Imperative forms and usage

cwconrad
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Imperative forms and usage

Post by cwconrad » April 22nd, 2012, 6:58 am

It seems to me that the discussion that began with "Verbs of saying in the imperative" has spawned several sub-threads (one might say has repeatedly sprouted new hydra-heads) within the subforum "Syntax and Grammar." I wonder whether it might not be helpful to people who are looking for help with the Greek imperative forms and usage to have these collected in a new subforum under some such rubric as I have suggested here.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Scott Lawson
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Re: Imperative forms and usage

Post by Scott Lawson » April 22nd, 2012, 11:26 am

Carl,
I like this idea. I was having trouble divining where to post my questions. I did not realize how interesting imperatives are and I'm having a great time exploring their history and use. I still feel that an exploration of how they were initially used and the forms they supplanted or didn't supplant could shed some light on their function. Perhaps this ground has already been covered by someone. I have no doubt that it will take me years of study to be able to compare the old Greek with Koine and reach some conclusions, but for me it's not about the destination but rather the journey.

If you want to move some of these posts of mine to better organize the forum I think it would be great! I think this is going to be an area of interest to me for a while. It's amazing how finding joy and interest in one subject helps one to learn more about many other subjects that may touch upon it. This is my "seed pickers" (σπερμολόγος ) method of learning and this forum my Aeropagus. What Paul was accused of being and which he definitely was not, I am - σπερμολόγος. ;)

Thanks Carl!
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Scott Lawson

Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Imperative forms and usage

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » April 22nd, 2012, 5:15 pm

No. I predict that the questions about imperative won't last long. However, the discussion seems to be mostly about aspect and I wouldn't mind if "Aspect and tense" had a dedicated subforum. There are quite many threads about aspect and that spring won't dry up soon.
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Scott Lawson
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Re: Imperative forms and usage

Post by Scott Lawson » April 22nd, 2012, 6:56 pm

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:No. I predict that the questions about imperative won't last long.
Hey Eeli! Don't curse my efforts in getting help with the imperative! I'll keep slogging along in my journey alone if I have to, but it's nice to have reliable guides pointing out the way!

If one can distinguish the outstanding characteristics of the imperative over its alternatives then one might come to some conclusions about its nature and use. I'm still trying to understand the elemental facts about the imperative. Has Robertson said all that can be said about the history and development of the imperative? Please feel free to comment on what I state as facts about the imperative as well as my questions and tentative answers to some of my questions.




Facts:

Past time is not present in the imperative so the augment is omitted in the imperfect and aorist tense-forms.

The imperative always implies future time.

The imperative is a late development in Greek. It is the last of the moods to appear.

Prohibitions in the 2nd and 3rd person aorist subjunctive held their place and were not supplanted by the imperative.

The imperative and the future between them carried off the old jussive use of the subjunctive in positive commands of 2nd and 3rd person.

The imperative receives most of its forms from the old injunctive.

The subjunctive, optative, future indicative, infinitive and participle are all used imperativally.

The imperative lacks a regular set of its own suffixes.

The imperative appears in a present form sometimes indistinguishable from the 2nd person plural present indicative active and middle.

Questions that arise and some possible answers:

Q. What is it that the imperative does/has that the alternatives for the imperative has/lack?

A. The alternatives to the imperative lack immediacy/urgency. They lack a sense of a superior addressing an inferior or a peer speaking with urgency.

Q. Is aspect more prominent in the imperative than in the alternatives?

Q. Since prohibitions in the 2nd and 3rd person aorist subjunctive held their place and were not supplanted by the imperative is there a clear sense of urgency in the subjunctive or not? Is it Stop or Do not…?

Q. Do prohibitions in the imperative show a clear sense of urgency?

Q. What significance is there to the adverb δεῦρο/δεῦτε used imperativally?

Q. Is there special significance in the imperatival suffixes?

A. Robertson is suggestive in his comments that non-thematic stems used the suffix θι (possibly an adverb; cf. “you there!” He also points out that τω is probably the ablative of the demonstrative pronoun. (Rob. 328, 3 & 4)



Q. What might the present form of the imperative add that the alternatives lacked?
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Scott Lawson

karivalkama
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Re: Imperative forms and usage

Post by karivalkama » April 23rd, 2012, 2:16 am

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
No. I predict that the questions about imperative won't last long.

