darrensolomonj wrote:Hi I just begun learning biblical Greek and was wondering how is the word γεγονεν formed?
From what I saw online it's a third person singular perfect active indicative verb.
Welcome to the study of Greek. Your question is a very interesting one and I have enjoyed reviewing the grammar tables to prepare this answer. In fact many features of this verb are very interesting. I'll mostly answer the question you asked, but also throw in a bit more.
Let's work from what you know already... The verb γίνεσθαι "to come into being" (γίνομαι) is verb with special forms
. It behaves a lot like ἔρχεσθαι "to come" "to go" (ἔρχομαι) which from the level of your question, I assume that you have already seen.
Now, you know already that ἔρχεσθαι has a special aorist form ἐλθεῖν (those are aorist forms - perhaps your textbook has introduced you to ἔρχομαι and ἦλθον: the indicative forms). There are two things
that are special
about that verb ἔρχεσθαι; (1) its present and aorist are from a different roots ἔρχ-/ἐλθ- and (2) there is an apparent change of voice (ἔρχεσθαι has middle/passive type endings, while ἦλθον has active type endings). Now let's look at your γίνεσθαι (in the present) and its perfect form γεγονέναι/γεγενῆσθαι...
In the verb you are asking about (γίνεσθαι), we similarly find both of those things happening, but in your verb, it happens in the perfect
(whereas as we said ἔρχεσθαι has a special aorist
form ἐλθεῖν). As for the first similarity, γίνεσθαι (the present) doesn't take a completely different root in the perfect, but rather a related one (γον-). And the second similarity, perfect (not aorist) forms of γίνεσθαι (that mostly have a γον- in them) actually have an active AND a middle/passive form (with a γενη- in it, but that is really, really very rare) in the indicative (and in the participle - but only in a total of 16 verses)! For the sake of learning now, just take it that the perfect has active forms
darrensolomonj wrote:From what I learnt on how to form a perfect active indicative is
Reduplication + Perfect Active Tense stem + Tense formative([κ]α) + Primary Active Personal Ending
If I tried to form it the way I know it it would look a little like γεγεναι but it's totally wrong. Am I learning wrongly?
Now about your constuction. First let me say that your γεγεναι* is a good application of logic, and it is great that you are using what you have learnt to actively construct forms, rather than just rote learning them.
The "reduplication" as it is called is a sort of stutter
(and in verbs starting with vowels it is like a lengthened hesitation) - if you imagine why someone might stutter (to take the time to get their thoughts together) that might be what it does (You take the time to get your thoughts together) - but that is just my convenient speculation. There is no problem with your γε-.
As we discussed, the root γεν- is not "wrong" it is just not right enough. Your method was right, but in the case of this verb there was something else you need to learn too; that the perfect is formed from the root γον-). Now that you have that knowledge you may be wondering why it is not γεγοναι* and that would be a good question... So let's look at it.
You are right in choosing just to add the -α and not the -κα, so that is great. But the "-ι" is another thing that is not "wrong", it is a good attempt, but again but it is not "right enough" to be correct...
You are taking the "-ι" from the present indicative ending from a verb like λύω, λύεις, λύει
, λύομεν, λύετε, λύουσι and putting it on your form. While indeed that is a third person form, it is not the only third person singular form. The perfect uses a different third person singular ending. Perhaps you have seen something like λέλυκα, λέλυκας, λέλυκεν, λελύκαμεν, λελύκατε, λελύκασιν. As you can see, the α is no longer there, and the ending is -εν (perhaps theoretically
the -(κ)α is there, but it is not in the recorded form of the word). All six forms of the perfect for your verb would be; γέγονα, γέγονας, γέγονεν, γεγόναμεν, γεγόνατε, γεγόνασιν.
Δεν ελπίζω τίποτα. Δε φοβούμαι τίποτα. Είμαι λέφτερος.
(The epitaph of Nikos Kazantzakis)