Derivational morphology and non-decomposable roots

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Derivational morphology and non-decomposable roots

Post by Stephen Hughes » April 17th, 2016, 7:20 pm

MAubrey wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:Perhaps because I changed voice in the verbs, that confused you.
Obviously. But that was your own fault. You can't just arbitrary swap voices between verbs with casuative actives and then talk about transitivity without causing confusion. I need to know what data you're looking at if I'm going to follow the discussion and different voices = different data.
Stephen Hughes wrote:
MAubrey wrote:causing confusion
Perhaps cause and spread are close synonyms in this situation.
Joking aside, listing the form of a transitive verb in the active - either infinitive or first person indicative - implies that one means the verb (in all its permutations), wile listing it in the middle - either infinitive or first person indicative - implies that it is deponent - limited in its forms to the middle. Listing a particular form in the context of a discussion that makes it clear that only one voice is under discussion is dependent on the situation. Generally speaking, ἀναπαύειν is a shorthand way to write all the forms including the active (transitive) and the middle. Ideally, there might have been a convention where ἀναπαύειν as representing all forms were written with something to mark that is a lemma, rather than an individual form, but none has been handed down to us. If someone were to introduce a convention, then the biggest effect would be confusing people when they read older works. It would be unidiomatic English simply to use the word "the" in front of the verb, as a way to concreting the imagined full conjugation of the verb into one word. What is the difference between "causing confusion" and "your own fault" on the one hand, and "relying on others familiarity with the language, and their appreciation of context to overcome the inherent ambiguity in what we read" on the other? Probably emotions.

The listing of the middle in a discussion of a verb represents a subset of the entire conjugational system. The listing of the active is either the active at the exclusion of the middle or the representation of the entire conjugational system. If ἀναπαύειν and παύεσθαι are compared, then according to simple logic, the only way that the comparison can word is to say that "while I recognise that ἀναπαύειν has a full conjugation - both active and middle-passive - I want to look at the way that it corresponds with the middle of παύεσθαι - a subset of παύειν. ".

There is a basic assumption in dialogue that even if we don't understand what somebody has said, that they both understood what they wanted to say, and thought that what they had said was meaningful and adequate. In an ideal world, some (or all) of the middle forms of some verbs should be listed and treated separately (in some of their meanings), when they differ from the active in syntactic function, even if the general meaning is unchanged, but they are not. An active format, then is a short-handed for active and middle, and a middle is just middle, either a selection from out of an entire system, or being the only possibility in a deponent verb (one limited in form to the middle).

[We know pretty clearly that in the places where the noun ἀνάπαυσις is used that the middle meaning of the verb is implied (if the noun had been used). That is shown both from context of the Sabbath commands etc. and from the collocation of the verbs that require action on the part of the person themselves; εὑρεῖν or ζητούν. ]
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

cwconrad
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Re: Lexicographical conventions and implications

Post by cwconrad » April 18th, 2016, 7:17 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:Joking aside, listing the form of a transitive verb in the active - either infinitive or first person indicative - implies that one means the verb (in all its permutations), wile listing it in the middle - either infinitive or first person indicative - implies that it is deponent - limited in its forms to the middle. Listing a particular form in the context of a discussion that makes it clear that only one voice is under discussion is dependent on the situation. Generally speaking, ἀναπαύειν is a shorthand way to write all the forms including the active (transitive) and the middle. Ideally, there might have been a convention where ἀναπαύειν as representing all forms were written with something to mark that is a lemma, rather than an individual form, but none has been handed down to us. If someone were to introduce a convention, then the biggest effect would be confusing people when they read older works. It would be unidiomatic English simply to use the word "the" in front of the verb, as a way to concreting the imagined full conjugation of the verb into one word. What is the difference between "causing confusion" and "your own fault" on the one hand, and "relying on others familiarity with the language, and their appreciation of context to overcome the inherent ambiguity in what we read" on the other? Probably emotions.

The listing of the middle in a discussion of a verb represents a subset of the entire conjugational system. The listing of the active is either the active at the exclusion of the middle or the representation of the entire conjugational system. If ἀναπαύειν and παύεσθαι are compared, then according to simple logic, the only way that the comparison can word is to say that "while I recognise that ἀναπαύειν has a full conjugation - both active and middle-passive - I want to look at the way that it corresponds with the middle of παύεσθαι - a subset of παύειν. ".

