Ancient Greek: two-gender adjectives

Gavril

Senior Member
English, USA
As I recall, classical Greek adjectives with the alpha privativum have only masculine and neuter forms. Thus, ádikos could mean "an unjust man" or "an unjust woman".

Are there any other rules that can be used to predict whether an adjective has only two gender forms?

Also, out of curiosity, have two-gender adjectives survived into modern Greek?
 
  • bibax

    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)
    The adjectives with only two forms (masc./fem. and neuter) are mostly compound.

    atheos, atheon;
    eunous, eunoun;
    (h)ileos, (h)ileon (with omegas);
    acharis, achari;
    euelpis, euelpi;
    eudaímon, eúdaimon; (omega-omikron)
    eugenés, eugenés; (eta-epsilon in the ending)
    etc.

    For details wait for Mr(s). Apmoy70, or other Greek scholars.
     
    Last edited:

    apmoy70

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Actually Gavril, these adjectives have three genders (masculine, feminine, neuter) it just happens that their masculine and feminine forms are identical, they lack separate form for the feminine. There do exist a few rules that can help you predict whether or not an adjective has two endings:
    Most of the three-gender, two-ending adjectives:
    1/ Are compounds, e.g «ὁ, ἡ ἄδικος, τὸ ἄδικον»-->hŏ, hē 'ădikŏs, tŏ 'ădikŏn, the unjust; privative «α-» (a-) + feminine noun «δίκη», 'dikē, justice
    2/ Are of learned origin with endings in «-ης», e.g «ὁ, ἡ ἀκριβής, τὸ ἀκριβές»-->hŏ, hē ăkribēs, tŏ ăkribĕs, the exact, accurate, precise
    3/ Are of learned origin with endings in «-ων», e.g. «ὁ, ἡ εὐδαίμων, τὸ εὐδαίμον»-->hŏ, hē eu'dǣmōn, tŏ eu'dǣmŏn, the fortunate
    4/ Are of learned Attic origin ending in «-ως», e.g «ὁ, ἡ ἵλεως, τὸ ἵλεων»-->hŏ, hē hĭlĕōs, tŏ hĭlĕōn, the propitious
    5/ Are contracted, ending in «-οος», e.g. «ὁ, ἡ εὔνους-τὸ εὔνουν»-->hŏ, hē 'eunŏŏs [uncontracted]/'eunous [contracted], tŏ 'eunŏŏn [uncontracted]/'eunoun [contracted], the well-disposed
    6/ A few two-ending adjectives have an original feminine form, from wich the masculine and the neuter derive e.g. from the feminine «ἡ πάτριος» (hē pătriŏs, the paternal) derive the masculine «ὁ πάτριος» (hŏ pătriŏs) and the neuter «τὸ πάτριον» (tŏ pătriŏn); this is commonly found in poetry (poetic license)
    In Modern Greek almost all the adjectives ending in «-ης» are three-gender, two-ending ones, e.g «ο, η, ακριβής, τό ακριβές»-->o, i akri'vis, to akri'ves, the exact, accurate, precise; «ο, η διεθνής, το διεθνές»-->o, i ðieθ'nis, to ðieθ'nes, the international. Also in formal writing or speech, those with endings in «-ων», e.g. «ο, η, αβρόφρων, το αβρόφρον»-->o, i, av'rofron, to av'rofron, the good-mannered
    For details wait for Mr(s). Apmoy70, or other Greek scholars.
    That'd be mr :)
     

    Gavril

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Actually Gavril, these adjectives have three genders (masculine, feminine, neuter) it just happens that their masculine and feminine forms are identical, they lack separate form for the feminine. There do exist a few rules that can help you predict whether or not an adjective has two endings:
    Most of the three-gender, two-ending adjectives:
    1/ Are compounds, e.g «ὁ, ἡ ἄδικος, τὸ ἄδικον»-->hŏ, hē 'ădikŏs, tŏ 'ădikŏn, the unjust; privative «α-» (a-) + feminine noun «δίκη», 'dikē, justice
    For adjectives in the vowel declension, are there any examples of compounds that don't have alpha privativum?

