Why are there 6 principal parts instead of only 5?

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Why are there 6 principal parts instead of only 5?

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 23rd, 2014, 12:32 pm

Alan Bunning wrote:it still begs the question
Look at a list of principal parts and "forget" that you know any rules of assimilation, or vowel lengthening and see whether you need all 6 to form the 520 or so forms.
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(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Carlson
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Re: Why are there 6 principal parts instead of only 5?

Post by Stephen Carlson » February 23rd, 2014, 12:36 pm

Alan Bunning wrote:The examples cited have already been show to have the same stem. You can use the terminology they have the same "root" (where I used the word "stem" as explained above), but it still begs the question.
OK, your insistence on a non-standard meaning of "stem" continued to confuse me. When they are based on the same root, especially if it ends in a labial, the forms are not mutually predicable from each other. For different roots, there is ὁράω, ὄψομαι, εἶδον, ἑώρακα, ἑώραμαι, ὤφθην.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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MAubrey
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Re: Why are there 6 principal parts instead of only 5?

Post by MAubrey » February 23rd, 2014, 1:22 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Alan Bunning wrote:The examples cited have already been show to have the same stem. You can use the terminology they have the same "root" (where I used the word "stem" as explained above), but it still begs the question.
When they are based on the same root, especially if it ends in a labial, the forms are not mutually predicable from each other.
I'm not so sure about that...once normal morphphological processes are taken into account (including those that apply to labials), they seem to me to be quite predictable. Unless I'm missing something...could you maybe given an example of what you're saying?

(Personally, I think principle parts are more about pedagogical value than empirical value)
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Why are there 6 principal parts instead of only 5?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » February 23rd, 2014, 1:25 pm

Alan Bunning wrote:
The examples cited have already been show to have the same stem. You can use the terminology they have the same "root" (where I used the word "stem" as explained above), but it still begs the question.

Alan Bunning
You can either accept traditional terminology and formulations, or reject them, it's fine. The reason that the perfect is included as a principal part is that often it looks different, with reduplication and changes in vowel quantity. Would you know that εἴληφα is from λαμβάνω otherwise? I'm not sure how far back the conceptualization of "principal parts" goes, but I'm pretty sure the ancients saw such forms as related.
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Mark Lightman
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Re: Why are there 6 principal parts instead of only 5?

Post by Mark Lightman » February 23rd, 2014, 1:41 pm

Alan Bunning wrote:...if you give me the stem for the 6th principal part, I can tell you what the 5th principal part is (because it always appears to be based off of the same stem). Thus, it seems to me that the 5th principal part is redundant and could be eliminated. The most difficult example I have found is τιθημι, but that is still explainable. So again, I am asking for any examples where the “stem” for the 5th and 6th principal parts is different.
ποῦ ἐτέθη ὁ Κύριος? ποῦ κεῖται?
John 19:41 Alexandrian:
ἦν δὲ ἐν τῷ τόπῳ ὅπου ἐσταυρώθη κῆπος, καὶ ἐν τῷ κήπῳ μνημεῖον καινὸν ἐν ᾧ οὐδέπω οὐδεὶς ἦν τεθειμένος:
John 19:41 Majority:
ἦν δὲ ἐν τῷ τόπῳ ὅπου ἐσταυρώθη κῆπος, καὶ ἐν τῷ κήπῳ μνημεῖον καινὸν ἐν ᾧ οὐδέπω οὐδεὶς ἐτέθη.
Luke 23:53:
καὶ καθελὼν αὐτὸ ἐνετύλιξεν αὐτὸ σινδόνι, καὶ ἔθηκεν αὐτὸ ἐν μνήματι λαξευτῷ οὗ οὐκ ἦν οὔπω οὐδεὶς κείμενος.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Why are there 6 principal parts instead of only 5?

