Author Topic: different imperatives, e.g. ἄγω  (Read 1227 times)

stix

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different imperatives, e.g. ἄγω
« on: 01 Oct, 2009, 16:11:47 »
How would an Athenian living in the 5th century BCE react respectively to (1) ἄγε, (2) ἄξον, (3) ἄγαγε, (4) ἠχώς ἴσθι and (5) ἀγηοχώς ἴσθι ? What exactly would I be telling her/him to do in each case?


billberg23

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Re: different imperatives, e.g. ἄγω
« Reply #1 on: 01 Oct, 2009, 18:17:47 »
Since you use the progressive, aorist, and perfect verb stems (in that order) for your commands, it might be useful at the outset to visualize those three different aspects of action as  (1) a movie, (2) a snapshot, and (3) a hologram, respectively.

1)  ἄγε  "lead on!," "keep leading!"
2)  ἄξον (first aorist, extremely rare):  "lead!"
3)  ἄγαγε (normal, second aorist):  "lead!"
4)  ἠχώς ἴσθι (rare, periphrastic perfect):  something like "get done with leading!."
5)  ἀγηοχώς ἴσθι (does not exist until Hellenistic period, when it means same as 4 above)
« Last Edit: 01 Oct, 2009, 18:30:52 by billberg23 »
Τί δέ τις; Τί δ' οὔ τις; Σκιᾶς ὄναρ ἄνθρωπος. — Πίνδαρος

stix

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Re: different imperatives, e.g. ἄγω
« Reply #2 on: 02 Oct, 2009, 01:40:06 »
Then you are saying that ἄξον and ἄγαγε have the exact same meaning and do not suffer any semantic shift from one aorist to the other?


billberg23

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Re: different imperatives, e.g. ἄγω
« Reply #3 on: 02 Oct, 2009, 03:36:47 »
The first aorist of ἄγω is barely attested in Attic Greek.  Goodwin calls it "rare," Smyth calls it "suspected."
That being said, H. W. Smyth's remarks (Greek Grammar sec. 554e) are worth quoting:

When both [first & second aorists in the same verb] occur, the first aorist ... is often transitive, the second aorist is intransitive ... In other cases one aorist is used in prose, the other in poetry ... or they occur in different dialects ... or one is much later than the other ...
(Ἄγω is not cited for any of the above cases.)

The only possibility, then, for "semantic shift" is in the area of transitive vs. intransitive, and that could only be determined within a given context.  In more than an entire column of citations under the entry "ἄγω," LSJ gives no instances of an intransitive use.  We can therefore safely conclude that there would be no difference in meaning between ἄξον and ἄγαγε. 
« Last Edit: 02 Oct, 2009, 16:18:31 by billberg23 »
Τί δέ τις; Τί δ' οὔ τις; Σκιᾶς ὄναρ ἄνθρωπος. — Πίνδαρος