Confused about case endings for φῶς

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Jesse Duley
Posts: 6
Joined: July 28th, 2019, 6:18 am

Confused about case endings for φῶς

Post by Jesse Duley » August 31st, 2019, 5:53 am

Hi friends

For ref, I'm using Mounce 3rd ed, on 11.11

My question is this: why is the nom sg of the root *φωτ: φως and not φω?

I understand that tau drops out before sigma, but I don't know where the sigma comes from, given that the 3rd declension paradigm for case endings has neuter words ending in a vowel or nothing (Mounce 10.14). All the other case endings seem to follow the paradigm.

Thanks!
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Robert Emil Berge
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Re: Confused about case endings for φῶς

Post by Robert Emil Berge » August 31st, 2019, 11:24 am

It has to do with stem variation. Here's what Smyth says:
253. Variation of Stem Formation. – Many words of the third declension show traces of an original variation of stem that is due to the influence of a shifting accent which is seen in some of the cognate languages. In Greek this variation has often been obscured by the analogy of other forms. Thus πατέρων, in comparison with Hom. πατρῶν, Lat. patrum, gets its ε from πατέρες.

c. -ατος was transferred from such genitives as ὀνόματος, ἥπατος to other neuter words: γόνατος from γόνυ knee, instead of γονϜ-ος, whence Hom. γουνός. φῶς light, for φάος (stem φαεσ-), has taken on the τ inflection (φωτ-ός, etc.).
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Daniel Semler
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Re: Confused about case endings for φῶς

Post by Daniel Semler » August 31st, 2019, 12:48 pm

Robert Emil Berge wrote:
August 31st, 2019, 11:24 am
It has to do with stem variation. Here's what Smyth says:
253. Variation of Stem Formation. – Many words of the third declension show traces of an original variation of stem that is due to the influence of a shifting accent which is seen in some of the cognate languages. In Greek this variation has often been obscured by the analogy of other forms. Thus πατέρων, in comparison with Hom. πατρῶν, Lat. patrum, gets its ε from πατέρες.

c. -ατος was transferred from such genitives as ὀνόματος, ἥπατος to other neuter words: γόνατος from γόνυ knee, instead of γονϜ-ος, whence Hom. γουνός. φῶς light, for φάος (stem φαεσ-), has taken on the τ inflection (φωτ-ός, etc.).
While I buy that for the genitive and dative in the nom. and acc. the final ς doesn't appear to be explained. It looks like it retained the Attic contracted form of the original -ς stem (φαος->φῶς) in the nom and, being neuter, in the acc. It really looks like it originally declined as a second declension -ο stem. LSJ's notes on attested forms are interesting. It apparently isn't considered heteroclitic (CGCG doesn't list it), presumably because full paradigms of both stem forms are not attested.

Morph puzzles are always fun.

Thx
D
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Jesse Duley
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Joined: July 28th, 2019, 6:18 am

Re: Confused about case endings for φῶς

Post by Jesse Duley » August 31st, 2019, 1:06 pm

Wow. I didn't understand a word either of you just said. Glad to see I'm not mad in thinking it's unusual though!
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Confused about case endings for φῶς

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » August 31st, 2019, 1:32 pm

Jesse Duley wrote:
August 31st, 2019, 1:06 pm
Wow. I didn't understand a word either of you just said. Glad to see I'm not mad in thinking it's unusual though!
I doesn't matter. You don't need to know this. It is useless trivia.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Barry Hofstetter
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Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: Confused about case endings for φῶς

Post by Barry Hofstetter » August 31st, 2019, 2:08 pm

Jesse Duley wrote:
August 31st, 2019, 1:06 pm
Wow. I didn't understand a word either of you just said. Glad to see I'm not mad in thinking it's unusual though!
Suffice it to say that the history of the word is complicated, but by the Koine period, it functions by analogy with such words as χρῶς. For now, knowing the paradigm and being able to deal with the word in context should be more than enough.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

RandallButh
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Joined: May 13th, 2011, 4:01 am

Re: Confused about case endings for φῶς

Post by RandallButh » September 1st, 2019, 6:31 pm

Jesse, if it helps you, remember what little kids heard and what they learned and used:
τὸ φῶς . . . καὶ τοῦ φωτός.


They learned the forms and when it was the right time to use them.
This follows the Universal Grammar Rule Number 1:

"We do it like that, because that is the way they do it."


PS: Eventually you may want to learn why, how, and when the various forms of Greek words developed as they did. There are always reasons and always a history, some of which may be clear, and some of which may be lacking in sufficient evidence for any particular dialect.

PPS: In the meantime I recommend learning Greek as it is/was in the period you want to study. The same is true for every language. Do you know why, how, and when people started saying "He is going" (present) versus "he went" in English. No!? :o But it's one of the top ten most common verbs in English! [PS: 'g' does not go to 'w', nor does 'o' go to 'nt'. And it just doesn't matter.] :)
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Confused about case endings for φῶς

Post by Stephen Carlson » September 1st, 2019, 8:08 pm

Jesse Duley wrote:
August 31st, 2019, 1:06 pm
Wow. I didn't understand a word either of you just said. Glad to see I'm not mad in thinking it's unusual though!
The basic idea is φῶς was originally a contraction of φάος, which had a more-or-less regular genitive φάους and dative φάει. Yet, when φάος contracted to φῶς, the genitive and dative looked too weird, so they changed it to φωτός and φωτί on analogy with patterns like χρώς, χρωτός ("skin-(color)", "complexion").
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

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