RE: Carl's refined theory of Greek Voices

From: Moon-Ryul Jung (
Date: Sun Apr 18 1999 - 13:05:03 EDT

I quoted two paragraphs from your recent post on your theory of Greek
voices. To
create a whole picture, I needed to ask some clarifying questions.

[Carl] it is only those
transitive verbs regularly having an active voice that have this full
complement of forms in all three voices in the aorist and the future, e.g.

 On the other hand, the
so-called "deponent" verbs that have no active voice form in the present
but only a middle voice form, fall into two separate categories which are
traditionally called "middle deponents" and "passive deponents."

[Moon] It seems partially correct. For example, consider EGEIRW and
Your theory says that HGERQHN is a "passive deponent" of EGEIROMAI. But
this verb
has an active form EGEIRW, even though the passive deponent is derived from
the middle
form EGEIROMAI. So wouldn't it be less confusing to say "middle deponent
and "passive deponent aorists" without mentioning their present forms?

"Middle deponents": QEAOMAI has only a middle aorist and future:
deponents" constitute a much larger group: many or most of these have a
middle future and a "passive" aorist: DUNAMAI: HDUNHQH/DUNHSETAI;
POREUOMAI: POREUQH/POREUSETAI; some have both aorist and future -QH-

>So, to sum up, what I now hypothesize is that the -QH- type of "Third
aorist" came to be identified in the minds of Greek-speakers at some point
as the aorist equivalent of the older MAI/SAI/TAI morphology of the
middle/reflexive, and that it came to be extended finally to the future
with standard middle/reflexive endings added to the -QH- stem forms:
QHSOMAI/QHSHi/QHSETAI KTL. BUT: neither the -QHN aorists nor the -QHSOMAI
futures ever came to be associated exclusively with passive meaning;
these morphological patterns came to function in the aorist and future
the same sort of ambivalence that MAI/SAI/TAI and MHN/SO/TO morphological
patterns have in the other tenses:

[Moon] Your example using EFANHN seems to suggest that what is true of
the -QHN- stem is also true of the -HN- stem, doesn't it?

 they MAY be passive--especially if there
are already active forms of the verb in question,

but they may simply be
the aorist and future equivalents of obsolete -SAMHN/SW/SATO (** 1st middle
aorist ** by Moon)
or -OMHN/OU/ETO (**2nd middle aorist*** by Moon) (aorist
or -SOMAI/SHi/SETAI (future "middle/passive").

[Moon] Do you mean that verbs with passive deponent aorists had
  originally middle aorists as well, which became obsolete? Are there
examples that indicate it?

This new theory of Greek verbs is really helpful to me;
 Brute force memorization does not work any more for me!

Moon-Ryul Jung
Assistant Professor
Dept of Computer Science
Soongsil University
Seoul, Korea

B-Greek home page:
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: []
To unsubscribe, forward this message to
To subscribe, send a message to

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:40:24 EDT