Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb

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Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb (1890)
by William Watson Goodwin
183841Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb1890William Watson Goodwin


Syntax of Professor Madvig at Copenhagen and in the Greek Grammar of Professor Sophocles at Harvard University. Something more than mere statement of facts has been attempted in the present work, although nothing has been further from my thoughts than a complete theoretical discussion of all the principles which govern the use of the moods. He who ventures far upon that sea is in great danger of being lost in the fog or stranded; for, while Comparative Philology has thrown much and most welcome light on the early history of the Greek language, it has also made us more painfully aware of our ignorance, although it is a more enlightened ignorance than that of our predecessors.

Since the publication of the first edition, many most important additions have been made to our resources. Of these I can undertake to notice only a few. Delbrück's elaborate treatise on the Greek Subjunctive and Optative (in his Syntaktisch* Forschiingen, vol. i.), with a comparison of Greek and Sanskrit usages, is familiar to all scholars. Whatever may be thought of Delbrück's main thesis, the distinction of the subjunctive as the mood of tvill from the optative as the mood of wish, none can fail to be impressed and instructed by his attractive and original treatment of the subject, which has made an epoch in grammatical science. Lange's unfinished work on the Particle E¿ in Homer is a model of careful and thorough investigation. When I think of my deep and continued indebtedness to Lange's learned discussions, which include a treatment of all the 200 examples of et with the optative in Homer, I am grieved to dissent so frequently from his most important conclusions. His chief argument is discussed in Appendix I. Schanz, in his Beiträge zur GriechiscJien Syntax, has undertaken a work of immense extent, involving an amount of labour which it is hard to over-estimate. His plan is to give full and accurate statistics of the use of every construction bearing on the history of Greek syntax, and thus to make a true historic syntax of the language a possibility. The work of collecting, classifying, and discussing the examples of different constructions has been assigned by him to a large number of colleagues, and every year testifies to substantial progress. The following treatises bearing on the construction of the moods ami tenses have already been published by Schanz : Weber, Emcickdungsyeschichte der Absichtssatze; Sturm, Geschichtliche Entvñckelung der Constructionen mit Hpív; Schmitt, Uebcr den Ursj/rung des Sulsianlirsatzes mit Relativpartikeln im Griechischen; Grünewald, Der freie formelhafte Infinitiv der Limitation im Griechischen; Birklein, Entwickel ungsgeschichte des substanlicirten Infinitivs. The amount of patient labour devoted to these compilations, in which the exact number of examples of each construction in each Greek author before Aristotle is given, while the most important passages are quoted and nearly all are cited, will be most gratefully appreciated by those who would be least willing to undertake the work themselves. The results of such dry enumerations are often interesting and surprising. No one knows whether statistics will be dry and barren or not, until they are collected and classified ; and though it may seem a useless task to count the examples of each of the final particles in all Greek literature before Aristotle, it is interesting to know that in all the Attic prose, except Xenophon, ¿c final occurs only five or six times while "va occurs 999 times. Some of the results derived from Weber's statistics of the use of the final particles are given in Appendix III., and an account of Xenophon's peculiar use of ¿c, ¿>c av, and 5тго>с áv in Appendix IV., for the benefit of those who have not Weber's book at hand, or want the patience to follow his elaborate historical statements. Monro's Homeric Grammar is one of the best results of recent English scholarship, and for the study of Homeric usages in the moods it is invaluable I regret that the new edition of this book, soon to be published, has not come in time to benefit the present work. It seems a mere form to acknowledge my obligations to the standard Grammars; but I must repeat my former expression of thanks to Madvig, Krüger, and Kühner, not to mention a host of others. To Madvig I am indebted for the first conviction that the syntax of the Greek moods belonged

This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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