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Ancient Greek for Everyone:
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Beginning Greek
Unit 9 part 1:
The Middle Voice of Verbs
2013 edition
Wilfred E. Major
[email protected]
Ancient Greek for Everyone
This class
AGE Unit 9 part 1: The Middle Voice
• So far, all verbs have been in the active voice.
• This unit adds the other principal voice in Greek, the middle.
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• A Greek verb by itself usually communicates FIVE
pieces of information:
–
–
–
–
–
Person
Number
Tense
Mood
Voice: This indicates the role the subject plays in the action.
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• A Greek verb by itself usually communicates FIVE
pieces of information:
– Voice: This indicates the role the subject plays in the action.
– Greek can distinguish three roles (voices):
– Active: The subject causes the action
• We run the program.
• We stop the program.
• I buy a drink.
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• A Greek verb by itself usually communicates FIVE
pieces of information:
– Voice: This indicates the role the subject plays in the action.
– Greek can distinguish three roles (voices):
– Middle: The subject is part or all of the action
• We run.
• We stop.
• I buy (myself) a drink.
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• A Greek verb by itself usually communicates FIVE
pieces of information:
– Voice: This indicates the role the subject plays in the action.
– Greek can distinguish three roles (voices):
– Passive: The subject receives the consequence of the action
• We are run by a computer.
• We are stopped by a police officer.
• The drinks are bought by me.
– Note: In early Greek, the passive voice is rare,
but it becomes more common over time.
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• A Greek verb by itself usually communicates
FIVE pieces of information:
– Person: 1st 2nd 3rd
– Number: singular, plural
– Tense: present, future
– Mood: indicative, infinitive
– Voice: active, middle
PARSING: To “parse” a Greek verb means to identify the
above five qualities about a specific verb form.
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• A note on the Passive Voice in Greek:
– Voice: This indicates the role the subject plays in the action.
– Passive: The subject receives the consequence of the action
– Because Greek did not originally have a passive voice (only
the active and middle voices), Classical and Koine Greek do
not have verb forms that are specifically passive.
– To communicate a passive idea, Classical and Koine Greek
most often press the middle voice of the verb into service in a
passive construction.
– Consequently, although all the verbs in this Unit are parsed in
the Middle Voice, they can be translated with an English
passive when appropriate.
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• A note on the Passive Voice:
– Voice: This indicates the role the subject plays in the action.
– Passive: The subject receives the consequence of the action
– There is rarely a solid border between the middle and passive
in Greek. Consider the following examples:
•
•
•
•
We hit Socrates with a rock. (active voice)
Socrates gets hit with a rock. (middle voice)
Socrates gets hit with a rock by us. (middle voice)
Socrates is hit by us with a rock. (passive voice)
– Formal English grammar, however, recognizes only the
active and passive voices.
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Conjugating a Greek verb
• In Unit 7, you learned that Greek has two conjugations:
– -μι verbs
– -ω verbs
• In the active voice, these conjugations use somewhat
different endings to designate person and number (and the
infinitive mood).
• In the middle voice, both conjugations use exactly the
same endings to designate person and number (and the
infinitive mood).
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Building a Greek verb
• The endings of the Middle Voice are as follows:
• -μαι = I (1st sg)
-μεθα = we (1st pl)
• -σαι = you (2nd sg)
-σθε = y’all (2nd pl)
• -ται = (s)he, it (3rd sg)
-νται = they (3rd pl)
–σθαι signals that a verb is in the infinitive.
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Building a Greek verb
• Remember that -ω verbs have a thematic vowel, so the
endings of the Middle Voice appear as follows:
• -ομαι = I (1st sg)
-ομεθα = we (1st pl)
• *-εσαι -ει or -ῃ = you (2nd sg)
-εσθε = y’all (2nd pl)
• -εται = (s)he, it (3rd sg)
-ονται = they (3rd pl)
–εσθαι signals that a verb is in the infinitive.
*The second person singular regularly appears in contracted form.
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Building a Greek verb
• Remember that -ω verbs have a thematic vowel, so the
endings of the Middle Voice appear as follows:
• -ομαι = I (1st sg)
-ομεθα = we (1st pl)
• *-εσαι you (2nd sg)
-εσθε = y’all (2nd pl)
• -εται = (s)he, it (3rd sg)
-ονται = they (3rd pl)
–εσθαι signals that a verb is in the infinitive.
*The second person singular regularly appears in contracted form.
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Building a Greek verb
• Remember that, to begin building a Greek verb,
start with the “stem.”
• The stem tells what action the verb describes:
δεικ = “show”
λυ = “loosen, destroy”
λαβ = “take”
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Building a Greek verb
• Recall that some verbs add a marker (often a ν) to the stem
that says the verb is in the present tense.
