Morphology of οἶδα

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David M. Miller
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Morphology of οἶδα

Post by David M. Miller » October 15th, 2015, 12:03 pm

Why does the stem of οἶδα change from οιδ in the perfect indicative to ειδ in the perfect subjunctive?
David M. Miller
Briercrest College & Seminary

cwconrad
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Re: Morphology of οἶδα

Post by cwconrad » October 15th, 2015, 2:24 pm

David M. Miller wrote:Why does the stem of οἶδα change from οιδ in the perfect indicative to ειδ in the perfect subjunctive?
It's actually more complicated than that. The root of this verb has the so-called Ablaut or "Vowel gradation" of the e/o/- variety; for the Greek verb it is ϝειδ/ϝοιδ/ϝιδ, In the older Homeric and Classical verb the singular of the perfect active takes the ϝοιδ form: οἶδα, οἶδας, οἶδε, while the plural takes the ϝιδ- form: ἴδμεν or ἴσμεν, ἴστε, ἰσᾶσι. In the later Koine the ϝοιδ/οιδ form has become standard for both singular and plural. Yes, it's the e- form in the participle εἰδώς and infinitive εῖδέναι (in the rare pluperfect also). This is the same as the old English verb seen in the older forms of the KJV, "I wis" and "wist ye not ... ?"

I know it's not very helpful, but with irregular verbs the simple fact is that you have to learn practically the whole conjugation; if they conformed fully to the expected patterns, they wouldn't be irregular. Verbs that remain in regular daily usage over the centuries change very slowly and tend to retain their archaic forms pretty long.
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: Morphology of οἶδα

Post by Stephen Carlson » October 15th, 2015, 4:44 pm

Yes. I would like to add that we see ἴσασι in Acts 26:4.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

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