Re: The augment

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Apr 08 1997 - 19:25:00 EDT

At 5:17 PM -0500 4/8/97, wrote:
>Don Wilkins wrote:
>>I might argue that the argument is strictly
>>a morphological marker for secondary endings. The evidence is voluminous...
>I am likely overlooking something very simple. If your argument is correct,
>why is there no augment in non-indicative forms?

Well, it is true that the optative uses secondary endings, but imperatives,
infinitives, subjunctives and participles don't. I think that the augment
served to mark the so-called "secondary" tenses (which, according to the
linguistic historians were actually the basic endings, whle the "primary"
endings were used to distinctly mark the present forms in the indicative)
when they had past reference. Don has said he feels sure that the augment
continued to serve this function throughout antiquity; that may be true,
but I'm not so sure of it myself.

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

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