• A verb always uses the same marker in the middle voice
that is uses in the active:
– δεικνυ = “show” (in the present)
– λυ = “loosen” (no marker used in the present)
– λαμβαν = “take” (in the present)
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• δείκνυμαι
• δείκνυσαι
• δείκνυται
• δεικνύμεθα
• δείκνυσθε
• δείκνυνται
δείκνυσθαι
Building a Greek Verb
The Present Indicative and Infinitive Middle of δείκνυμι
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• λύομαι
• λύει/ῃ
• λύεται
• λυόμεθα
• λύεσθε
• λύονται
λύεσθαι
Building a Greek Verb
The Present and Infinitive Indicative Middle of λύω
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• λαμβάνομαι
• λαμβάνει/ῃ
• λαμβάνεται
• λαμβανόμεθα
• λαμβάνεσθε
• λαμβάνονται
λαμβάνεσθαι
Building a Greek Verb
The Present Indicative and Infinitive Middle of λαμβάνω
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Building a Greek verb
• Recall that adding a -σ- to the stem marks a verb as in the
future tense.
• So now the stem looks (and sounds) like this:
– λυ + σ = “loosen”  λυσ = “loosen” (in the future)
– δεικ + σ = “show”  δειξ = “show” (in the future)
ALL VERBS, regardless of what endings they use in the present tense,
use -ω verb endings in the future tense.
Future tense = verb stem + σ + -ω verb endings
• This is true in both the active and middle voices.
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• δείξομαι
• δείξει/ῃ
• δείξεται
• δειξόμεθα
• δείξεσθε
• δείξονται
δείξεσθαι
Building a Greek Verb
The Future Indicative and Infinitive Middle of δείκνυμι
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• λύσομαι
• λύσει/ῃ
• λύσεται
• λυσόμεθα
• λύσεσθε
• λύσονται
λύσεσθαι
Building a Greek Verb
The Future Indicative and Infinitive Middle of λύω
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Understanding the Middle Voice
• Generally speaking, the Middle Voice indicates that the
subject of the verb participates in the action, rather than
transferring the action to something or someone else (as
the active voice does).
• Beyond this, native speakers of ancient Greek did not have
a “rule” for using the Middle Voice. Through experience
and intuition, they learned when a verb made sense in the
Middle Voice.
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Understanding the Middle Voice
• In some cases, to a native speaker of Greek, the action of a verb
made sense only in the Middle Voice.
• For example, verbs that mean “come” and “go” in Greek
usually occur only in the Middle Voice. A subject is inevitably
participating in the action of “coming” or “going,” so it just
seemed natural that the verb should be in the Middle Voice.
(Consider in English: “you go” makes sense and you can “make
the car go” but you cannot “go the car.”)
• The technical term for a verb that occurs only in the Middle
Voice is “deponent.”
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VOCABULARY:
• Although a Greek verb can morph into many different forms,
it is listed in a dictionary (Greek “lexicon”) under just one
form.
• As you have seen, verbs are listed in their 1st person, singular,
present, indicative, active form, with a -μι or -ω ending,
depending on the conjugation of the verb.
• Because deponent verbs do not have any active forms, in a
vocabulary entry they substitute the 1st person, singular,
present, indicative, middle form, and so they appear just with
the ending -μαι.
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VOCABULARY:
• Verbs are listed in their 1st person, singular, present,
indicative, active form, with a -μι or -ω ending, depending
on the conjugation of the verb.
• Because deponent verbs do not have any active forms, in a
vocabulary entry they substitute the 1st person, singular,
present, indicative, middle form, and so they appear just
with the ending -μαι.
• If the vocabulary entry ends in -ομαι, then it has a
thematic vowel and is an -ω verb. Otherwise, it has no
thematic vowel and is a -μι verb.
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Deponent Vocabulary: Classical
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
αἰσθάνομαι, αἰσθήσομαι perceive
ἁλίσκομαι, ἁλώσομαι be captive
ἀποκρίνομαι, ἀποκρινοῦμαι answer
ἀφικνέομαι, ἀφίξομαι come to, arrive at
βούλομαι, βουλήσομαι want, prefer
γίγνομαι, γενήσομαι happen, become, be born
δέχομαι, δέξομαι welcome
δύναμαι, δυνήσομαι be able, can
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Deponent Vocabulary: Classical
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
ἕπομαι, ἕψομαι follow
ἐργάζομαι, ἐργάσομαι work
ἡγέομαι, ἡγήσομαι lead, consider
κτάομαι, κτήσομαι get, acquire
μάχομαι, μαχοῦμαι fight
πορεύομαι, πορεύσομαι go, march
σκέπτομαι/σκοπέω, σκέψομαι look at, examine
χράομαι, χρήσομαι use
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Deponent Vocabulary: NT (New Testament)
•
•
•
•
ἀποκρίνομαι, -κρινοῦμαι answer, reply
ἀρνέομαι, ἀρνήσομαι deny
βούλομαι, βουλήσομαι want, prefer
γίνομαι, γενήσομαι happen, become, be born
– Notice the change of spelling (γίγνομαι  γίνομαι ) from Classical
to Koine.
