[tied] Morphology (8/20)

From: Miguel Carrasquer
Message: 14527
Date: 2002-08-25

8. The stative conjunctive

While in the stative the thematic vowel, when, as I have hypothesized, it
originally stood for a 3rd p. sg. definite object, comes after the personal
endings (*-h2-e, etc.), the thematic vowel of the conjunctive must always, both
in the active and the stative, come after the verbal root. Theoretically, a
stative conjunctive should have looked as follows:

*-é-h2 *-ó-mw
*-é-th2 *-ó-dhw
*-é-(t) [*-ó-nt]

The accent was on the conjunctive marker (thematic vowel), and consequently the
root had zero grade. Reduplication may have been optional, and originally
conditioned in the same way as it was in the perfect.

With the "post-Anatolian" phonetic developments (loss of -h2, *-ét > *-eh1) this
would have given:

*-á: *-óm
*-é: *-ót
*-é: *-ónt

Such a paradigm instantly brings to mind the Latin 3rd and 4th conjugation
future in a:/e:, which goes as follows:

emam eme:mus
eme:s eme:tis
emet ement

What we have here is the paradigm of the stative conjunctive in almost pure
form, the only changes being the extension of -e:- to the plural forms, and both
in the singular and plural addition of the athematic personal endings -m, -s,
-t; -mos, -tes, -nt.

Generalization of the e: to the 1sg. brings about the e:-conjunctive of the
Latin a:-stems (amem), while generalization of the a: (cf. the Greek
k/h-perfect, generalized from 1sg. -h2a) gives the a:-conjunctive of Latin e:-,
i:- and C-stems (deleam, audiam, emam).

This illustrates the conjunctive (> Latin future) use of these forms. Given the
association of the stative with the perfect, which had developed into a
past/resultative tense/aspect, the forms of the stative conjunctive could also
develop into a resultative/past conjunctive, and further into past indicative
forms, perhaps with originally a shade of intransitive/passive meaning. This is
surely the origin of the a:-preterit of Tocharian, Armenian, Latin and
Balto-Slavic, and in part of the e:-preterit of these same languages (as well as
the Greek intransitive/passive e:-aorist).

While for the a:-conjunctive/preterit the stative conjunctive seems to be the
only possible source (apart from an alternative hypothesis which derives the
whole thing from roots in *-h2), multiple sources are imaginable for the

3 sg.
double thematic conj.: -e-e-t(i) > -e:t = e:-conjunctive?
thematic aorist/aor.conj.: -ét > -éh1 = e:-preterite/conjunctive?
double thematic aor.conj.: -e-ét > -é:h1 = e:-conjunctive/preterite?
stative conj.: -é(t) > -éh1 = e:-conjunctive/preterite?

Indeed in Lithuanian, the e:-preterite (with possible origins in the active as
well as in the stative) is chosen by and large by verbs with transitive meaning,
while intransitives generally take the a:-preterite (with an exclusively stative

A tour of the different e:- and a:-formations in the IE languages (no clear
examples from Anatolian, Germanic or Indo-Iranian):


In Tocharian, -a: is by far the most common marker of both the conjunctive and
the preterite. Because final -e: merged with -a:, the e:-forms are not always
recognizable, except where palatalization clearly marks a form as being from
*-e: instead of *-a:. This is the case in the preterite of the iteratives in
*-ske, which ends in -s.s.a(:) < *-ske: (< *-ské-t).
The suffix -sa:- marks the middle forms of verbs which in the preterite take
-sa: as the 3rd sg. marker (Class III s-preterites). Presumably, 3sg. -s was
extended by the standard preterite marker -a:, and the resulting -sa: then was
put to service as the middle stem.


In Armenian, we find a: in the passive aorist, whose endings are taken from the
middle conjugation:

-ay -ak`
-ar -ayk`/-aruk`
-aw -an

See below for the endings. The whole formation must be seen as a generalized
stative or middle conjunctive in -a: based on the 1sg. form (either stat.conj.
1sg. -éh2, with addition of middle endings, or directly from a middle
conjunctive *-a-h2ai, for which see below).


In Old Irish, a: marks the conjunctive and the future tense. It has been argued
that the whole class of a:-conjunctives and futures was generalized from
s-aorist conjunctives of verbs ending in a laryngeal (-R.H-se- > *-Ra:se- >
*-a:-, or *-CH.se- > *-Case- > *-Ca:-).

