancient Greek distinguish three voices only for the perfective and predictive aspects. The imperfective and perfect aspects had only a two way distinction: active ~ mediopassive, i.e. the same forms did duty for both middle and passive meanings2.
We shall consider aspect in the next section below. Suffice it to say that Greek inherited three aspects from its parent Proto-Indo-European language: the imperfective, perfective and perfect. These were shown by different verbal stems: 'present', 'aorist' and perfect respectively.. The Greeks developed a predictive aspect verb stem also (the so-called 'future tenses' of the grammar books) and even, in the passive only, a less commonly used predictive perfect (a so-called 'future-perfect'). An example of the six principle parts which give the six verbal stems, from which all other verbal forms are derived, is given below:
- 'present stem' (βάλλ-ω) denotes the imperfective aspect for all voices.
- 'future stem' (βαλέ-ω) denotes the predictive aspect for active and middle voices.
- 'aorist active stem' (ἔ-βαλ-ον) denotes the perfective aspect for active and middle voices.
- 'perfect active stem' (βέβληκ-α) denotes the perfect aspect for the active voice.
- 'perfect passive stem' (βέβλη-μαι) denotes the perfect aspect for the middle and passive voices; the 'future perfect' passive is also derived from this..
- 'aorist passive stem' (ἐ-βληθ-ην) denotes the perfective aspect for the passive voice; the 'future' passive is also derived from this.
The details of the various tenses and moods developed on these stems was given in 'Verbs1', Section 1.1. Where a stem served, as most did, for more than once voice, the specific voice was indicaed by the personal endings of the verb. As ΤΑΚΕ has no inflexions, its verb has no personal endings and the ΤΑΚΕ verb itself is neutral as regards voice. Let us, therefore, consider how ΤΑΚΕ handles the three voices of the ancient language.
1Middle is also used by some to denote English verbs as in 'John is shaving' and
'Lisa undressed'. Some even use the term to denote any verb in English which has only one argument and that argument is the actor. We do not use 'middle'
with that meaning here; by 'middle' we mean strictly what was expressed by the middle voice of ancient Greek.
2Some people use the term mediopassive to denote English forms where the verb has an active morphological form but a passive meaning as in 'This reads well', 'This book is selling well'. This is not the meaning here. By mediopassive we mean simply those forms of the ancient Greek verb by which certain aspects used a single form to cover both the middle and passive meanings of other aspects.
- 2.1 The Active Voice
- The active voice presents no problem; all the example we have seen so far have been of active verbs.
- 2.2 The Middle Voice
- Let us consider the different uses of the ancient Greek middle voice and how each usage is represented in ΤΑΚΕ.
2.2.1 Acting on oneself: as in the English 'John is shaving' and 'Lisa undressed'.ΤΑΚΕ behaves just like English, that is the transitive verb is used without an object, himself, herself etc being 'understood'; e.g.2.2.2 Acting for oneself or with reference to oneself:
- το Ἰωάννη ξύρει "John is shaving, John shaved"
- το Ἰουλία ἀπόδυε "Julia is undressing, Julia undressed"
- ἕ λοῦε "s/he is washing, s/he washed"
- ἐμέ κάθιζε "I am sitting, I sat"
- ἕ κτεῖνε ἑαυτό "He killed himself"
- ἆρα σέ βλάπτε σέαυτό; "Did you hurt yourself?"
ΤΑΚΕ uses preposition such εἰς (in/with regard to) or ὑπέρ (on behalf of) with the reflexive pronoun, the prepositional phrase coming after the direct object, e.g.2.2.3 Acting on an object belonging to oneself:
- The particle ἆρα introduces a question if there is no specific question word.
- In ΤΑΚΕ ἕ κτεῖνε and ἆρα σέ βλάπτε; without direct objects are likely to be understood as passives.