    6/ A few two-ending adjectives have an original feminine form, from wich the masculine and the neuter derive e.g. from the feminine «ἡ πάτριος» (hē pătriŏs, the paternal) derive the masculine «ὁ πάτριος» (hŏ pătriŏs) and the neuter «τὸ πάτριον» (tŏ pătriŏn); this is commonly found in poetry (poetic license)
    My apologies, but I'm not clear on what you mean.

    - Is «ἡ πάτριος» an adjective or a noun (similar to feminine nouns like hodós and nósos)?

    - If it's an adjective, how are the masc./neuter forms derived from the feminine form? «ὁ πάτριος» and «τὸ πάτριον» are what I would expect for the masculine and neuter of this adjective -- it's the feminine form «ἡ πάτριος» that has an unexpected ending.

    Many thanks for the info.
     

    apmoy70

    Senior Member
    Greek
    For adjectives in the vowel declension, are there any examples of compounds that don't have alpha privativum?
    Sure, e.g «ὁ, ἡ ἔκπαγλος, τὸ ἔκπαγλον» (hō, hē 'ĕkpaglŏs, tŏ 'ĕkpaglŏn)-->terrible, violent, marvellous, wondrous [prefix and preposition «ἐκ» (ĕk)-->out of, from within + verb «πλήσσω» ('plēssō; plēttō in Attic)-->to strike, sting]
    «ὁ, ἡ περίβλεπτος, τὸ περίβλεπτον» (hō, hē pĕ'riblĕptŏs, tŏ pĕ'riblĕptŏn)-->admired [preposition «περὶ» (pĕ'ri)-->around, about, beyond + verb «βλέπω» ('blēpō)-->to look]
    plus dozens (if not hundreds) others

    My apologies, but I'm not clear on what you mean.

    - Is «ἡ πάτριος» an adjective or a noun (similar to feminine nouns like hodós and nósos)?

    - If it's an adjective, how are the masc./neuter forms derived from the feminine form? «ὁ πάτριος» and «τὸ πάτριον» are what I would expect for the masculine and neuter of this adjective -- it's the feminine form «ἡ πάτριος» that has an unexpected ending.

    Many thanks for the info.
    I apologize if I did not make myself clear (English is not my first language; I think in Greek and then translate my thoughts into English). There's this whole family of learned adjectives that although form three-gender, three-ending adjectives, in poetry (and sometimes in plays, either dramas or comedies) form three-gender, two-ending adjectives (due to poetic license). E.g. the normally formed adj. «ὁ πάτριος, ἡ πάτρια, τὸ πάτριον» (hō 'pătriŏs, hē 'pătriă, tŏ pătriŏn)-->paternal, in poetry appears as «ὁ, ἡ πάτριος, τὸ πάτριον» (hŏ, hē pătriŏs, tŏ pătriŏn). Or the normally formed «ὁ ἀναγκαῖος, ἡ ἀναγκαῖα, τὸ ἀναγκαῖον» (hō anaŋgǣŏs, hē anaŋgǣă, tŏ anaŋgǣŏn)-->necessary, under artistic license becomes ««ὁ, ἡ ἀναγκαῖος, τὸ ἀναγκαῖον» (hō, hē anaŋgǣŏs, tŏ anaŋgǣŏn) [personally I've arrived to the conclusion that those "poetic" three-gender, two-ending adjectives, all derive from feminine nouns: «ὁ, ἡ πάτριος» from «πατρίς» (pa'tris)-->fatherland, one's country; ««ὁ, ἡ ἀναγκαῖος» from «ἀνάγκη» (ă'naŋgē)-->force, constraint, necessity; «ὁ, ἡ βίαιος» from «βία» ('biă)-->perforce, violence]
    PS: I hope I cleared things up. And yes I too believe ancient Greek appears frustrating because it is frustrating ;)
     
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