Post by Stephen Carlson » February 23rd, 2014, 2:25 pm

MAubrey wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:
Alan Bunning wrote:The examples cited have already been show to have the same stem. You can use the terminology they have the same "root" (where I used the word "stem" as explained above), but it still begs the question.
When they are based on the same root, especially if it ends in a labial, the forms are not mutually predicable from each other.
I'm not so sure about that...once normal morphphological processes are taken into account (including those that apply to labials), they seem to me to be quite predictable. Unless I'm missing something...could you maybe given an example of what you're saying?
Usually they are, but there are a few pesky exceptions.

For γράφω, you have γέγραμμαι and ἐγράφθην, but for κόπτω, it's κέκομμαι and ἐκόπην. In one case the -μμ- corresponds to -φθη-, but in the other the -μμ- corresponds to -θη-. So the 6th PP is not predictable from the 5th; you may have to memorize the root too and have therefore not reduced what is needed to memorize.

In the other direction, take the verbs στέφω and στρέφω. Their 6th PPs are ἐστέφθην and ἐστρέφθην, respectively, but their 5th PPs are ἔστεμμαι and ἔστραμμαι, with different vowels. So the 5th PP is not predictable from the 6th PP. I don't know if memorizing the root even helps this example.
MAubrey wrote:(Personally, I think principle parts are more about pedagogical value than empirical value)
Yeah, their value is pedagogical, sort of like a minimal set of forms for students to memorize, but even that is a pedagogical fib, because some verbs have multiple aorist and perfect stems in use.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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Alan Bunning
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Re: Why are there 6 principal parts instead of only 5?

Post by Alan Bunning » February 23rd, 2014, 7:23 pm

Just to clear up some confusion about principal parts. We don’t have a separate principal part for the imperfect tense, because it is predictable based on the “root” of the 1st PP. It certainly appears different after it is augmented and contracted in predictable ways, but it does not get to have its own principal part just because it looks different since it is based on the same root as the 1st PP.

It is true that you cannot guess what the 6th PP is if you are given the 5th PP. But you can guess what the 5th PP is if you know the root of the 6th PP. Several examples have now been offered to my question, but in most of these cases, the root is the same for the 5th and 6th principal parts.

κόπτω - κέκομμαι, ἐκόπην. The root for both is κοπ (π + μ = μμ, second endings on the 6th PP)
στέφω - ἔστεμμαι, ἐστέφθην. The root for both is στέφ.
στρέφω - ἔστραμμαι, ἐστρέφθην? Shouldn’t the 6th PP be εστραφην? The root for both is στραφ (φ + μ = μμ, φ + θ = φ)
τιθημι - τεθειμαι, ετεθην. The root for both is θε (the 5th PP has ει from the lengthening, the θ has hardened to a τ for the 6th PP – this is not necessarily a rule though).

ὁράω - ἑώραμαι, ὤφθην. I did not spot this one because the 5th PP is not used in the NT. This is actually an example of what I asked for! In this case, ἑώραμαι is not irregular, but ὤφθην is. I am willing to consider it an exception for my purposes, because even when irregular forms are specified, sometimes its regular form is also still used. So thank you, for that is exactly what I was asking for. Can you think of any other such examples? If there are only one or two examples, I am willing to consider them as exceptions to a general rule. When you have a form such as ειμι, for example, it is so irregular, that it is hard to figure out what the word would be even when you know the principal parts. Somethings just have to be memorized. My general motto when it comes to Greek is, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

Alan Bunning
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Why are there 6 principal parts instead of only 5?

Post by Stephen Carlson » February 24th, 2014, 2:02 am

One of the purposes of memorizing principal parts is to memorize "real" words and not abstract roots that one manipulates with morpho-phonetic rules that have exceptions. There's no real benefit to replacing one principal part with a root. It's not really simpler when you have to take seriously the tiny exceptions in terms of vowels and η vs. θη variants (which you seem to be discounting).