Ancient Greek English ΤΑΚΕ ὁ δῆμος τίθεται νόμους The people3 make laws for themselves το δῆμο θῆ νόμο εἰς σφᾶς αὐτό τοῦτον μεταπέμπομαι I send for him, i.e. I send after him to come to me ἐμέ μετάπεμπε ἕ εἰς ἐμαυτό ἀπεπέμπετο αὐτούς He dismissed them, i.e. He sent them away for
his own benefit/ peace of mind etc.
ἕ ἀπόπεμπε σφᾶς ὑπέρ ἑαυτό
3λαό means 'people', 'persons' in a general sense; δῆμο means 'people', 'the sovereign people' in a political sense, cf. δημοκρατία (democracy).We have seen, in fact, how this is done on the Pronouns page. Consider this ancient Greek sentence:2.2.4 Having a causative meaning:
ἦλθε λυσόἐμένος θύγατρα "He came to ransom his [own] daughter" [λυσόἐμένος is a future middle participle expressing purpose].
In ΤΑΚΕ we shall use a clause beginning with ἵνα in order to express purpose. We saw on the Pronoun page "A possessive would be expressed only if it did not refer to the subject", i.e. it would be assumed that the object το θυγατρό (the daughter) is the subject's daughter unless otherwise stated. We also read on that page: "If, however, we wish to emphasize that something belongs to or pertains to the subject, ΤΑΚΕ uses ἐκ or ἐξ with the reflexive pronoun."
Therefore the ΤΑΚΕ version of the sentence above is either:
- ἕ ἔρχε ἵνα ἕ λῦε το θυγατρό
or if emphasis is required:
ΤΑΚΕ uses ποίει ὥστε 'to bring it about that' e.g.
- ἕ ἔρχε ἵνα ἕ λῦε το ἐξ ἑαυτό θυγατρό
Ancient Greek English ΤΑΚΕ ἐδιδαξάμην σέ I had you taught
(i.e. I brought it about that you were taught)
ἐμέ ποίει ὥστε σέ δίδασκε
- 2.3 The Passive Voice
- As ΤΑΚΕ verbs are neutral as regards voice, a transitive verb with only one argument may be taken as passive in meaning. Thus the so-called
mediopassives of English are treated in exactly the same way in ΤΑΚΕ, e.g.
- ἕ γεῦε το ζωμό "She tastes the soup" ~ το ζωμό γεῦε καλό "The soup tastes nice"
- ἐμέ ἀνάγνω τόδε "I am reading this" ~ τόδε ἀνάγνω καλό "This reads well"
- ἕ λοῦε το ὑφάσματο "He is washing the fabric" ~ τόδε το ὑφάσματο λοῦε ράδιο "This fabric washes easily"
As we saw in the last example of middle verbs, this applies not just to a minority of verbs, as in English, but to all transitive verbs, e.g.
- ἕ δίδασκε το παιδό ἐν οἷκο "She teaches the children at home" ~ το παιδό δίδασκε ἔν οἷκο "The children are taught at home"4
- το Οἰδίποδο κτεῖνε το πατρό "Oedipus killed his father" ~ το Λάϊο κτεῖνο ὕπό το υἱό "Laius was killed by his son"5
A transitive verb may be used impersonally with a passive meaning, e.g.
λέγε ὅτι το Οἱδίποδο κτεῖνε το πατρό "It is said that Oedipus killed his father."
If, however, it is wished to make a passive meaning clearer, one can use πάθε "to have something done to one, to suffer" as an auxiliary, thus:
- το Λάϊο πάθε κτεῖνε "Laius suffered being killed" = "Laius was killed"
4δίδασκε behaves very much like 'learn' in certain styles of colloquial English; also it is one of the few verbs that may have two direct objects, e.g. ἕ δίδασκε το παιδό το μαθήματο "She teaches her children mathematics" [coll.: "She learns her children mathematics']) ~ το παιδό δίδασκε το μαθήματο (The children are taught mathematics [coll.: 'The children are learnt mathematics'] or The children learn mathematics"). It is also possible to say in both ΤΑΚΕ and English: το μαθήματο δίδασκε το παιδό "Mathematics are taught the children"; though in both languages it would sound stilted. In ΤΑΚΕ it is more idiomatic to say μαθήματο δίδασκε ὑπό το παιδό.
