οὖσι

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Jonathan Robie
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οὖσι

Post by Jonathan Robie » July 6th, 2011, 10:00 am

Is there a historical explanation for the fact that the present active participle οὖσι uses οὖσ- like all the feminine forms, rather than ὄντ- or ὄν- like the other masculine / neuter forms?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

cwconrad
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Re: οὖσι

Post by cwconrad » July 6th, 2011, 11:40 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:Is there a historical explanation for the fact that the present active participle οὖσι uses οὖσ- like all the feminine forms, rather than ὄντ- or ὄν- like the other masculine / neuter forms?
Yes, but one has to understand the phonological processes involved in the change from the original sequence, MΝ dat. pl. -οντ-σι --> -ονσι --> -ουσι, F participial stem -οντ-ια --> -ονσα --> -οσα --> -ουσα. The key factors are (1) assimilation and simplification of -τσ- to -σ-, (2) change of -τι- (where the iota is a consonantal iota) to -σ-, (3) loss (evanescence) of -ν- before -σ- , (4) compensatory lengthening of the short omicron to -ου-. (Smyth §37-38, §100). The principles set forth in Smyth §§27-137 take some time and illustration to grasp, but coming to understand them helps a student to see the paradigms of Greek verbs, nouns, adjectives and pronouns is not at all arbitrary but rather is all quite intelligible, if one grasps the factors involved. Moreover, in Smyth's sections explaining the formation of each element in the paradigms there are explanations of how the endings combine with stems and undergo regular changes on the basis of phonological principles.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

David Lim
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Re: οὖσι

Post by David Lim » July 8th, 2011, 5:54 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:Is there a historical explanation for the fact that the present active participle οὖσι uses οὖσ- like all the feminine forms, rather than ὄντ- or ὄν- like the other masculine / neuter forms?
I also saw it in Funk's Grammar at http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/project/f ... on-18.html, as analogous to a third declension adjective.
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δαυιδ λιμ

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