We can compare this with the argument that seeks to derive all the a:- and
e:-conjunctives and preterites that we are discussing here from roots ending in
a laryngeal (*-h2 for the a:-forms, *-h1 for the e:-forms). However, that
argument is about roots ending in *-VH, of which there can be, and was, only a
limited number (even if it includes a few important verbal roots, such as
*stah2- "to stand", *bhah2- "to speak", *doh3- "to give/take", *poh3- "to
drink", *dheh1- "to put/make", *seh1- "to sow"). I don't think all the e:- and
a:-formations that we find in the IE languages are likely to have been extended
analogically from this handful of roots, when a verbal category like the stative
conjunctive offers a better alternative. Roots ending in -RH and -CH (so-called
set.-roots) are more numerous, and could well have influenced the development of
the Old Irish conjunctive and future, especially as there is no simple way to
explain how a stative conjunctive (in -a:-) should have been extended with a
sigmatic aorist ending -s(e/o)- (but cf. Slavic, where this is indeed what seems
to have happened in a form like zUv-a-xU "I called").


In Latin, -a:- is primarily a conjunctive marker (in all but a:-stems, where the
conjunctive is formed with -e:-). However, that -a:- was also a general
preterite marker is clearly shown by the past tense of the verb "to be" era:- (<
*es-a:-) and its perfective counterpart *bhua:-, which is undoubtedly present in
the imperfect suffix -ba:-. Uniquely, Latin also has preserved the original
alternating a:/e:-paradigm of the stative conjunctive in the future of the C-
and i:-stems (emam, eme:s; audiam, audie:s), see above.

The Latin past conjunctive in *-se:- (> -re:-) is possibly an e:-preterite built
on an s-aorist conjunctive of the type of the Vedic thematic sá-aorist, with 3rd
person sg. **-sét > *-séh1, and from there:

ama:-s-e: + -m > ama:rem ama:-s-e: + -mos > ama:-re:mus
ama:-s-e: + -s > ama:re:s ama:-s-e: + -tes > ama:re:tis
ama:-s-e: + -t > ama:ret ama:-s-e: + -nt > ama:rent

Alternatively, it may be a "double thematic" conjunctive built on a thematic
*sé-aorist, with *e: substituting for double thematic -o:- in the 1st person and
3rd person plural.


In Baltic, all extant preterites are built using the -e:- and -a:- suffixes.
The distribution is complementary in Lithuanian: verbs with a preterite stem
ending in -j take the a:-preterite, including the whole 2nd conjugation
(i:-present) with preterite/infinitive stem in -e:(j)-, and those 3rd
conjugation (a:-present) verbs with preterite/infinitive stem in -o(j)-
(*-a:(j)-)). The 3rd conjugation verbs with infinitive/preterite stem in -i:
take the e:-preterite. In the 1st (thematic) conjugation, (transitive)
ja-presents take the e:-preterite [generally with lengthened root vowel if the
root ends in a single consonant], while (intransitive) nasal-infix presents take
the a:-preterite. Amongst the normal thematic type (a-presents), the
a:-preterite is taken by verbs ending in -RC/-CC, while verbs ending in a single
consonant take the e:-preterite [but do not lengthen the radical vowel].
Latvian has a:-preterites only, while Old Prussian apparently had only
e:-preterites. If the lengthened root vowel is indeed the result of
compensatory lengthening in former reduplicated forms (as argued above), then
the Lithuanian e:-preterite with e:-grade or zero grade root suggests a perfect
conjunctive with reduplication (both in the sg. and the plural, as the root was
always weak in the stative conjunctive).


Slavic has no e:- or a:-preterites as such, but in a substantial number of
verbs, the sigmatic aorist (asigmatic in the 2/3 sg.) is built on a secondary
(infinitive/preterite) stem which shows a zero-grade root with -a: extension
(e-stems: bero~ "I take", aor. bIraxU "I took", je-stems: glagoljO ~ glagolaxU).
In the i:-stems and athematic verbs, on the other hand, the preterite/infinitive
stem is sometimes extended with -e: (i:-stems: veljO ~ vele^xU, athematic:
imamI, ime^xU), as it is in the stem of the Slavic imperfect (apparent cases of
-a: due to the soundlaw -je: > -ja:).

The peculiar Balto-Slavic 2nd person singular of the verb "to be" can also be
explained as an intrusion from the stative conjunctive, this time in its
conjunctive function. Assuming that proto-Balto-Slavic retained only one
conjunctive, namely the stative conjunctive, and that it had been extended with
the present-tense marker *-i to set it apart from the stative conjunctive used
in preterital function (= the Balto-Slavic e:-preterite), the verb "to be" could
have had the following proto-Balto-Slavic conjunctive:

*&1s-a:-i *&1s-e:-mos(-i)
*&1s-e:-i *&1s-e:-tes(-i)
*&1s-e:-i *&1s-e:-nt-i

This explains the Old Prussian forms 1sg./pl. asmai "I am; we are", 2sg. asei
"you are". The form *esei (with full grade root vocalism restored) gives Lith.
esì, OCS esi.


Besides the "weak" aorist passive in -the:-, Greek also has a "strong"
passive/intransitive aorist, characterized by -e:- (-e:n, -e:s, -e:, -e:men,
-e:te, -e:san). Given its intransitive and preterite connotations, it is
tempting to see it as another continuation of the stative conjunctive in a:/e:.

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal