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6 Four More Common Greek Verbs

2012.02.4782 i 4120

A 5th c. B.C. fragment of a list of Athenian Archons. The names on this fragment held the position in the years 527/6 to 522/1 B.C. Athenian Agora Excavations.


Four More Common Greek Verbs

The four verbs in this lesson are among the most commonly used words in Greek:

δίδωμι give
τίθημι put, make
ἵστημι stand
ἵημι throw

Each follows a similar pattern in formation and spelling (i.e. pronunciation) changes for the Present Indicative:

  1. To mark the present tense, these verbs double the initial consonant sound of their stem, a process called REDUPLICATION. This process is not found in verbs like δείκνυμι and μίγνυμι that mark the present tense with –νυ-.
  2. Their stems all end in a long vowel, which shortens in the plural forms and the infinitive. This is the same pattern we encounter with φημί!

I. δίδωμι

The verb give has the stem δω-. The present tense REDUPLICATES the initial consonant sound of the stem, and adds an –ι– for ease of pronunciation.

δω– → διδω

The long stem vowel shortens in the plural forms.

διδω– for the present tense singular forms
διδο– for the present tense plural forms and the infinitive

The Present Indicative Active of δίδωμι (S 416; GPH p. 123):

δίδωμι  I give

δίδομεν we give

δίδως you give

δίδοτε you all give

δίδωσι (s)he, it gives

διδόασι they give

Present infinitive active: διδόναι

Note that for the 3rd Person Plural, the vowel contraction rules that govern Greek seem not to apply. In other words, you might expect that for διδόασι, the ο and α would contract into an ω. The alpha in –ασι, however, is long, and so for this verb, the contraction does not occur. The same practice occurs in our next verb, τίθημι.

 

II. τίθημι

The verb putmake, has the stem θη-. The present tense REDUPLICATES the initial consonant sound of the stem, and adds an –ι– for ease of pronunciation.

θη– → τιθη

Note here that θ, when reduplicated, has been changed to τ. This is because Greek does not allow ASPIRATED CONSONANTS to begin consecutive syllables. To avoid this situation, the aspirated consonants φθ, and χ are reduplicated by their corresponding un-aspirated, unvoiced forms: πτ, and κ (S 441). As a result, the reduplicated present tense stem θιθη–  becomes τιθη-.

The long stem vowel shortens in the plural forms.

τιθη– for the present tense singular forms
τιθε– for the present tense plural forms and the infinitive

The Present Indicative Active of τίθημι (S 416; GPH p. 145):

τίθημι  I make

τίθεμεν we make

τίθης you make

τίθετε you all make

τίθησι (s)he, it makes

τιθέασι they make

Present infinitive active: τιθέναι

 

III. ἵστημι

The verb stand has the stem στη-. The present tense REDUPLICATES the initial consonant sound of the stem, and adds an –ι– for ease of pronunciation.

στη– → ἱστη

Note here that reduplicated stem στη– should result in σιστη-, but the initial σ has been dropped. Greeks regularly drop the initial σ– of words if it comes right before a vowel (S 119). When this happens, the vowel marks this loss by receiving a rough breathing mark. As we learn later, for example, the Latin words for the numbers six and seven, sex and septem, are ἕξ and ἑπτά in Greek! In the case of ἵστημι, the initial REDUPLICATED SIGMA was dropped, and the now initial ι aspirated (σιστη– → ἱστη-).

The long stem vowel shortens in the plural forms.

ἱστη– for the present tense singular forms
ἱστα– for the present tense plural forms and the infinitive

The Present Indicative Active of ἵστημι (S 416; GPH p. 134):

ἵστημι  I stand

ἵσταμεν we stand

ἵστης you stand

ἵστατε you all stand

ἵστησι (s)he, it stands

(ἱστάασι →) ἱστᾶσι they stand

Present infinitive active: ἱστάναι

Note here that in the 3rd Person Plural, the alphas DO contract.

 

IV. ἵημι

The verb throw has the stem -. The rough breathing suggests that the stem was originally ση-, which, when REDUPLICATED, would produce the form σιση– (S 778). When these σ‘s drop out, and the initial ι aspirated, the result is as follows:

– → ἱη

The long stem vowel shortens in the plural forms in the same manner as τίθημι.

ἱη– for the present tense singular forms
ἱε– for the present tense plural forms and infinitive

The Present Indicative Active of ἵημι (S 777):

ἵημι  I throw

ἵεμεν we throw

ἵης you throw

ἵετε you all throw

ἵησι (s)he, it throws

(ἱέασι →) ἱᾶσι they throw

Present infinitive active: ἱέναι

Note that ἵημι conjugates much like τίθημι does. The exception is the 3rd Person Plural, where a peculiar sound change resulted in the ε dropping, and a circumflex over the alpha. Why? Great question.

