Exceptionless rules in Greek

From: Ward Powers (bwpowers@eagles.bbs.net.au)
Date: Sat Apr 19 1997 - 00:37:06 EDT

At 08:35 97/04/15 -0700, S M Baugh wrote:

>There are exceptions to *everything* in Greek (one of the
>few rules of Greek grammar without exceptions--I call it "Baugh's Law
This gave me pause for thought.

Recently one of my students in Beginners Greek wrongly identified a word
form as being dative case, and I pointed out that it could not be dative as
it did not have a iota (full or subscript) in its ending. Apart from the
special form IHSOU there is, I said, an invariable rule that every dative
form will have a iota in its ending. (From a linguistic perspective, this
iota is a dative "indicator".)

This opened up the whole question of exceptions in Greek grammar, and I
postulated the proposition, "In Greek, there are exceptions to every rule -
including this one." So now I am at the beginnning of compiling a list of
"exceptionless rules". My first candidate is the one I have just mentioned:
"Every dative form will have a iota included in its ending (subscript for
First and Second Declension singular forms)."

My second "exceptionless rule" is: "For every neuter word, the accusative
case form is identical with the nominative case form."

I feel pretty confident about this as a third: "When in any word a morph
ending in a dental consonant (D, T, Q, or Z) is followed by a morph
beginning with a consonant, the dental drops out." (I call this, of course,
the "Dental Drop-out Rule".) Examples: KALUPTW becomes in the future
KALUPSW; SWZW becomes in the aorist ESWSA.

Should this also qualify for the list?: "When an adjective is used
predicatively ("in the predicative position"), it is never preceded by the

I am at present checking out this for a fifth: "An adjective (including the
article) always agrees with the noun to which it refers in number and gender."

Then there are constructions which perhaps are what they are by definition.
Or do they qualify for inclusion as "exceptionless rules"? Example: "When OU
and MH are used in combination as an emphatic negative, the order is always

Do the foregoing qualify for a list of "exceptionless rules in Greek"?
And, What other rules can b-greekers put forward as additions to the list?

Ward Powers

Rev Dr B. Ward Powers			Email:  bwpowers@eagles.bbs.net.au
10 Grosvenor Crescent			International Tel: +61-2-9799-7501
SUMMER HILL  NSW  2130			Australian Tel:     (02) 9799-7501

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