5Oἰδίπους "Oedipus" was variously declined. In the tragedians the accusative was Oἰδίπουν and the genitive Oἰδίπου. But in other writers we also find the normal 3rd declensions forms with accusative Oἰδίποδα and genitive Oἰδίποδος. There was also a 1st declension variant Oἰδιπόδης (with genitive Oἰδιπόδου, or dialect equivalent) found in Epic, Ionic and some other dialects. Τhe regular 3rd declension genitive Oἰδίποδος seems a fair compromise between the tragedians' Oἰδίπου and the Epic-Ionic Oἰδιπόδου, as the basis for the ΤΑΚΕ form of the name. Notice also the diaeresis on Λάϊο. It is not the diphthong αι [aj], but two separate vowels. The word has three syllables ['la.i.o] in ΤΑΚΕ just as Λάϊοs did in ancient Greek (i.e. Λά-ϊ-οs).
NOTE: It will be seen from the last example above that when the subject of an auxiliary verb and its dependent verb (expressed by an infinitive in many languages) is the same, the two verbs are simply juxtaposed to form a quasi-compound verb. The two verb form a verbal syntagm (ρηματικό συντάγματο). We find the same construction used with the aspectual and modal auxiliaries below.
3. Tense and Aspect
If one looks in a grammar of ancient Greek one is presented with apparently seven indicative 'tenses', five 'tenses' in the optative mood, and three each in the subjunctive and imperative moods. In fact, what are traditionally referred to as 'tenses' are not only distinctions of tense, in the strict sense of the word, but also of aspect. It will be better to distinguish clearly these two concepts.
- 3.1 Tense
- Tense is, properly speaking, that grammatical category that correlates most directly with distinctions of time. In Greek this was marked only in the indicative
mood and was a simple contrast between past and non-past. The past tenses were marked by the 'temporal augment' at the beginning of the verb and by a different set of endings
from the non-past.
ΤΑΚΕ drops the tense system altogether. Time differences are shown entirely by context, as in many languages. If the meaning is not clear, then adverbs or adverb phrases such as νῦν (now), τότε (then), ποτέ (sometime), ἐχθές (yesterday)6, σήμερον (today), αὔριον (tomorrow), εἰς το μέλλοντο (in the future).
Future could also be indicated by the use of modal verbs such as μέλλε (to be likely to, to be about to) and θέλε (to be willing), see the section below on 'Mood'.6This was also found in the ancient language as well as χθές, but the longer form was more common and is, therefore, the form adopted in ΤΑΚΕ.
- 3.2 Aspect
- Aspect is a grammatical category that relates to the internal temporal structure of a situation.
The predictive and predictive perfect forms did not survive the ancient period. By the time of the Greek Koine, the perfect aspect was becoming confused with the perfective aspect and the perfect forms dropped out of of use; modern Greek distinguishes only the imperfective and perfective aspect.
In ΤΑΚΕ there is no formal marking of aspect. When necessary, aspect may be marked by aspectual auxiliary verbs such as ἄρχε (to start, begin), πέραινε (to finish, accomplish), διατέλει (to continue), ἔθιζε (to accustom, be accustomed) e.g.
