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noun/adjective agreement

Posted: September 20th, 2015, 7:55 pm
by magnvs
This probably has a simple answer but I can't find anything in the books that I own... My understanding is that the case, number, and gender of an attributive should match the word that it modifies. In several places (e.g. Matt. 19:16) I find "ζωὴν αἰώνιον." To my relatively untrained eye that looks like a noun in accusative singular feminine paired with an adjective that appears to be accusative singular masculine. I'd expect to find "ζωὴν αἰώνιαν" but that doesn't occur. What's happening in these instances?

Thanks in advance!

Re: noun/adjective agreement

Posted: September 20th, 2015, 11:56 pm
by wcombs
There are some adjectives like αἰώνιος that have only two terminations: masculine/feminine and neuter. What looks like the masculine endings in the case of αἰώνιος serves for both the masculine and feminine. So in Matt 19:16 αἰώνιον is actually feminine. Most of the beginning grammars mention this, I think, but sometimes it is hard to find and may be in only a footnote. Mounce mentions it in his grammar on p. 68 I believe.

Re: noun/adjective agreement

Posted: September 21st, 2015, 7:02 am
by Paul-Nitz
Yep, it's a simple answer.

A good number of adjectives do not have a dedicated Feminine declension.
To the list below, you might add τίς (“who?” Masc or Fem). From Swetnam:
  • Many adjectives in this category are compound adjectives, i.e., adjectives formed from two elements. For example: ἔκφοβος, composed of ἐκ and φόβος [a substantive], or εὔκαιρος, composed of εὐ and καιρός [a substantive]. The most common type of adjective in this category is the one composed of an adjective with the prefix of an alpha privative. (See following section.)

    The Alpha Privative

    A common way to form a compound adjective is to prefix an ἀ (called an “alpha privative”) to negate the force of the adjective’s meaning: δυνατός, powerful > ἀδύνατος, impossible. (In English the prefixes in-, im-, and un- perform the same function.) The Greek adjective δυνατός, powerful, can have the three normal endings for an adjective in the first and second declensions, –ός, –ή, –όν. But when it becomes negated through the prefixing of an alpha privative it has the same ending for the masculine and feminine: –ος, –ος, –ον. The alpha privative ususally makes the accent recessive, i.e., the accent will be on the third-last syllable when this is possible. Thus the accent for πιστός, faithful, moves to the third-last syllable in the word ἄπιστος, faithless.
Swetnam, J. (1998–). An introduction to the study of New Testament Greek (2nd, rev. ed., Vol. 16/1, pp. 145–146). Roma: Pontificio Istituto Biblico.
  • Adjectives 5 [Adj 5]: –ος, –ος, –ον
    ἄδικος, αἰώνιος, ἀκάθαρτος, ἄκαρπος, ἁμαρτωλός, ἄνομος, ἄπιστος, διάβολος, ἔνοχος, ἐπουράνιος, ἔρημος, ἕτοιμος, οὐράνιος, φρόνιμος, ἄγναφος, ἀδύνατος, ἄζυμος, ἄλαλος, ἄναλος, ἀναμάρτητος, ἀνθρωποκτόνος, ἄνιπτος, ἀπόδημος, ἀπόκρυφος, ἀποσυνάγωγος, ἄραφος, ἄρρωστος, ἄσβεστος, ἀσύνετος, ἄτιμος, αὐτόφωρος, ἄφθαρτος, ἀχειροποίητος, δύσκολος, ἔκφοβος, ἐπίγειος, εὔκαιρος, εὐώνυμος, μογιλάλος, μονόφθαλμος, περίλυπος, πολύτιμος, πρόσκαιρος, σπόριμος, χειροιποίητος
Swetnam, J. (1998–). An introduction to the study of New Testament Greek (2nd, rev. ed., Vol. 16/2, p. 113). Roma: Pontificio Istituto Biblico.

Re: noun/adjective agreement

Posted: September 21st, 2015, 1:14 pm
by magnvs
Thank you for your explanations! That makes sense... will have to check my books later now that I have some terminology to search with.

What threw me off is that I found two NT exceptions:

2 thess. 2:16, "παράκλησιν αἰωνίαν"
heb. 9:12, "αἰωνίαν λύτρωσιν"

Where the adjective takes the form that I was expecting. Would I be correct in guessing that these two occurrences are grammatical anomalies?

Re: noun/adjective agreement

Posted: September 21st, 2015, 5:02 pm
by Thomas Dolhanty
Paul-Nitz wrote:Yep, it's a simple answer.
Still, lest anyone become disappointed because Koine seems TOO simple, remember that with this particular word there is an alternate form for the feminine - αἰωνία - from earlier days which pops up sometimes, as in LXX Lev. 25:34; Num. 25:13; 1 Ma. 2:54; 4 Ma. 15:3; Ps. 138:24; Hab. 3:7; Isa. 58:12; Isa. 61:4; Jer. 20:17; Jer. 38:3; Jer. 39:40; Ezek. 35:5; Ezek. 37:26, and in the NT in 2 Thess. 2:16; Heb. 9:12.

It all started ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις when we were so happy about the first declension feminine with the nice alphas and etas and the second declension masculine and neuter with the nice omicrons, and then they laid the third declension on us! Sure, there were a few words that wandered over the line like ἡ ὁδός and ὁ προφήτης, and we felt our grip slipping a bit, but still we thought we could handle it. No longer perfect - but manageable still. Reasonable. Then came the third declension and blew the doors off. And then came the verbs!

Re: noun/adjective agreement

Posted: September 21st, 2015, 8:31 pm
by magnvs
ha! you anticipated my follow-up question while it was awaiting moderation (this thread is my first post to this forum)

thanks again, everyone for the information.

Re: noun/adjective agreement

Posted: September 21st, 2015, 9:30 pm
by Stephen Hughes
As time went by the paradigm became 3-termination.
Λεξικό της κοινής νεοελληνικής wrote:αιώνιος -α -ο [eónios] Ε6, λόγ. θηλ. και αιωνία
That is to say αιώνιος in Modern Greek has three terminations, without the accent shifting to the iota for the feminine, but in literary (the abbreviation λόγ. = lit. (λόγιος)) Greek, the accent does shift to the iota. [θηλ. = θηλυκός (feminine)] as we find in the earlier period.