Re: Some morphology questions...

On Wed, 8 Jun 1994 18:11:56 +0800 (WST) you said:
>A couple of questions I'm hoping you can shed some light on...
>1) Why do grammars (LaSor, Mounce and I presume Smyth) take the Feminine
>Accusative Plural ending to be -S *or* -AS depending on the declension?
>Why not just make it -AS for all declensions? The second declension would
>then form O+AS -> OUS by the same contraction rule as the -OW verbs.
>eta+alpha is not allowed so that would explain H+AS -> AS. alpha+alpha is
>likewise not allowed (except in a handful of hebrew loan words and some
>compound words) and this would explain A+AS -> AS. What do people think
>about this?

The original accusative plural ending for all Greek nouns was -NS. The
combination of this with vocalic stems in -a- (first declension) and -o-
(second declension) yielded -ANS and -ONS respectively. In the course of
ancient Greek phonetic history -N- between any vowel and S evanesced, but as
a consequence the vowel preceding the -N- was compensatorily lengthened. When
alpha is compensatorily lengthened, it becomes a long-alpha, so that the first-
declension accusative plural is -AS (the A being long); when omicron is com-
pensatorily lengthened, it becomes -OU-, so that the second-declension
accusative plural, originally -ONS, became -OUS. The third-declension forms
vary according to whether the noun is a consonant stem or a vowel stem. In the
case of a consonant stem (e.g. Khruk-) the Nu of the original -NS ending
vocalizes so that the Nu --> Alpha (short), the resultant form being, for
Khruk-ns, Khrukas. In the case of vowel-stems the same rule of compensatory
lengthening operates, so that the noun *ophrus (brow) has an accusative
plural OPHRUNS --> OPHRUS (long upsilon). I might add that there are a few
exceptional cases of nouns with vanishing weak consonants, the nominative of
which has served as an accusative also (e.g. *poleis).

>2) How is E)SQH/SESI (Acts 1.10) derived from E)SQH/S? (Q=theta)
>The stem is clearly E)SQH/T (as the dative singular is E)SQH=TI) so why
>isn't the dative plural E)SQH/SI[N]?

In this instance we have an anomaly; the dative plural usually found for this
noun is in fact ESTHESIN. BAG on this passage say that "it is the result of
an attempt to make the dative ending more conspicuous by doubling it" and cite
an article by Schulze to this effect. This sounds rather fishy to me, and if
the text in question (Acts 1:10) were not from Luke, one of the better NT
writers, I would suspect it to be a formation analogous to the dative plural
of nouns in -sis (e.g. *praxis, dat. pl. praxesi).

One factor that has to be taken into account for NT texts generally is that
Hellenistic Greek--the Koine--is a language very much in flux and subject to
variant anomalous formations, especially when written by less well-educated
persons or by persons whose native language is not Greek. But that explanation
should not really apply to a Lucan text.

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