- ἕ ἄρχε λέγε (he started to speak, began speaking)
- ἕ πέραινε λέγε (he finished speaking)
- ἕ διατέλει λέγε (he continued to speak, carried on speaking
- ἕ ἔθιζε λέγε (he was accustomed to speaking)
By 'mood' we mean that grammatical category which expresses the degree or kind of reality of a proposition as perceived by the speaker or writer. Ancient Greek distinguished four moods in its verbal morphology, namely: indicative, imperative, optative and subjunctive. By the use of modal auxiliary verbs such as δύναμαι (I am able, I can) and impersonal verbs such as πρέπει (it is proper that...) and δεῖ (it is required that...), see impersonal verbs above, other modalities were expressed. ΤΑΚΕ also retains modal auxiliaries and modal impersonal verbs; it does not, however, retain any modal inflexions. Let us, then, consider first how ΤΑΚΕ renders the four grammatical moods of classical Greek and then look at some of the modal auxiliaries used in ΤΑΚΕ.
On the 'Pronouns' page, section 5.2.6 I wrote "I have decided, especially as the verb is invariable and has no inflexions for mood, to keep the dual system of μη and οὐ negatives These are written in ΤΑΚΕ as μη and οὐ (or οὐκ before vowels with soft breathing & οὐχ before vowels with rough breathing). The use of these two words for 'not' help to distinguish modality.
- 4.1 Indicative
- We have seen several examples of this already. It is the plain verb used either impersonally or after a subject noun phrase either in the main clause or in a ὅτι clause.
The negative, put before the verb, is always οὐ(κ/χ), e.g.
ἕ οὐ λέγε ἐκεῖνο (she did not say that),
ἕ λέγε ὅτι σφᾶς οὐκ ἔρχε σήμερον (she said [that] they were not coming today).
- 4.2 Imperative (also jussive and hortative)
- The ancient Greek imperative mood had both second and third person forms. The latter are sometimes called 'jussive'. There were no first person forms, though some
languages do have 1st person imperatives; such imperatives are often known as 'hortatives'. Greek expressed this, as many other languages do, by using its subjunctive mood.
It will, however, be convenient to deal with all three types of imperative together.
In the ancient language imperatives could be preceded by ἄγε, φέρε or ἴθι. Although these were themselves 2nd person singular imperatives (ἄγε ← ἄγω 'to lead', φέρε ← φέρω 'to bear, carry', and ἴθι ← εἶμι 'to come, go'), they came to be used optionally as invariable particles before both 2nd person and third person imperatives, whether singular or plural, and before the first person singular of the subjunctive when used in a hortative sense. As both ἄγε (to lead) and φέρε (to bear, carry) are verbs in ΤΑΚΕ, but the defective and irregular verb εἶμι is not used, Ι have adopted ἴθι as an 'imperative particle'. In ΤΑΚΕ, just as in the ancient language, the negative for all imperative and hortative forms is μη.
The 2nd person imperative is normally expressed by the plain verb, e.g.
ἀπόβη (Go away!), πρόσερχε (Come here!)
μη ἀπόβη (Don't go away!), μη λέγε ἐκεῖνο (Don't say that!)
The 2nd person pronoun may be used for emphasis, if desired; but in this case ἴθι must be used if the command is positive, but is optional in negative forms, e.g.
ἴθι σέ ἀπόβη (You are to go away!)
(ἴθι) σέ μη ἀπόβη (You are not to go away!)
The third person imperative, often referred to as 'jussive' mood, is shown in French by 'que' followed by a subjunctive and in English by the auxiliary 'let', as in the well-known: "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche!", "Let them eat cake". In the third person forms, ἴθι is compulsory in positive sentences, but may be omitted in negative ones. Examples:
ἴθι σφᾶς φάγε πλακοῦντο (Let them eat cake!)
(ἴθι) ἕ μη γνῶ περί τόδε (Let him not know about this!).
The first person imperative, or hortative, has the same construction as the third person imperatives, e.g.
ἴθι ἡμᾶς βῆ (Let's go!)
(ἴθι) ἡμᾶς μη ποίει τόδε (Let's not do that!).
- 4.3 Optative
- The main uses of this mood in the ancient language were:
- In subordinate clauses to replace the indicative or the subjunctive if the main verb were past.
- In certain types of conditional clauses.
- As main verbs to express wishes.
