[b-greek] Re: Accentuation to show mood

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Sat Nov 11 2000 - 20:01:53 EST

At 12:49 AM +0000 11/12/00, Michael Haggett wrote:
>I wonder if someone can tell me why FOBHQHTE should be accented in two
>different ways: either with an acute on the first eta (aorist imperative) or
>a circumflex over the second eta (aorist subjunctive).
>The two occur next to each other in Luke 12:5
>It seems to me that both forms coalesce to have exactly the same meaning, "I
>will show you someone you should fear: you should fear the one ... "
>Although I could say in English, "I will show you someone you should fear:
>fear the one ... " Greek itself does not seem to make that distinction. This
>would be particularly evident if the same verb were made negative, for
>"Don't be afraid" = "You shouldn't be afraid". Indeed ALL aorist "negative
>imperatives" are expressed using the subjunctive!
>So why specifically differentiate the forms for this verb? Is it arbitrary,
>and (if it isn't) what rules apply to make the difference?
>More generally: is this a unique example, or do more otherwise identical
>verbs have different accentuation according to mood? (I know the present
>and future tense of liquid verbs is differentiated). It would, for example,
>be very useful if second person plural imperatives were differentiated from
>their indicative equivalent ... but they aren't. If this verb can be
>differentiated, why not others?

Yes, the subjunctive has the circumflex over the Eta because it is a
contraction of FOBHQE-H-TE --> FOBHQH=TE; the imperative has an acute over
the preceding Eta because there is no contraction and the final syllable is
short: it's simply FOBH/-QH-TE

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
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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