[tied] Morphology (5/20)

From: Miguel Carrasquer
Message: 14420
Date: 2002-08-21

5. The (thematic) conjunctive

Athematic verbs made their conjunctive by switching over to the thematic
conjugation. We have evidence for this formation from Indo-Iranian, Greek,
perhaps Albanian, and also, in a single verb, from Latin (ero:, eris, the future
tense of the verb "to be", a former conjunctive) and Tocharian (Toch. A s'mäs
"that he comes" < *gWem-e-t + particle). Indirect support comes from Celtic, if
the thematic endings of the s-conjunctive (also of the s-future and the
s-preterite) derive from the conjunctive (whilst athematic 3sg. *-st spread from
the s-preterite to the s-conjunctive and s-future), provided the s-conjunctive
is, as seems likely, in origin an s-aorist conjunctive.

In the case of thematic verbs, only Greek and Avestan/Sanskrit show the expected
"double thematic" formation:

-o-o: > -o:
-e-es(i) > -e:s(i)
-e-et > -e:t(i)
-o-omes > -o:mes
-e-ete > -e:te
-o-ont(i) > -o:nt(i)

The "double thematic" conjunctive may have played a role too in the formation of
the Latin e:- and se:-conjunctives, but otherwise the formation is entirely
absent from the rest of IE, which makes its status as belonging to the
proto-language dubious. Phonetically, a recent origin of the double thematic
can also be inferred from the fact that double thematic *-e-e yields *-e:-,
whereas in an ancient formation we would either expect *-e-e- > *-o-e- > *-o:-
by the rule that the thematic vowel becomes *o before another vowel (presumably
including another thematic vowel), or, alternatively, *-e-é- > *-i-é- > *-yé-,
by the rule that the zero grade of the thematic vowel is *i.

But then the question is: how _did_ thematic verbs make their conjunctive in the
proto-language? Perhaps *-yé-, as suggested above, was the original "double
thematic" formation. Or perhaps indicative and conjunctive had the same endings
(but possibly built on different stems), which would explain the situation in
Tocharian (where thematic root presents often remain as conjunctives, in cases
where the present indicative is made using presentive/iterative suffixes such as
*-sk^e-). This would also explain the influence of the conjunctive on the
indicative, if, as we suggested earlier, the normal type of root-stressed
indicative presents originally came from the conjunctive, and only the smaller
group of tudáti presents (plus the thematic aorists) represent the original
type. On the other hand, the same formal (near-)identity between conjunctive
and thematic indicative would also explain the tendency to lose the conjunctive
altogether (Anatolian, Baltic, Slavic), or to replace it by more distinctive
formations (Tocharian a:-conj., Germanic optative, Armenian *-isk^- conjunctive,
Celtic a:- and s-conjunctives, Latin a:- and (s)e:-conjunctives).

The only place where a formal difference between the thematic conjunctive and
the thematic present is to be expected is in the 1st p. sg. If the ending *-o:
derives from *-o-mWi, the conjunctive ending (where the *-i is optional) would
be expected to alternate between primary *-o: and secondary *-om. What we in
fact observe is *-o: only, except that in Gathic and Vedic the extended form
-a:-ni also occurs (with an added particle -ni). In Tocharian B (where the
present ending is, as we saw, -ew < *-o:u), the conjunctive always has -u, which
can be from *-ou (< **-o-mW).

The conjunctive had no past tense (hence the optionality of *-i), but once the
category of the aorist had arisen in part of the IE area, subjunctives could
freely be made from the aorist as well (the aorist being in origin an aspect,
not a tense), including from the s-aorist.

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal