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74 The Perfect System: Part II

Fragment of sculpted monument commemorating a tribal victory in the ἀνθιππασία (team cavalry display) at the Panathenaic games. On the back is the inscription ΛΕΟΝΤΙΣ ΕΝΙΚΑ, “the Leontis tribe won.” ca. 400 B.C. Athenian Agora Excavations.


The Perfect System: Middle Voice

 

As we learned in our last lesson, the PERFECT MIDDLE is formed by adding the PRIMARY MIDDLE ENDINGS directly to the PERFECT STEM. If the PERFECT STEM ends in a vowel (e.g. λέλυ-), the inflection pattern is straightforward. If the PERFECT STEM ends in a CONSONANT, however, a number of sound changes arise. Observe the following inflection of the PERFECT MIDDLE of δείκνυμι.

 

The Perfect Indicative Middle of δείκνυμι, δείξω, ἔδειξα, δέδειχα, δέδειγμαι, ἐδείχθην (stem: δεικ-) (S 406; GPH p. 96)

δέδειγμαι

δεδείγμεθα

δέδειξαι

δέδειχθε

δέδεικται

δεδειγμένοι εἰσί

The Perfect Middle Infinitive: δεδεῖχθαι

 

As you can see, when the final consonant of a PERFECT STEM (here –κ) encounters the initial sound of the middle personal endings, a number of sound changes occur. Though at first blush these sound changes may appear random, they are in fact regular and predictable (S 82-87, 103). In some cases, however, no sound change could ever make the verb comfortable to pronounce in Greek. In such situations, Greek replaces the – to them – unpronounceable verb form with a PERIPHRASTIC form, here δεδειγμένοι εἰσί.

In all languages, certain verb tenses are expressed not by one inflected form, but by two or more words that together express a single verbal action. Such combinations of words are called PERIPHRASTIC (< Greek περίφρασις talking around or circumlocution).

For example, in the English present tense, we can say He goes and He does go.

  • He goes: not periphrastic, since the action is expressed in one verb form.
  • He does go: periphrastic, since both words together form one verbal action.

In English, some verb tenses are always periphrastic. In the future tense, for example, we say:

  • He will go.

As we can see in the above inflection of δείκνυμι, Greeks did not even try to say the 3rd person plural form (which would require somehow pronouncing *δέ-δεικ-νται). For this person and number, Greek instead uses a PERIPHRASTIC verb form (S 599). We discuss how to create and inflect these forms later in the lesson.

For now, let us review the SOUND CHANGES that do regularly occur when PRIMARY or SECONDARY MIDDLE ENDINGS meet consonant stems, i.e., stems that end in labials, palatals, dentals, or nasals. (Note: A handout of the following charts is available for download here: Perfect Middle Consonant Chart).

 

Labials (β, π, φ)

Palatals (κ, γ, χ)

Dentals (τ, δ, θ, ζ)

Nasals (ν, μ)

Before

 Becomes

Becomes

Becomes

Becomes

μ (μαι, μην…)

μ

γ 

σ

σ

σ (σαι, σο)

ψ

ξ  

(drops out)

[not used]

τ (ται, το) 

π

κ 

σ 

ν

σθ (σθε, σθαι) 

φθ

χθ

σθ

νθ

 

Or, to put it another way:

Labials (β, π, φ)

Palatals (κ, γ, χ)

Dentals (τ, δ, θ, ζ)

Nasals (ν, μ)

Before

Becomes

Becomes

Becomes

Becomes

μ (μαι, μην…)

μμαι, μμην

γμαι, γμην

σμαι, σμην

σμαι, σμην

σ (σαι, σο)

ψαι, ψο

ξαι, ξο

σαι, σο

[not used]

τ (ται, το) 

πται, πτο

κται, κτο

σται, στο

νται, ντο

σθ (σθε, σθαι) 

φθε, φθαι

χθε, χθαι

σθε, σθαι

 νθε, νθαι

 

As you review these charts, note the following:

  • σ– drops out when between two consonants, e.g. φσθε → φθε (S 715).
  • Stems ending in a NASAL (ν, μ) do not allow a form that has a personal ending beginning with σ (e.g. σαι, σο). For example, the 2nd person singular of the PERFECT MIDDLE of φαίνω, φανῶ, ἔφηνα (stem: φαν-) should be *πέ-φαν-σαι. Though perhaps acceptable to pronounce to an English speaker, Greeks avoided saying this form, and substituted a PERIPHRASTIC form instead (S 707a).
    • (*πέ-φαν-σαι →) πεφασμένος εἶ
  • The MIDDLE voice 3rd person plural endings (-νται and –ντο) do not appear on the chart. This is because Greeks ALWAYS rendered the middle 3rd person plural as a PERIPHRASTIC. (Again, we review how to form PERIPHRASTICS later in the lesson.)

