Middle Voice for the Future Tense

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cwconrad
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Re: Middle Voice for the Future Tense

Post by cwconrad » September 13th, 2015, 6:45 am

Alan Patterson wrote:Upon further reflection, would it be correct for me to say that γινωσκω is Active (default) in FORM, but Middle in MEANING. [I've noticed that Mounce seems to first translate γινωσκω as "I know," and then concludes that γινωσκω is Active in meaning since the ENGLISH is Active in his translation.]
You've put your finger on what some of us, at least, think is a fundamental defect of grammar/translation pedagogy: the predilection for understanding Greek grammar and syntax in terms of English usage. I think your formulation more accurate, that γινώσκειν ordinarily is found in the default (active) voice-forms, although its meaning involves the intentionality that is commonly associated with middle-marking. Learn the verb's regular forms: γινώσκειν, γνώσεσθαι, γνῶναι, ἐγνωκέναι and link those to the meaning of the verb.
Paul-Nitz wrote:I wonder, is γινωσκω ever found in the midldle - γινωσκομαι?

I don't see the need to see γινωσκω as middle in meaning but active (κοινη, common) in form. If I "know," I just know. There's no extra self-affectedness indicated or needed. If I say "γνωσομαι" a self-affected idea comes in.

But I imagine these middle futures became codified over time out of a general "feeling" about what sounded right to the Greek ear. Once a verb became written in the middle by default, there's no huge significance in the voice. It's just the way they said it. There was no choice to say φαγω or γνωσω or μαθησω, was there?
I think that verbs of cognition and perception are subject-affected, but many of them don't regularly display middle-marking except in the future: ὁρᾶν, ὄψεσθαι, ἰδεῖν; ἀκούειν, ἀκούσεσθαι, ἀκοῦσαι but αῖσθάνεσθαι, γεύεσθαι, θεᾶσθαι ... The fact that a verb is in the "active" voice does not mean it isn't subject-affected; "active" voice is the default voice-form, while middle-marking calls attention to subject-affectedness.
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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)

Louis L Sorenson
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Re: Middle Voice for the Future Tense

Post by Louis L Sorenson » September 15th, 2015, 11:43 pm

Let's add the future of εἰμί into this discussion: ἔσομαι. I do not know the history of IE and proto-Greek. So when did this form begin to be used for the future? Did Indo-European have a future tense? My understanding is that the future came into Greek later in its development. What forms were used before the future tense came into being? The answer to that may help some of us get ahold of some of the reasons the middle/passive endings got attached to the Greek future of some verbs.
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Re: Middle Voice for the Future Tense

Post by cwconrad » September 16th, 2015, 6:18 am

Louis L Sorenson wrote:Let's add the future of εἰμί into this discussion: ἔσομαι. I do not know the history of IE and proto-Greek. So when did this form begin to be used for the future? Did Indo-European have a future tense? My understanding is that the future came into Greek later in its development. What forms were used before the future tense came into being? The answer to that may help some of us get ahold of some of the reasons the middle/passive endings got attached to the Greek future of some verbs.
I don't think there was any future tense in PIE beyond the work-around" desiderative. A couple sites worth a look are:
https://linguistics.stackexchange.com/q ... sed-in-pie
and
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Indo-European_verbs
In Homeric verse the subjunctive is not infrequently used to express intention to act. But there are future-tense forms there (bear in mind that Homeric Greek is not a language as such but a hodgepodge of formulas composed in a variety of different Greek dialects). We do find the future ἔσσομαι, wherein we can discern the verbal root ΕΣ, the desiderative/future-tense marker -σ-, the thematic vowel -ο/ε-, and middle personal endings. So: already in Homer the future of εἶναι (or perhaps we should give the more common Homeric infinitive ἔμμεναι) is in middle voice.
For my part, I've always found it curious that over the course of Greek linguistic history this verb gradually takes on more and more middle-voice forms: at some point in Hellenistic Greek we see middle forms in the imperfect: ἤμην ... ἤμεθα. Cf. BDF:
98. Εἶναι. The transition to the deponent inflection (cf. the old future ἔσομαι), completed in MGr, appears in the NT in ἤμην (always; in order to differentiate between 1st sing. and 3rd sing. ἦν) and consequently in ἤμεθα (along with ἦμεν)\
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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)

Louis L Sorenson
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Re: Middle Voice for the Future Tense

Post by Louis L Sorenson » September 16th, 2015, 11:56 am

Wikipedia says the following (I've added the bold text):
There were also a number of secondary formations, e.g. causative ("I had someone do something"), iterative/inceptive ("I did something repeatedly"/"I began to do something"), desiderative ("I want to do something"), which are distinguished from the "primary" formations by the fact that they generally are part of the derivational rather than inflectional morphology system in the daughter languages — although, as mentioned above, there was no clear boundary between the derivational and inflectional system of verbs in PIE. Not surprisingly, some of these formations have become part of the inflectional system in particular daughter languages. Probably the most common example is the future tense, which exists in many daughter languages but in forms that are not cognate, and tend to reflect either the PIE subjunctive or a PIE desiderative formation.
So maybe, Early Greek started on two different trajectories for specifying future actions, and one of those two ways of expressing the future became more prominent -- with the middle method happening in one region, the sigma method in another region. For whatever reason as Greek dialects interacted with each other, certain forms began to be attached to specific verbs and users began to use one form more than the other for that specific verb.

Paul wrote:
I wonder, is γινωσκω ever found in the midldle - γινωσκομαι?

I don't see the need to see γινωσκω as middle in meaning but active (κοινη, common) in form. If I "know," I just know. There's no extra self-affectedness indicated or needed. If I say "γνωσομαι" a self-affected idea comes in.
I've found about 25x of γινωσκομαι (via TLGe), many, if not all, with ὑπό following, or used with the 'passive' idea of 'being known by someone.'
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