Re: accents

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Fri Mar 03 2000 - 08:42:29 EST

<x-charset iso-8859-1>At 12:32 PM +0100 3/3/00, Daniel RiaŅo wrote:
>Dr. Carlton L. Winbery answered:
>>On the other hand
>>accent in verbs is recessive and tends to be easier to learn.
> Uh! I guess there is a typo here, "easier" for "more
>difficult". At least myself never found it so easy to learn the
>accent of the conjugated forms of the Greek verb! :-)

I always think I know how to accent verbs, and there's no problem where the
accent is really recessive--it's just all those exceptions where it
ISN'T--like infinitives and participles of thematic second aorists, perfect
middle participles. On the other hand, I've always found circumflex on a
final long syllable in a verb a very comforting thing to help you recognize
you're dealing with a contract verb--if you don't happen to know the verb
as a regular customer. Regarding the Greek verbs, I've always liked the
little passage from Lewis Carroll:

        "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,
"it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."
        "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so
many different things."
        "The question is," said, Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master --
that's all!"
        Alice was too much puzzled to say anything; so after a minute
Humpty Dumpty began again. "They've a temper, some of them -- particularly
verbs: they're the proudest - adjectives you can do anything with, but
verbs - ; however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability!
That's what I say!"
        --Lewis Caroll, Through the Looking Glass


Carl W. Conrad Department of Classics/Washington University One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018 Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649

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