Greek Morphology Question

In reviewing my Greek to get ready to teach Antigone, I’ve come across a curious question about Greek verbs. For many verbs, the shortest forms, which students tend to find the most confusing, are not the present indicatives, as we might expect, but some of the subjunctives. These are sometimes only a single syllable in the singular, though the plurals are always one syllable longer. Besides the present subjunctive of eimí (ô, êis, êi, etc.), the only one-syllable subjunctives I can think of are the aorist subjunctives of five -MI verbs and two others: (baíno), gnô (gignósko), (dídomi), thô (títhemi), stô (hístemi), phô (phe), and (emi). Have I missed any?

Note: Greek can be transliterated precisely, if inelegantly, in plain HTML by underlining eta and omega as above, except when the circumflex makes it superfluous. In effect, I put the long mark under the vowel instead of over it. Using w for omega and h for eta may be clearer in some ways, but HTML doesn’t allow accents on (English) consonants

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One Response to Greek Morphology Question

  1. Angelo says:

    It’s because they lose present-indicative marking, i.e. reduplication (γι-, δι-, τι-, ἱ-) or further suffixation (βαίν- [< *βαν-ι- < *gʷm̥-y-] off the top of my emptied head!) and/or historically primary inflection (-μι), when going into other tenses and moods.

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