 

A number of 3rd declension neuter nouns were created by adding –μαματος endings to verb stems to denote the result of an action (S 841.2). Many of these nouns exhibit the sound changes reflected in the above charts. For example:

  • γράφωγράμμα, γράμματος that which is drawn; line
  • παραδείκνυμι → παράδειγμα, παραδείγματος that which is shown; pattern; model
  • δοκέω  → δόγμα, δόγματος, that which seems to one; opinion; belief
  • μιαίνω → μίασμα, μιάσματος that which defiles; stain; pollution
  • φαίνω → φάσμα, φάσματος that which appears; apparition; phantom

 


Some Paradigms

 

Putting it all together, note the following inflections of the PERFECT MIDDLE for consonant stem verbs.

 

Perfect Indicative Middle of γράφω, γράψω, ἔγραψα, γέγραφα, γέγραμμαι, ἐγράφην (stem: γραφ-) (S 406; GPH p. 96)

γέγραμμαι

γεγράμμεθα

γέγραψαι

γέγραφθε

γέγραπται

γεγραμμένοι εἰσί  

The Perfect Middle Infinitive: γεγράφθαι

 

Perfect Indicative Middle of πείθω, πείσω, ἔπεισα, πέπεικα, πέπεισμαι, ἐπείσθην (stem: πειθ-) (S 406)

πέπεισμαι

πεπείσμεθα

πέπεισαι

πέπεισθε

πέπεισται

πεπεισμένοι εἰσί

The Perfect Middle Infinitive: πεπεῖσθαι

 

Perfect Indicative Middle of ἄγω, ἄξω, ἤγαγον, ἦχα, ἦγμαι, ἤχθην (stem: ἀγ-) (S 406; GPH p. 96)

ἦγμαι

ἤγμεθα

ἦξαι

ἦχθε

ἦκται

ἠγμένοι εἰσί

The Perfect Middle Infinitive: ἦχθαι

 

Perfect Indicative Middle of φαίνω, φανῶ, ἔφηνα, πέφηνα, πέφασμαι, ἐφάνην (stem: φαν-) (S 407)

πέφασμαι

πεφάσμεθα

πεφασμένος εἶ

πέφανθε

πέφανται

πεφασμένοι εἰσί

The Perfect Middle Infinitive: πεφάνθαι

 

 


The Perfect System: Active Participles

 

The pattern of the PERFECT ACTIVE PARTICIPLE is as follows:

  • MASCULINE and NEUTER: perfect stem + κοτ +  3rd declension endings
    • Gradual sound changes resulted in the NOMINATIVE MASCULINE SINGULAR ending –ώς, NEUTER  –ός (S 301 c)
  • FEMININE: perfect stem + κ + –υι– + 1st declension endings (S 301 d)
    • 1st declension endings for the FEMININE are  in the nom. and acc. sing.
  • The persistent accent is on the VOWEL sound immediately following the κ voice marker.

To sum up, the NOMINATIVE SINGULAR of PERFECT ACTIVE participles (S 301 c, d) is as follows:

  • Masculine: –κώς (stem: –κοτ)
  • Feminine: –κυῖα (stem: κυι)
  • Neuter: –κός (stem: –κοτ)

 

Perfect Active Participle of λύω loosen (S 309; GPH p. 196)

Singular:

M

 F

 N

Nominative

λελυκώς

λελυκυῖα

λελυκός

Genitive

λελυκότος

λελυκυίας

λελυκότος

Dative

λελυκότι

λελυκυίᾳ

λελυκότι

Accusative

λελυκότα

λελυκυῖαν

λελυκός

Plural:

M

 F

 N

Nominative

λελυκότες

λελυκυῖαι

λελυκότα

Genitive

λελυκότων

λελυκυιῶν

λελυκότων

Dative

λελυκόσι

λελυκυίαις

λελυκόσι

Accusative

λελυκότας

λελυκυίας

λελυκότα

 


The Perfect System: Middle Participles

 

Recall that the pattern for ALL PARTICIPLES in the MIDDLE voice is:

  • tense stem + μεν + 2-1-2 adjective endings

For the PERFECT MIDDLE PARTICIPLE, note the following:

  • The accent remains fixed on the –μέν– marker (PENULT).
  • Thematic verbs do NOT add a thematic vowel before the –μένος, μένη, μένον ending.
  • The addition of the –μέν– marker to consonant stems results in the same sound changes expressed in the charts above.

For example (S 716; GPH p. 197):

  • λελυμένος, λελυμένη, λελυμένον
  • δεδειγμένος δεδειγμένη δεδειγμένον
  • γεγραμμένος, γεγραμμένη, γεγραμμένον
  • πεπεισμένος, πεπεισμένη, πεπεισμένον
  • ἠγμένος, ἠγμένη, ἠγμένον
  • πεφασμένος, πεφασμένη, πεφασμένον

 


Periphrastic Verbs

 

Now that we have learned the PERFECT PARTICIPLE, we can turn to the PERIPHRASTIC construction.

Both Greek and English lack single verb forms that are both PERFECT and PASSIVE. Each language uses combinations of a PARTICIPLE and AUXILIARY verb to convey the PERFECT PASSIVE. In English, for example, we say:

  • The ball has been kicked.