Use (a) does not concern us here as ΤΑΚΕ has no tenses and, therefore, no rules of 'sequence of tense'; in any case, this use of the optative was optional even in the ancient language. Also the various types of subordinate clauses will be considered under Syntax. Similarly, use (b) will not concern us here as conditions are considered under Syntax. It is only use (c) that concerns us here.
The ancients distinguished between two sorts of wishes, and ΤΑΚΕ also makes the same distinction between:
- those wishes that refer to the future where it is implied that the object is attainable (even if it would need a miracle for its attainment);
- those wishes that refer to the present or past where it is implied that the object of the wish is not or was not attained.
Wishes that refer to the future
In the ancient language these could be expressed simply by using the optative form of the verb. But such wishes were often preceded εἴθε or εἰ γάρ (or just by εἰ in verse). We shall discover that εἰ in ΤΑΚΕ means 'if' or 'whether'; to express future wishes I shall use the single word εἴθε, e.g.
εἴθε σέ γένε φίλο εἰς ἡμᾶς (May you become a friend to us)
εἴθε το βασιλεύ ζῆ εἰς ἀεί (May the king live for ever!).
The negative is μη, e.g.
εἴθε ἕ μη ἄνερχε σήμερον (May he not return today!)
εἴθε σέ μηδέποτε πάθε δυστυχία (May you never suffer misfortune).
Wishes that refer to the present or past
In Attic Greek these were expressed by εἴθε or εἰ γάρ, which could not be omitted, followed by a past indicative tense. As ΤΑΚΕ has no tense marking, this cannot be done. In Homer and the poets we find a different construction, namely ὤφελον (I ought) and the infinitive, e.g. ὤφελε τοῦτο ποιεῖν (would that he were doing this), literally "he ought to be doing this", and ὤφελε τοῦτο ποιῆσαι (would that he had done this), literally "he ought to have done this". This ὤφελον is a strong aorist of a verb ὀφείλω (to owe), which in ΤΑΚΕ is ὄφειλε, since in later Greek the verb had a weak aorist with the normal meaning of 'I owed'.
One also found ὄφελον used with the accusative and infinitive to express these sorts of wishes. In this construction ὄφελον is the neuter participle with ἐστί (is) 'understood'. It is this later use that I have adopted and adapted for ΤΑΚΕ, using ὄφελον as an optative particle in a similar way to εἴθε for future wishes. Once again the negative is μη, e.g.7Whether the meaning is present 'were doing' or past 'had done' depends upon context.
ὄφελον ἕ ποίει τόδε (Would that he were doing this/ had done this)7
ὄφελον ἡμᾶς ἔς ἐκεῖ (Would that we were there/ had been there)
ὄφελον ἕ μη ποίει ἐκεῖνο (Would that he were not doing that/ had not done that)
ὄφελον σφᾶς μη βῆ εἴς ἔκεῖ (would that they were not going there/ had not gone there).
- 4.4 Subjunctive
- The main uses of the subjunctive are in various types of subordinate clauses; these we shall deal with under Syntax. There were three uses where the subjunctive occurs as a main verb:
- In Homer it occurred with sense of a future tense; this usage disappeared from later Greek as specific future forms were developed.
- In 1st person exhortations, e.g. μὴ τοῦτο ποιῶἐμέν (Let us not do this).
- In what are called deliberative questions, e.g. τί εἴπω; (What am I to say?)
Usage (i) does not concern us as it died out in early Greek and, in any case, ΤΑΚΕ does not distinguish tense; usage (ii) has been dealt with above under the imperative mood. There remains to consider only the deliberative question. There was no formal marking of the positive questions other than the use of a subjunctive verb; negative questions of this sort used μή. They were sometimes introduced by βούλει (s.) or βούλεσθαι (pl.). There is no exact ΤΑΚΕ equivalent ant more than there is a simple English equivalent. ΤΑΚΕ will use σέ/σφᾶς βοῦλε "you wish" or some other appropriate modal verb (see 4.5 below), e.g.