 


Vocabulary

I. Prefixes

Prefixes formed from prepositions are often added to the six verbs of the previous and current lesson. We discuss examples of such prefixes in more detail later, but for now, note the following verbs, which themselves are quite common.

δίδωμι give

ἀποδίδωμι give back (ἀπό away, from)
παραδίδωμι hand over, deliver (παρά beside, to)

εἰμί be

πάρειμι be present (παρ’ beside, to)
Note that once a prefix is added to εἰμί, the resulting verb form follows the RECESSIVE ACCENT rules; it is no longer an ENCLITIC.

ἵημι throw

ἀφίημι send forth; let go, allow (ἀφ’ from)

ἵστημι stand

ἀνίστημι raise, appoint (ἀν’ up)
καθίστημι set down, establish (καθ’ down)
παρίστημι present, offer, supply (παρ’ beside, to)

τίθημι put, make

ἐπιτίθημι put on (ἐπί on)
προστίθημι add to (πρός toward)

 

II. “No,” “Not”

When οὔ has an acute accent, it usually means, No! When οὐ bears NO ACCENT, however, it is used to negate an INDICATIVE verb.

αὐτὸ οὐ δείκνυμιI am not showing it.

Before a word starting with a vowel with smooth breathing, –κ is added to end of οὐ to make pronunciation easier.

αὐτὸν οὐκ ἀφίημιI am not sending him forth.

Before a word starting with a rough breathing, the –κ becomes –χ:

αὐτὸ οὐχ ἵημι. I am not throwing it.

 

Verbs in the INFINITIVE MOOD use a different word to express “not”: μή. Note the following examples:

δίδωμι ὑμεῖς παρεῖναιI give (= allow) you all to be present.
οὐ δίδωμι ὑμεῖς παρεῖναιI do not allow you all to be present.
δίδωμι ὑμεῖς μὴ παρεῖναι. I allow you all not to be present.

– τὸ τέλος –


 

Key Terms and Concepts

  • REDUPLICATION
  • REDUPLICATED ASPIRATED CONSONANTS
  • REDUPLICATED SIGMA

Vocabulary

  • ἀνίστημι raise, appoint
  • ἀποδίδωμι give back
  • ἀφίημι send forth; let go, allow
  • δίδωμι give
  • ἐπιτίθημι put on
  • ἵημι throw
  • ἵστημι stand
  • καθίστημι set down, establish
  • μή no, not (infinitive mood)
  • οὐ, οὐκ, οὐχ no, not (indicative mood)
  • παραδίδωμι hand over, deliver
  • πάρειμι be present
  • παρίστημι present, offer, supply
  • προστίθημι add to
  • τίθημι put, place, make
  • αὐτό “it”
  • αὐτόν “him”
  • αὐτήν “her”

Exercises

Ι. Conjugate from memory δίδωμι, τίθημι, ἵστημι, ἵημι in the present, indicative, active, and provide the present active infinitive for each.

ΙΙ. For each form, give the person and number, and translate.

  1. ἐπιτίθης
  2. ἵσταμεν
  3. δίδοτε
  4. ἀφιᾶσιν
  5. ἵεμεν
  6. τίθημι
  7. παραδίδωσι
  8. ἀποδιδόασι
  9. ἵης
  10. ἀνίστησι

ΙΙΙ. Provide the appropriate Greek verb form for each of the following.

  1. to stand
  2. they make
  3. he gives
  4. they throw
  5. to place
  6. you all are giving back
  7. it is present
  8. we allow
  9. to appoint
  10. you (singular) are establishing

IV. Translate the following sentences. For each verb (except for ἐθέλομεν), give the person and number. Note the punctuation and movable nu’s!

  1. ἔστι καὶ ἐθέλομεν αὐτὸ παριστάναι.
  2. αὐτὴν οὐκ ἀνίστησι;
  3. αὐτὸ δείκνυτε· ἐθέλομεν αὐτὸ μὴ παραδιδόναι.
  4. αὐτὸν ἀπολλύασι; αὐτὸ οὐ δεικνύασιν.
  5. οὐκ ἐθέλομεν αὐτὸν ἀπολλύναι.
  6. καὶ ἱστᾶσι καὶ οὐκ ἀφιᾶσιν αὐτὴν ἱστάναι.

 

 

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Four More Common Greek Verbs by Wilfred E. Major and Michael Laughy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.