Re: 3rd Aorist inter alia

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Oct 29 1996 - 07:01:13 EST

At 3:34 AM -0600 10/29/96, wrote:
>Carl, your comments about your "third aorist" are reasonable enough, if this
>explanation has proved useful for you and your students. I've had similar
>thoughts about the third declension, in light of Latin's five, and feel a
>little guilty when I brag to a student who has learned Latin that Greek has
>only three declensions. BTW, since no one else has mentioned it, apparently,
>Smyth's name does not end in an "e" unless perhaps it is misspelled in his
>grammar. Everyone seems to want to add an "e", but considering the valuable
>service he has rendered us, we all probably owe it to him to get his name
>right. And speaking of names, perhaps someone can verify the correct pro-
>nunciation of "Liddell". We all seem to want to accent the ultima, but my
>perhaps mistaken understanding is that the penult should be accented, as in

(1) Well, perhaps we could do something about Greek's declensions: God
knows, there is such a breadth of significant distinctions between the
different types of consonant-stems and the vocalic U- and I- and O- stems
and the "lost-consonant" types, etc., etc., etc. Another distinction I have
considered making--pedagogically--is saying that we have five Latin
conjugations: the four vocalic ones in A, E, short I and long I and the
thematic one that we call regular 3rd conjugation. Classification of the
conjugations solely in terms of the vowel of the active present infinitive
hardly seems the signficant choice.

(2) You're right about Smyth; I always think of him in two ways, as the
grammarian and as the Aeschylus scholar, Herbert Weir Smyth. I think it's
the "Weir" that makes me want to add the E to "Smyth"--'the reason why I
cannot tell ...' Those at Harvard when I was in grad school who remembered
him always spoke of him as "Weir Smyth," and I assume that the wonderful
Classics special library in Widener is still named for him.

(3) Liddell, as you suggest, IS properly pronounced with accent on the
penult, although I spent about 30 years of career pronouncing it with
accent on the ultima before I learned better. There may be some who are
unaware that it was Liddell's daughter who was the original of Lewis
Carroll's _Alice in Wonderland_. Dodson-Carroll was banned from the Liddell
household once Liddell suspected that the strange bachelor mathematician
might have dishonorable intentions regarding little girls.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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