cwconrad wrote: ... That's one reason why many of us have been voicing a preference for the present infinitive as the lexical form for verbs; the forms ποιεῖν, δηλοῦν, τιμᾶν clearly indicate that these are contract verbs with stems in -ε-ειν, -ο-ειν, -α-ειν, respectively.
Thomas Dolhanty wrote: -ε-ειν, -ο-ουν, -α-αν respectively
cwconrad wrote:I'm not quite sure what is intended by that last line. What I intended to indicate was that contract verbs in -εῖν involve a contraction of ε + ειν, contract verbs in -οῦν involve a contraction of ο + ειν and contract verbs in -ᾶν involve a contraction of α + ειν. The infinitives are each contractions of the stem vowel ε, ο, or α with the infinitive ending -ειν.
Thomas Dolhanty wrote: Forgive me for pursuing this a bit further, but when I look at this as a pre-contract it seems like the ending that is added to the tense stem is not "ειν" but rather "εν". Or have I misunderstood Smyth 469? The "εν" contracts as expected in each case (εεν => ειν; οεν΄=> ουν; αεν => αν), whereas the "ειν" leaves you with the extra ιοτα.
I'm glad that you do want to pursue this further; the facts are indeed more complicated. Yes, the infinitive ending involved in these present infinitives is -εν (Smyth would not mislead you!). However, we're not dealing with -μι verbs here (they take -ναι as an infinitive ending), but rather with thematic verbs that are conjugated with an intervening "thematic" vowel ε/ο (ο before a nasal ending: 1 sg. -ο-μ which becomes -ον, 1 pl. -ο-μεν, 3 πλ. -ο-ντi which becomes -ουσι (τ before ι becomes -σ-; -ν- between ο and σ undergoes compensatory lengthening to become -ου- so that -οντι turns into -ουσι); elsewhere the -ε- is found, and that is also true of the infinitive, so that the infinitive of a thematic verb is formed with the present stem + thematic vowel ε + infinitive ending -εν: λύ-ε-εν becomes λύειν after contraction of the two ε's. Consequently the contract verbs have present active infinitive formed with stems ending in α, ε, ο to which the ending -ειν, itself already a contraction of ε-εν.
As an aside, I might just note that my first Greek teacher was a fantastic grad student at Tulane, a graduate from Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville who had himself learned in the tradition of A.T. Robertson there; when he taught Homer's Iliad
in my second-year class, it was a class in what I like to call "the archaeology of the Greek language." One of the neat little snippets of information he taught us was that all of the infinitives one finds in Greek can be seen in combination in the Homeric infinitive of εἰμί: ἔμεναι: among the various infinitive endings in Greek we find the whole group -εμεναι, -αι, -ναι, -εναι, -μεναι, -εμεν, and -εν. The MP -σθαι is a combination of the MP infix -σθ- and -αι. All of this is information that is not really often very useful, but it's fun -- if you like this sort of thing.