Scott Lawson wrote
Hey Eeli! Don't curse my efforts in getting help with the imperative! I'll keep slogging along in my journey alone if I have to, but it's nice to have reliable guides pointing out the way!


I fail to see, how expressing an opinion is cursing. ;(

Yours,
Kari
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Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Imperative forms and usage

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » April 23rd, 2012, 4:07 am

Scott Lawson wrote:
Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:No. I predict that the questions about imperative won't last long.
Hey Eeli! Don't curse my efforts in getting help with the imperative!
Sorry about the tone of the brief and quick comment. I didn't of course mean that the subject is unimportant that uninteresting. It has been as interesting and thought-provoking than any. I have already been helped by discussion and driven to think anew, more than I have written here. All I said and meant was that the topic, namely imperative, isn't worth new sub-forum. There are larger topics which may prove worth it, but subforums shouldn't be created too easily.
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Alex Hopkins
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Re: Imperative forms and usage

Post by Alex Hopkins » April 23rd, 2012, 7:04 am

Scott - and others - might find interesting a previous thread on the earlier version of B-Greek. Ward Powers, whose text book Learn to Read the Greek New Testament may be known to some, wrote,
In Greek Class last night a question was raised about the tense of the imperative FEUGE in Matthew 2:13 and POREUOU in Matthew 2:19. In each case the context is an angel giving an instruction to Joseph in a dream as to what he is to do next, in identical language: "Get up and take the lad and his mother and" [flee to Egypt/travel to the land of Israel]. Now here is the question: a specific and decisive act is called for in response to the imperative: "flee", "travel"; why then the present tense for the infinitives? Should we not rather have expected the aorist here? Even if the idea were taken to be inceptive, "start fleeing", "start travelling", we could have had here an inceptive aorist. So, what is the significance of the Gospel writer's choice of a present imperative in each case?
Ward's opening shot can be found here: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/test-arch ... 31391.html

It covered similar ground and in it can be seen the same tension between an Aktionsart and an aspectual approach to the imperative as has been reflected in the current discussion(s). I've not been able to contribute to the discussion but thank those who have; I'm sure there have been a good number of others like me who have been interested in the various viewpoints and in the references cited.

Alex Hopkins
Melbourne, Australia
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cwconrad
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Re: Imperative forms and usage

Post by cwconrad » April 23rd, 2012, 10:14 am

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:No. I predict that the questions about imperative won't last long. However, the discussion seems to be mostly about aspect and I wouldn't mind if "Aspect and tense" had a dedicated subforum. There are quite many threads about aspect and that spring won't dry up soon.
I think that what I was suggesting was misunderstood. I don't care at all how much longer forum-members might wish to hash out questions concerning imperative forms of usage. I was thinking rather about the multiple threads on this one subject scattered about within "Syntax and Grammar" under different rubrics. For the sake of those who may wish to consult our forum in the future and view what's been said about imperative forms and usage, it would ease their task if the scattered threads were gathered together under a single rubric. The multi-tiered structure of this forum offers the advantage of focusing discussion of particular topics in readily-understood locations -- but that utility of or multi-tiered structure is undermined when those who initiate new threads are not careful in formulating their subject-header and pigeon-holing their messages in relevant locations.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Scott Lawson
Posts: 363
Joined: June 9th, 2011, 6:36 pm

Re: Imperative forms and usage

Post by Scott Lawson » April 23rd, 2012, 2:00 pm

And again I'll reiterate that I had trouble divining where to post my questions and think your suggestion a fine idea!
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Scott Lawson

Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Imperative forms and usage

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » April 23rd, 2012, 2:51 pm

OK. There's need for some solution. One widely used is to create sticky threads which are seen at the top of the list of topics when a forum or subforum is opened. Sometimes they are just popular, important threads later made sticky. But we could also create a dedicated "Table of Contents" thead. For every importand subject there would be one post, giving links to threads which deal with that subject. The moderators could edit the those posts when new threads appear.

The problem with creating new subforums is apparent: many threads would logically belong to several subforums. If there are too many subforums it will be difficult to find the place where you want to write or the place where you want to look up for something; if a thread deals for example with aspect in imperative and it's under "Imperative", you won't find it under "Aspect" even if aspect would be very prominent in that thread. Or vice versa.
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