Ancient Greek English ΤΑΚΕ εἶπω ταῦτα; Am I to say this? ἆρα πρέπει ὅτι ἐμέ λέγε τοῦτο; βούλει εἶπω ταῦτα; Do you wish me to say this? ἆρα σέ βοῦλε ἵνα ἐμέ λέγε τοῦτο; ποῖ τράπωμαι; ποῖ πορευθῶ;
[Eurpides, Hecuba 1099]
Where am I to turn to? Where am I to betake myself to? εἴς ποῦ ἔνι ὅτι ἔμέ τρέπε; εἴς ποῦ ἔνι ὅτι ἔμέ πόρευε; ποῦ δὴ βούλει καθιζόμενοι ἄναγῶμεν;
[Plato, Phaedrus 228e]
Where then do you wish we sit done and read? ποῦ δή σέ βοῦλε ἵνα ἐμέ κάθιζε και ἄνάγνω;
- 4.5 Modal verbs
- Other modal distinctions can be made, as in other languages, by the use of modal auxiliary verbs, e.g. ἐμέ δύνα ποίει τοῦτο (I can do it), ἐμέ μέλλε ποίει τοῦτο (I am about to do it.
I am going to do it), ἐμέ θέλε ποίει τοῦτο (I am willing to do it), ἐμέ βοῦλε ποίει τοῦτο (I wish to do it. I want to do it).
As we have already seen with the aspectual auxiliaries above, if the subject of both verbs are the same, we simply juxtapose the two verbs to form a single verbal syntagm. If, however, θέλε and βοῦλε have a different subject from the verb that follows, ΤΑΚΕ uses a clause beginning with ἵνα ( ancient ἵνα), thus:
ἐμέ θέλε ἵνα σέ βῆ (I am willing that you go. I am willing for you to go).
ἐμέ βοῦλε ἵνα σέ βῆ (I want you to go).
The negative in ἵνα clauses is μη, e.g. ἐμέ βοῦλε ἵνα σέ μη ποίει τόδε (I want you not to do this. I don't want you to do this).
As we saw with the impersonal verbs above, modal meanings may be shown with such verbs, e.g.,
δεῖ ὅτι ἥμᾶς ἄπόβη (We must go away [literally: it is binding that we go away])
ἔνι ὅτι σέ ποίει τόδε (You may do this [literally; it-is-possible that you do this])
πρέπει ὅτι ἕ ἀπόβη σήμερον (He ought to go away today [literally: it is proper that he goes away today]).
The negative in ὅτι clauses is οὔ(κ/χ), e.g. δει ὅτι ημέ ουκ απόβῆ (We must not go away).
Compare this with: οὔ δεῖ ὅτι ἥμᾶς ἀπόβη (We don't have to go away [literally: it is not binding that we go away]).
5. Non-finite forms
The non-finite forms of verbs are those which cannot serve as the only verb in simple sentences. Ancient Greek had two such sets of non-finite verb forms: participles (verbal adjectives) and infinitives (verbal nouns). Indeed, it had a participle and an infinitive for each aspect in each voice. This meant that a transitive verb had 11 different participles and 11 different infinitives.
This rich system of non-finite verbs has almost disappeared from modern Greek. Of the participles, only one true one remains, a passive participle. There is also a form commonly called the active participle, but it is invariable and adverbial in nature and might be better called a gerund. The ancient infinitives all but vanished, leaving only the απαρέμφατο, or 'infinitive', of modern Greek: an invariable form, identical to the 3rd person singular aorist subjunctive, whose sole use is after the verb έχω (I have) to form perfect tenses.
ΤΑΚΕ must go still further; it has no inflexions and, therefore, cannot have any participles and infinitives derived from the finite verb. In this respect it differs from 'Latino sine flexione', since the latter, despite its name, does allow inflexions to form participles and infinitives. Let us then consider how ΤΑΚΕ handles the uses of the ancient Greek participles and infinitives.