– παραγίνομαι come to, appear
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Deponent Vocabulary: NT (New Testament)
•
•
•
•
•
δέχομαι, δέξομαι welcome
δύναμαι, δυνήσομαι be able, can
ἐργάζομαι, ἐργάσομαι work
καυχάομαι, καυχήσομαι boast
πορεύομαι, πορεύσομαι journey
– ἐκπορεύομαι journey out, rise
• προσεύχομαι, προσεύξομαι pray
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Deponent Vocabulary: Core
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
ἀποκρίνομαι, ἀποκρινοῦμαι answer
βούλομαι, βουλήσομαι want, prefer
γί(γ)νομαι, γενήσομαι happen, become, be born
δέχομαι, δέξομαι welcome
δύναμαι, δυνήσομαι be able, can
ἐργάζομαι, ἐργάσομαι work
πορεύομαι, πορεύσομαι go, march, journey
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Building a Greek verb
• The Big Picture
– Greek verb forms fall into two large categories:
– Primary: These forms refer to activity in the present or future.
– All the forms you have learned are thus primary.
– Secondary: These forms refer to activity in the past.
– The second half of this course covers secondary verb forms.
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Building a Greek verb
• The Master List of Endings
– Posted is a “Master List of Greek Verb Endings” where you
can see the overall scheme of verb endings. Here you can see
that you have learned the three sets of primary endings (-μι, ω or -μαι).
– Here you can look ahead to the corresponding sets of
secondary endings.
– On the second sheet (= back side) are the other moods, of
which you have already learned the infinitive.
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From Unit 7: Contract Verbs
• The rules of vowel contraction operate in verbs
when the stem ends in one of the vowels α, ε or ο.
• In these cases, this final vowel of the stem contracts
with the thematic vowel of “-ω verbs.”
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• (λαλέομαι ) λαλοῦμαι
• (λαλέομεθα ) λαλούμεθα
• (λαλέει/ῃ ) λαλεῖ/ῇ
• (λαλέεσθε ) λαλεῖσθε
• (λαλέεται ) λαλεῖται
• (λαλέονται ) λαλοῦνται
(λαλέεσθαι ) λαλεῖσθαι
Building a Greek Verb
The Present Indicative and Infinitive Middle of λαλέω
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• (ἐρωτάομαι ) ἐρωτῶμαι
• (ἐρωτάεσαι ) ἐρωτᾷ
• (ἐρωτάεται ) ἐρωτᾶται
• (ἐρωταόμεθα ) ἐρωτώμεθα
• (ἐρωτάεσθε ) ἐρωτᾶσθε
• (ἐρωτάονται ) ἐρωτῶνται
(ἐρωτάεσθαι ) ἐρωτᾶσθαι
Building a Greek Verb
The Present Indicative and Infinitive Middle of ἐρωτάω
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• (δηλόομαι ) δηλῶμαι
•
(δηλόομεθα ) δηλοῦμευα
• (δηλόεσαι ) δηλοῖ
•
(δηλόεσθε ) δηλοῦσθε
• (δηλόεται ) δηλοῦται
•
(δηλόονται ) δηλοῦνται
(δηλόεσθαι ) δηλοῦσθαι
Building a Greek Verb
The Present Indicative and Infinitive Middle of δηλόω
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From Unit 2: -μι Verbs
• δίδωμι give
• τίθημι put, make
• ἵστημι stand
• ἵημι throw
• In the active voice, these verbs end their stems in a long
vowel in the singular and a short vowel in the plural forms.
• In the middle voice, these verbs end their stems in a short
vowel in all their forms, both singular and plural.
• Next are slides showing the exact conjugation of these
forms, but they are all regular.
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• δίδομαι
• δίδοσαι
• δίδοται
• διδόμεθα
• δίδοσθε
• δίδονται
Present infinitive middle: δίδοσθαι
Building a Greek Verb
The Present Indicative and Infinitive Middle of δίδωμι
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• τίθεμαι
• τίθεσαι
• τίθεται
• τιθέμεθα
• τίθεσθε
• τίθενται
Present infinitive middle: τίθεσθαι
Building a Greek Verb
The Present Indicative and Infinitive Middle of τίθημι
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• ἵσταμαι
• ἵστασαι
• ἵσταται
• ἱστάμεθα
• ἵστασθε
• ἵστανται
Present infinitive middle: ἵστασθαι
Building a Greek Verb
The Present Indicative and Infinitive Middle of ἵστημι
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• ἵεμαι
• ἵεσαι
• ἵεται
• ἱέμεθα
• ἵεσθε
• ἵενται
Present infinitive middle: ἵεσθαι
Building a Greek Verb
The Present Indicative and Infinitive Middle of ἵημι
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