In pedagogy, there is always the trade-off between memorization of forms and memorization of "rules"; I think the 6 PP approach is well-balanced as it is and will survive. I don't see any pedagogical benefit to replacing one of the PP with a root and a set of incomplete rules. For the students interested in historical linguistics, laying out the sound changes and reconstructed ancestral forms would be helpful, but such students are relatively rare and the rest tend to be confused by this. Of course, in the privacy of your own home you are free to learn Greek however you want, but this advocacy of a proposed change in pedagogical practice is not likely to convince those teachers who see the value in principal parts.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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Stephen Hughes
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Good enough (and a game for learning principal parts)

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 24th, 2014, 4:23 am

Unless one is learning Greek to compose in it, (or if for some reason learning on paper so that one can speak accurately), there is actually no need to be picture perfect with one's grammar. For most purposes, good enough IS good enough with the forms of irregular verbs - one IS going to recognise them in most cases - when one doesn't recognise some form of the verb in reading, one could take the trouble to learn that particular instance. Otherwise don't be so taxing on yourself. Learning passively and learning actively are two related, but distinctly different skills. Learning to recognise forms may well be all you need do.

If you are given some responsibility to teach then may feel the need to learn everything. But what will you be teaching? Probably just a grammar translation model that the students will take an external exam in. Honestly, you won't really need to know the actual language to do that, just the outline system of grammar that will be in your textbook. To teach like that, you only have to stay one page ahead in the textbook - there is no exam, qualification or expected standard of competency in the language for teachers - it's just assumed that they have mastered grammar to some extent.

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An activity that you might like to try to do that is as follows:

Aims: to associate principal parts with their corresponding dictionary form words
to recognise the order principal parts
to actively order the principal parts
to translate the principal parts appropriately
  • Step 1: Preparation of material
    Print out the principal parts of about 10 or 20 of the verbs that you are trying to learn with each form in a business card sized space
    Cut them out.
    Make a list of all the dictionary forms of the verb down the side of a couple of sheets of paper so that they are on top of each other (not beside each other)
  • Step 2: Association
    Lay the un-cut sheets with the dictionary forms of the words out on the table or floor
    Shuffle the cards
    Draw the cards one by one from the pack
    Place the cards face-down in a stack beside the dictionary forms
    Repeat till the pack is fully depleted
  • Steph 3: Ordering (Now that they are grouped)
    Turn over the first pile of cards next to each of the dictionary forms
    Look through the cards and order the pricipal parts
    Repeat for all the other piles
  • Step 4: Thinking about meaning
    Say the name of the pricipal part for each of the cards that have been ordered.
    Repeat for the other sets of cards that have been ordered.
This task has been structured to use the same mental function over and over again, to practice the function without distraction. The exercise is practice in recognising the form and then making sense of it - which will become a skill in the reading process. The minimum outcome of this task is passive recognition that the form of a particular principal part belongs to given dictionary form. The desired outcome is that learners will be able to recognise which principal part of the dictionary form each form is.
  • Step 5: Extension activity (for motivated students)
    Have students give a translation of each of the principal parts that they have ordered them.
This is done so that students can get ready for the process of accurate translation, if that is what will be required of their learning.
After the game has been played a few times to the desired level
  • Step 6: Testing (level 1 - association, mark weighting 40%, expected completion time - 5 minutes)
    Prepare a sheet with 20 randomly chosen principal parts on the left corresponding to 4 dictionary forms on the right
    Tell the learners that they will draw a line from the principal part to it's corresponding dictionary form (2 marks per correct answer).
This is a very straightforward test to check correct association. It is important that the lines move from left to right, because that is the direction of the thought process that the learners are developing.
  • Step 7: Testing (level 2 - ordering, mark weighting 30%, expected completion time 10 minutes)
    Jumble up 15 of the principal parts of about a half a dozen verbs (one line per verb)
    Leave a parenthesised space after each of the forms, viz. (___)
    Ask students to put the roman numeral for each of the several principal part that they have before them (2 marks per correct Roman numeral, 1 Mark if the order is correct but the number is wrong).
This stage of testing concentrates on students ordering skills
  • Step 8: Testing (level 3 - translation, mark weighting 30%, expected completion time 20 minutes)
    List 30 random principal parts
    Tell students to give simple non-contexual meanings for each of them. (1 moark per correct translation)
Too often students find it difficult to do the translation task because they have not been taught / given the chance to practice the skill required to do that. This task and testing is a possible way to facilitate that.