The ancient participle had three main uses:
- 5.1.1 Attribute Participle
- The participle may qualify a noun like an attributive adjective. The ancients often used the definite article followed by participle phrase where we would use a relative clause.
ΤΑΚΕ simply uses a relative clause instead of a participle phrase. Some examples are:
Ancient Greek English ΤΑΚΕ πόλις κάλλει διαφέρουσα A city [which was] excelling in beauty πόλι ὅ ὑπέρβαλλε ἔν κάλλο οἱ πρέσβεις οἱ ὑπὸ Φιλίππου πεμφθέντες The ambassadors [who were] sent by Philip το πρέσβυ-λαό ὅ πέμπε ὕπό Φίλιππο οἱ ἄνδρες οἱ τοῦτο ποιήσοντες The men [who are] going to do this το ἁνδρό-λαό ὅ μέλλε ποίει τοῦτο
However, the verb itself may be used adjectively in ΤΑΚΕ as a perfect participle, i.e. showing the resultant state of some prior event. If the verb is transitive, this will have a passive meaning. Examples:
- το Ἕνου Βασιλεία (the Unite Kingdom) = the United kingdom
- το γράφε λόγο (the write word) = the written word
- εὐλόγει ἔς σέ (bless be you) = blessed are you
- κατάρα ἔς σφᾶς (curse be they) = cursed are they
- 5.1.2 Circumstantial Participle
- The ancient participle was often used to define the circumstances of an action. In this usage it could define various relationships. ΤΑΚΕ expresses the relationships
with an appropriate adverbial clause (these adverbial clauses will be dealt with in more detail when we consider Syntax), or by a separate finite verb, thus:
Ancient Greek English ΤΑΚΕ ταῦτα ἔπρασσέ στρατηγῶν
He did this while he was general ἕ πρᾶσσε τοῦτο ἕως ἕ στρατήγει. λέγω δὲ τοῦδ' ἕνεκα, βουλόμενος δόξαι σοι ὅπερ ἐμοί
I speak for this reason, because I wish that what seems good to me seems good to you. ἐμέ λέγε διά τόδε το ἔπίνοιο, δι' ὅτι ἐμέ βοῦλε ἵνα ὅ δόκει εἰς ἐμέ δόκει εἰς σέ. λῃζόμενοι ζῶσιν
(relationship: manner, means)
They live by plundering σφᾶς ζῆ ἐξ ὅτι σφᾶς λῆζε σκύλο. ἦλθε λυσόμενος θύγατρα
He came [in order] to ransom his daughter ἕ ἔρχε ἵνα ἕ λῦε το θυγατρό. πῶς, δίκης οὔσης, ὁ Ζεὺς οὐκ ἀπόλωλεν;
[lit. How, justice existing, has Zeus not been destroyed?]
How, if there is justice, has Zeus not been destroyed? πῶς, εἰ ἔστιν δίκη, το Διός οὐκ ἄπολε; ὀλίγα δυνάμενοι προορᾶν, πολλὰ ἐπιχειροῦμεν πράττειν
Although we can foresee little, we attempt to do much καίπερ ἡμᾶς δύνα προόρα ὀλίγο, ἡμᾶς ἐπιχείρει πρᾶσσε πολύ. παραλαβόντες Βοιωτοὺς ἐστράτευσαν ἐπί Φάρσαλον
(relationship: attendant circumstance)
Taking the Boiotians, they marched upon Pharsalos, i.e.
They took the Boiotians and marched upon Pharsalos
σφᾶς παράλαβε το Βοιωτὀ-λαό και στράτευε ἐπ' εἰς Φάρσαλο.