To form the PERIPHRASTIC of the perfect tense in the MIDDLE or PASSIVE voice, Greek uses:

  • The form of the PERFECT MIDDLE PARTICIPLE that matches the GENDER and NUMBER of the subject.
  • The PRESENT tense form of εἰμί that matches the PERSON and NUMBER of the subject.

As discussed above, Greek prefers to have a PERIPHRASTIC construction for the 3rd person plural of PERFECT MIDDLE CONSONANT STEM verbs. Note, though, that even when Greek has a PERFECT MIDDLE that can be expressed in one form, it is not unusual for some authors to use a PERIPHRASTIC construction for all persons and numbers, particularly if the middle form is being used for the PASSIVE voice. Context will usually let you know whether the voice is intended to be MIDDLE or PASSIVE.

 

The Perfect System: Passive Voice

  • ὁ νόμος γέγραπται or ὁ νόμος γεγραμμένος ἐστίν.
    • The law has been written down.
    • The participle γεγραμμένος is nominative masculine singular, matching the subject, ὁ νόμος. Since the subject is 3rd pers. sing., so is the form of εἰμί: ἐστίν.
  • οἱ νόμοι γεγραμμένοι εἰσίν.
    • The laws have been written down.
    • The participle γεγραμμένοι is nominative masculine plural, matching the subject, οἱ νόμοι. Since the subject is 3rd pers. pl., so is the form of εἰμί: εἰσί.

 

The Perfect System: Middle Voice

  • ὁ παῖς δέδεικται.
    • The boy has shown himself.
  • οἱ παίδες δεδειγμένοι εἰσί.
    • The boys have shown themselves.
    • The participle δεδειγμένοι is nominative masculine plural, matching the subject, οἱ παίδες. Since the subject is 3rd pers. pl., so is the form of εἰμίεἰσί.
  • αἱ γυναῖκες δεδειγμέναι εἰσί.
    • The women have shown themselves.
    • The participle δεδειγμέναι is nominative feminine plural, matching the subject, αἱ γυναῖκες. Since the subject is 3rd pers. pl., so is the form of εἰμί: εἰσί.

 

– τὸ τέλος –

 


Key Terms and Concepts

  • PERIPHRASTIC VERBS
  • PERFECT MIDDLE OF CONSONANT STEMS
  • PERFECT ACTIVE PARTICIPLES
  • PERFECT MIDDLE PARTICIPLES

Exercises

 

1. Fill in the blank chart, available for download here: Perfect Middle Consonant Chart Blank.

2. To form the PERIPHRASTIC of the perfect tense in the MIDDLE or PASSIVE voice, Greek uses:

  • The form of the ________________________ that matches the ____________ and ____________ of the subject.
  • The ____________ tense form of the VERB ____________ that matches the ____________ and ____________ of the subject.

3. Conjugate the PERFECT MIDDLE of the following verbs.

  • ἄρχω, ἄρξω, ἤρξα, ἦρχα, ἦργμαι, ἤρχθην
  • γράφω, γράψω, ἔγραψα, γέγραφα, γέγραμμαι, ἐγράφην
  • πείθω, πείσω, ἔπεισα, πέπεικα, πέπεισμαι, ἐπείσθην

4. The pattern of the PERFECT ACTIVE PARTICIPLE is:

  • MASCULINE and NEUTER: perfect stem + ______ + ______ + ______ declension endings
    • Gradual sound changes resulted in the NOMINATIVE MASCULINE SINGULAR ending –______, NEUTER  –______
  • FEMININE: perfect stem + ______ + ______ + ______ declension endings
    • 1st declension endings for the FEMININE are ______ in the nom. and acc. sing.
  • The persistent accent is on the VOWEL sound immediately ____________ the ______ voice marker.

5. The pattern of the PERFECT MIDDLE PARTICIPLE is:

  • perfect stem +  ______ + ______ adjective endings
  • The persistent accent is fixed on the ______ marker

6. For the following verbs, provide the NOMINATIVE and GENITIVE SINGULAR, in all genders, of the PERFECT ACTIVE and MIDDLE PARTICIPLE.

  • θύω, θύσω, ἔθυσα, τέθυκα, τέθυμαι, ἐτύθην
  • γράφω, γράψω, ἔγραψα, γέγραφα, γέγραμμαι, ἐγράφην
  • πείθω, πείσω, ἔπεισα, πέπεικα, πέπεισμαι, ἐπείσθην
  • ἄγω, ἄξω, ἤγαγον, ἦχα, ἦγμαι, ἤχθην
  • παύω, παύσω, ἔπαυσα, πέπαυκα, πέπαυμαι, ἐπαύθην
  • ποιέω, ποιήσω, ἐποίησα, πεποίηκα, πεποίημαι, ἐποιήθην

 

 

 

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The Perfect System: Part II by Wilfred E. Major and Michael Laughy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.