ζάω and the rules of contraction

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Danny King
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ζάω and the rules of contraction

Post by Danny King » September 28th, 2015, 11:41 am

Why does ζάω frequently break the rules of contraction? For example, ζῇ (pres act ind 3s) and ζῆν (pres act inf). Is there a logical explanation for these exemptions from the rules or is it just an oddity to be accepted and memorized?

Also, are there any other contract verbs used in the New Testament that break the rules of contraction?

Thank you.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: ζάω and the rules of contraction

Post by Stephen Hughes » September 28th, 2015, 12:33 pm

According to the rules of contraction that you know, what would happen if the root were ζη-?
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cwconrad
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Re: ζάω and the rules of contraction

Post by cwconrad » September 28th, 2015, 1:22 pm

Danny King wrote:Why does ζάω frequently break the rules of contraction? For example, ζῇ (pres act ind 3s) and ζῆν (pres act inf). Is there a logical explanation for these exemptions from the rules or is it just an oddity to be accepted and memorized?

Also, are there any other contract verbs used in the New Testament that break the rules of contraction?.
Stephen poses a "what if" question. I'd say that you should assume the root is ζη- and that the contractions of η with the other vowels of the whole ο/ε set of personal endings are the same as those for α + ο/ε personal endings. χρῆσθαι is comparable.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: ζάω and the rules of contraction

Post by Stephen Carlson » September 29th, 2015, 1:55 am

Danny King wrote:Why does ζάω frequently break the rules of contraction?
*ζάω is a fake form devised by grammarians long ago and should be abandoned. ζῆν is not a true -αω contract verb, so the usual rules for this group of verbs don't apply to it. It's yet another verb you'll have to specially memorize.
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RandallButh
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Re: ζάω and the rules of contraction

Post by RandallButh » September 29th, 2015, 3:38 am

Also, are there any other contract verbs used in the New Testament that break the rules of contraction?
A classic rule-breaker are the various words formed on -χε (χεῖν 'pour'). Aorists are typically -έχεεν while imperfect seems to tend toward –έχει.

More important to is ask why the aorist *-έχεσε is not used? The answer to this question will be found ἐν τῷ ἀφεδρῶνι.

So these verbs need to be learned in context, maybe as the communicative need arises.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: ζάω and the rules of contraction

Post by Barry Hofstetter » September 29th, 2015, 9:06 am

Well, they're not so much rules, you know, as guidelines…
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Paul-Nitz
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Re: ζάω and the rules of contraction

Post by Paul-Nitz » September 29th, 2015, 11:44 am

RandallButh wrote:why the aorist *-έχεσε is not used?
Tell me, διδασκαλε.
I'd say εχειν smells so thoroughly of παρατατική that it resists an ἀόριστον ὄψιν.
Would the linguists call that lexical aspect.
RandallButh wrote:The answer to this question will be found ἐν τῷ ἀφεδρῶνι.
:? :? :?
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cwconrad
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Re: ζάω and the rules of contraction

Post by cwconrad » September 29th, 2015, 12:07 pm

Paul-Nitz wrote:
RandallButh wrote:why the aorist *-έχεσε is not used?
Tell me, διδασκαλε.
I'd say εχειν smells so thoroughly of παρατατική that it resists an ἀόριστον ὄψιν.
Would the linguists call that lexical aspect.
RandallButh wrote:The answer to this question will be found ἐν τῷ ἀφεδρῶνι.
:? :? :?
Wonderful root, that: χεϝ/χοϝ/χυ; but there is an aorist, of course: ἔχεα; already found in Homer, as well as ἔχευα and the unaugmented χεῦα.
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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)

Danny King
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Re: ζάω and the rules of contraction

Post by Danny King » September 29th, 2015, 12:16 pm

cwconrad wrote: I'd say that you should assume the root is ζη- and that the contractions of η with the other vowels of the whole ο/ε set of personal endings are the same as those for α + ο/ε personal endings. χρῆσθαι is comparable.
Yes, ζη does indeed work. Thank you.
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Danny King
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Re: ζάω and the rules of contraction

Post by Danny King » September 29th, 2015, 12:25 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote: *ζάω is a fake form devised by grammarians long ago and should be abandoned. ζῆν is not a true -αω contract verb, so the usual rules for this group of verbs don't apply to it. It's yet another verb you'll have to specially memorize.
But why would grammarians create a fake form? Just so they have a lexical form that fits nicely into a contract verb category? It would have been a lot less deceiving if they had just come up with ζήω and considered it a fourth type of contract verbs.

Isn't there some way to study the etymology of the word to see how it came about? I read in, I think, Wallace that some regional dialects of classical Greek used contract verbs in their uncontracted form. If some ancient document could be found where someone used ζάω or some variant in an uncontracted form, we would then know.
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