- 5.1.3 Supplementary Participle
- This is something peculiarly Greek, and many languages would use an infinitive or a gerund in this sense. It is the use of the participle to complete the idea expressed by the
verb by showing what it relates to. e.g. παύομεν σέ λέγοντα (We stop you speaking. We stop you from speaking); παυόμεθα λέγοντες (We stop speaking.
We cease to speak).
This type of construction was found with verbs denoting: to begin, to continue, to endure, to persevere, to cease/ stop, to repent, to be weary, to be pleased, to be displeased, to be ashamed, to permit, to cause. Ιt may also be found with verbs of perception and verbs signifying overlooking (i.e.' turning a blind eye'), allowing, permitting or doing something with anyone noticing.
In ΤΑΚΕ, if the participle would have agreed with the subject, then the two verbs form a verbal syntagm, e.g. ἡμᾶς παῦε λέγε (We stop talking). But if the participle would have agreed with the object, then we use an appropriate clause (usually a ὅτι clause), e.g. ἡμᾶς παῦε ὅτι σέ λέγε (We stop the-fact-that you are talking, i.e. We stop you talking). We shall be looking at clauses in more detail in the sections on Syntax.
- 5.2.1 Simple infinitive as subject, complement or object
- We saw in the section on impersonal verbs above that the ancient accusative and infinitive is replaced by a clause beginning with ὅτι. Also dative with a subject infinitive is
replaced by an ὅτι clause, e. ἔξῆν ἡμῖν μένειν (it was possible for us to remain) → ἔνι ὅτι ἡμᾶς μένε (it was possible that we remain).
We have also seen that the infinitive as object is rendered in ΤΑΚΕ as a simple verb in a verbal syntagm if the subject of the infinitive was same as the subject of the main verb or by an appropriate clause if the two subjects are different, e.g. ἐμέ βοῦλε βῆ (I want to go) ~ ἐμέ βοῦλε ἵνα σέ βῆ (I want you to go).
If the infinitive was the complement then we use a ὅτι clause, e.g. ἀνάγκη ἐστὶ πάντας ἀπελθεῖν (a necessity is that all withdraw, i.e. there's a need for everyone to withdraw) → ἀνάγκη ἔς ὅτι παντό απόβη.
- 5.2.2 Infinitive with the definite article
- The main use of this is as the subject of a verb, e.g. τὸ γνῶναι ἐπιστήμην λαβεῖν ἐστιν (To know is to obtain knowledge); there is no article before λαβεῖν (to take, obtain) as
that is the complement of ἐστιν (is).
There is no simple ΤΑΚΕ equivalent of the infinitive with the definite article. Often a periphrasis will be required, e.g.
εἴ σέ γνῶ χρήματο, σέ λάβε ἐπιστήμο
(If you know a thing/things, you receive knowledge).
- 5.2.3 Infinitive with adjectives
- An ancient example is ἄξιος τοῦτο λαβεῖν (worthy to receive this). Very occasionally, ἄξιος was found with a ἵνα clause showing the purpose for which one was worthy. This becomes the
normal usage in ΤΑΚΕ , e.g.
Ancient Greek English ΤΑΚΕ ἄξιος τοῦτο λαβεῖν Worthy to receive this/
worthy of receiving this
ἄξιο ἵνα ἕ λάβε τοῦτο
(worthy that he/she may receive this)
δεινὸς λέγειν skilled in speaking δεινό ἵνα ἕ λέγε πρόθυμος λέγειν eager to speak πρόθυμο ἵνα ἕ λέγε
- 5.2.4 Infinitive of purpose
- Also in ancient Greek an infinitive could be used, as in modern English, to express purpose. In ΤΑΚΕ we just use a purpose clause, thus:
Ancient Greek English ΤΑΚΕ τὴν πόλιν φυλάσσειν αὐτοῖς παρέδωκε He delivered the city to them to guard ἕ παράδω το πόλι εἰς σφᾶς ἵνα φυλάσσε
(He delivered the city to them in order that they might guard it)
Created October 2007. Last revision:
Copyright © Ray Brown