There is a basic assumption in dialogue that even if we don't understand what somebody has said, that they both understood what they wanted to say, and thought that what they had said was meaningful and adequate. In an ideal world, some (or all) of the middle forms of some verbs should be listed and treated separately (in some of their meanings), when they differ from the active in syntactic function, even if the general meaning is unchanged, but they are not. An active format, then is a short-handed for active and middle, and a middle is just middle, either a selection from out of an entire system, or being the only possibility in a deponent verb (one limited in form to the middle).

[We know pretty clearly that in the places where the noun ἀνάπαυσις is used that the middle meaning of the verb is implied (if the noun had been used). That is shown both from context of the Sabbath commands etc. and from the collocation of the verbs that require action on the part of the person themselves; εὑρεῖν or ζητούν. ]
I'm supposing that the doctrines of lexicography set forth above are those currently governing the work of the DGE and the Cambridge Greek Lexicon Project (are there other current active projects in ancient Greek lexicography?). I know of at least two proposed changes which I regard as being for the better: one is lemmatizing by infinitive rather than by 1 person sg. indicative active), the other is lemmatizing by aorist or present infinitive to indicate a verb's aspectual preference for perfective or imperfective. I certainly favor both of these.

There are some other changes that I personally would like to see in the lemmatization of verbs. In particular, if the incipient drive to depose the doctrine of deponency should gather enough steam, I would recommend that verbs such as παύειν/παύεσθαι be listed just so, with a clear indication that the active form is causative, the middle form intransitive. For a verb like ἱστάναι/ἵστασθαι I think it might even be preferable to reverse the order: ἵστασθαι/ἱστάναι inasmuch as the intransitive sense seems (to me, at least) primary, the causative active sense secondary (this would be comparable to lemmatizing the aorist form of a verb that is spectrally fundamentally perfective). I would suggest that ἄρχεσθαι as an auxiliary verb used with a participle like its antithesis παύεσθαι be listed as a verb distinct from ἅρχειν with the sense "have primacy over."The deposition of deponency should also liberate us from defining πορεύεσθαι as "passive with active meaning" -- it's simply an ordinary middle verb of locomotion.

But this leads into a larger question of how conventions in lexicography and in grammatical terminology are arrived at (how's that for a passive usage of a verb with an adverbial attachment?). Linguists seem to coin new words readily, some of which gain wide acceptance while others have to compete with alternative coinages suggested by other scholars. Obviously proposed coinages don't win acceptance as soon as they are proposed, nor should they be. Is it conceivable that some grand convocation of the "guild" (if there can be said to be a "guild" inclusive of all who deal professionally with ancient Greek) could meet and resolve some of the questions of terminology? The traditional lore is both a blessing and a curse, both a boon and a bane of pedagogy in our "discipline."

If there should be any real interest in these questions, this might preferably be moved into a new topic.
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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)

Stephen Carlson
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Re: Lexicographical conventions and implications

Post by Stephen Carlson » April 18th, 2016, 6:19 pm

cwconrad wrote:I would suggest that ἄρχεσθαι as an auxiliary verb used with a participle like its antithesis παύεσθαι be listed as a verb distinct from ἅρχειν with the sense "have primacy over."
Agreed on ἄρχεσθαι vs. ἄρχω. I would also add ἅπτειν / ἅπτεσθαι. εύαγγελίζεσθαι is another interesting case. Only twice out of 54 times is it active. I would lemmatize on εὐαγγελίζεσθαι and note the active as a by-form.

I'm also not sure what to do with a number of verbs that are clearly productive in both the active and middle/"passive" yet tend to avoid the active, with varying degrees of repulsion: καλεῖν (active 55 times out of 148), ἐπικαλεῖν (active 1 time out of 29), γράφειν (active 82 times out of 190; this one prefers the perfect), πληροῦν (active 24 times about 86), ἐγείρειν (active 57 times out of 143), ἐνδύειν (active 3 times out of 28), πιμπλάναι (active 2 times out of 24), ὑποτάσσειν (active 9 times out of 38), δικαιοῦν (active 10 times out of 39), etc.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

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