During the learning process, there are various things that you might find. Some students often find it is easier to learn various "more difficult" principal parts as singularities. Sometimes recurrent individual forms of verbs are learnt as individual words.
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Theoretically we talk about 6 principal parts, but within the limited corpus that we usually consider it is unusual to find all six forms of a word used. If that is striking :shock: , think logically: any word that occurs less than 6 times in the GNT can not have all six principal parts. A word that occurs less than 20 times is unlikely to have all 6. A word that occurs 50 times or less could possibly have all 6 principal parts. The majority of NT words occur less than 10 times, so...learning NT Greek is easier than learning non-corpus specific Greek.

Take the paradigmatic verb λύω (λύω, λύσω, ἔλυσα, λελυκα, λέλυμαι, ἐλύθη) that some learners are given to learn. It looks like a complete system, but actually given the limited (NT) corpus, the II and IV principal parts are not used. [A learner would have to be well beyond the beginning stages of looking at word forms to be able to know whether the ommision of those two principal parts was accidental or idiomatic.]

There is also the consideration as to whether the present indicative is the most useful form to learn or the infinitive. The indicative is a more derived form than the aorist. I prefer the infinitive, but most reference books give the first person singular indicative form. In the infinitive, the principal parts would be; λύειν (λύειν, λύσειν, λῦσαι, λελυκέναι, λέλυσθαι, λυθῆναι)

Obviously, the place where the system of 6 principal parts is inadequate in the NT period is the transitive and intransitive of -μι verbs, which are structured differently from, but are about as hard as it is for learnerss to get their minds around as the lie / lay, set / sit pairs are in English. The other thing that complicates the system is when there are alternate forms for one or other of the principal parts.
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(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

RandallButh
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Re: Why are there 6 principal parts instead of only 5?

Post by RandallButh » February 24th, 2014, 9:32 am

Stephen Carlson--I'm glad that you appreciate real words. That is what students need.
However, I am not so sure that the '6 principal parts' are a balanced learning mode.

I've come to present verbs in the forms of a particular diathesis, which usually turns out to be idiomatically lexicalized in the irregular verbs that need their 6PP's learned. For example, I would learn ἐλέσθαι αἱρεῖσθαι as a separate "word" from ἑλεῖν αἱρεῖν. The first word ἑλέσθαι 'to choose' has the delightful '2' and '5' forms as ᾑρήσεσθαι [also ἑλεῖσθαι] and ᾐρῆσθαι. That is enough for a person to hold together as a coherent system. Practically speaking, I even reserve the future and perfect for intermediate stages of learning with most verbs. The aorist, present, and imperfect are more practical. The active can profitably learned by itself. This sort of division is particularly important with verbs that have 2aorists (-ῆναι). Also a person has to get the common central verbs inside themselves so that while someone is lying down KIte, KIme (κεῖται, κεῖμαι like the orthography in the Roman catacomb graffiti), they may afterwards get up and explain E-ki-to, e-KI-mhn (ἐκειτο, ἐκείμην). They must also be able to have e-ko-LYM-ba (ἐκολύμβα) come out of their mouth with the correct accented syllable BEFORE they have time to process a rule for saying they were swimming. νῦν ko-lym-BAS; You will need to be prepared to say e-ko-LYM-bon.

Stephen Hughes wrote:
But what will you be teaching? Probably just a grammar translation model that the students will take an external exam in. Honestly, you won't really need to know the actual language to do that, just the outline system of grammar that will be in your textbook. To teach like that, you only have to stay one page ahead in the textbook - there is no exam, qualification or expected standard of competency in the language for teachers - it's just assumed that they have mastered grammar to some extent.


Say it isn't so. :o What you say is a nightmare, although I acknowledge that it is widely practiced. Imagine if French or German teachers were picked like this :lol: :shock: :oops: :!:
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