Re: Underlying Circumflex in Greek

From: Richard Wordingham
Message: 16294
Date: 2002-10-16

--- In cybalist@..., "P&G" <petegray@...> wrote:
> >The present infinitive
> >active <pheúgein> /pHeúgein/ v. 2nd aorist infinitive active
> ><phugeîn> /pHugéin/. I find it very hard to believe that the 2nd
> >aorist active infinitive is a contraction but that the present
> >infinitive active is not.
> Both are contractions of e-en. The present infinitive takes
> accent [pheu' -ge-en] and the aorist does not (perhaps because it
is zero
> grade) [phu-ge'-en]. Hence the difference in outcomes.

I agree that having <phugeîn>, not +<phúgein>, is because the stem
has zero grade. I don't think that having <phugeîn>, rather than
+<phugeín>, is because of contraction, but I suppose I need to
demonstrate that. The only examples I can think of are given below.
The form of the participle, <phugó:n>, is a weak counter-
example to my argument; it can be explained away on the basis of
other rules and analogies.

Are adverbs in -o:s, e.g. kalô:s from kalós 'beautiful', contractions?

If you reject it, I must scrape the barrel, and offer pâs 'all',
paîs 'boy' and podoîn and podôn, genitive dual and plural of
poús 'foot'. Monosyllabic 3rd declension nouns generally show the
accentual pattern of poús. Both the genitives are uncertain
examples. Epic Greek has podoîin for podoîn, and many would claim
that -o:n is borrowed from the o-stems and thus a contraction -o-om.
I am not convinced; at the very least, it is an ancient contraction;
Sanskrit has -a:m in its genitive plurals.

The critical point is that vrddhied final vowels are acute and final
diphthongs in -i are generally accented as though short, so it takes
something special to produce a circumflex accent in the final
syllable. Contraction is indeed a very common cause. The other
common cause I can see is a syllable that is (or ought to be) weak
grade rejecting the accent and forcing it onto the following mora. I
suspect a truer explanation of this effect is to say that the
thematic vowel (in verbs, at least) was inherently accented (this
affects only those few parts of the thematic 2nd (i.e. asigmatic)
aorist where the recessive accent is not applied) and that the strong
endings were inherently accented at their beginnings.