root of πόλις

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root of πόλις

Postby Jesse Goulet » January 31st, 2012, 4:49 am

Mounce lists the root of πόλις, -εως as "πολς", but doesn't this word have a consonantal iota in its root? I thought it would be "πολι" instead.
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Re: root of πόλις

Postby cwconrad » January 31st, 2012, 9:00 am

Jesse Goulet wrote:Mounce lists the root of πόλις, -εως as "πολς", but doesn't this word have a consonantal iota in its root? I thought it would be "πολι" instead.


See Smyth §268ff. (http://artflx.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/phil ... monographs = http://tinyurl.com/83h83pc)

The forms taken by ι-stem and υ-stem nouns vary depending on whether the inflectional ending is a vowel or a consonant. Before a vocalic ending ι-stems and υ-stems take the form -εy- and -εϝ- respectively; when the -y- and the -ϝ- evanesced the adjacent vowels remaining contracted. See the paradigms in Smyth.

Learn the paradigms to recognize them. Wait until later (if you can) to try to understand the reasons why the forms are as they are -- but knowing the right forms doesn't depend on knowing why those faorms are right. I think it's somewhat silly to talk about a single root of a noun or verb that is irregular. However, every author of a primer must deal in one way or another with the problem of how far to clutter the beginning student's mind with rationales for the facts of usage. In some instances the rationales make learning easier, while in other instances the rationales simply complicate the student's task. I have always thought that a basic understanding of the phonology of ancient Greek makes it easier to learn paradigms, but for some students that only complicates matters.
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Re: root of πόλις

Postby Stephen Carlson » January 31st, 2012, 9:32 am

Jesse Goulet wrote:Mounce lists the root of πόλις, -εως as "πολς", but doesn't this word have a consonantal iota in its root? I thought it would be "πολι" instead.


Yes, it should be πολι instead. Mounce gets other i-stems right, so this appears to be a typo. Unfortunately it is not listed on his errata sheet: http://www.teknia.com/basicsofbiblicalgreek/errata .

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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke, New Testament)
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Re: root of πόλις

Postby Mark Lightman » January 31st, 2012, 10:45 am

My two favourite Greek morphologists are Bill Mounce and Homer. Take a look at how Homer (according to Benner) declines πόλις

πόλις
πόλιος (πόληος)
πόλει (for πόλιι; cf. Θέτιι!)
πόλιν

πόλιες (πόληες)
πολίων
πολίεσσιν
πόλιας (πόληας, πόλῑς, πόλεις)


Homer is wonderfully regular, except when he is not, and he is a better writer than Mounce. Read them both early and often. Smyth is awesome too.

I read recently—I forgot where—an “explanation” for how we got the familiar irregular πόλεως from the perfectly regular gen sing πόλιος. πόλιος became πόληος and then the eta was shorted to epsilon while the omicron was lengthened to omega. With explanations like that, who needs mysteries! The does at any rate “explain” why πόλεως allows an accent on the antepenult with a long ultima.


To remember the “root” of πόλις just memorize the vocative:

ὦ Πόλι! δύσκολος ἡ κλίσις σου!

"Difficult is your declension, my City."
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Re: root of πόλις

Postby cwconrad » January 31st, 2012, 12:12 pm

Mark Lightman wrote:My two favourite Greek morphologists are Bill Mounce and Homer. Take a look at how Homer (according to Benner) declines πόλις

πόλις
πόλιος (πόληος)
πόλει (for πόλιι; cf. Θέτιι!)
πόλιν

πόλιες (πόληες)
πολίων
πολίεσσιν
πόλιας (πόληας, πόλῑς, πόλεις)


Homer is wonderfully regular, except when he is not


Homer mixes up the dialects; most of our Homeric text has Aeolic and Ionic forms, but there are even a few Dorisms (e.g. πότι for πρὸς). Homer sometimes uses πόλι for the dative, sometimes πόλει. (See Smyth:http://artflx.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.9:3:2:42.perseusmonograph)

Mark Lightman wrote:I read recently—I forgot where—an “explanation” for how we got the familiar irregular πόλεως from the perfectly regular gen sing πόλιος. πόλιος became πόληος and then the eta was shorted to epsilon while the omicron was lengthened to omega. With explanations like that, who needs mysteries! The does at any rate “explain” why πόλεως allows an accent on the antepenult with a long ultima.


the phonological principle here (ηο --> εω) has been called "quantitative vowel metathesis"

Mark Lightman wrote:To remember the “root” of πόλις just memorize the vocative.


This is really a very useful thing to know; it works with consonant-stems too -- including proper names: ὦ Σωκρατες, ὦ ῥῆτορ, ὦ Χάλκαν (for Χάλκαντ-) -- but it must also be remembered that there are only four consonants that can stand at the end of a Greek word: ν, ρ, ς, Ψ, ξ -- and of course the last two are really instances of ς.
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