Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Formed with a sigma or s: said of the Greek first aorist and first future, and also of parallel formations in other languages, as Sanskrit.
“An experiential form, parallel to Mandarin guo 过, can easily yield explicit past tense "sigmatic aorists" in Core IE dialects, while forming special 3ps sigmatic past forms for an originally tenseless hi-class as evidenced by Anatolian and Tocharian.”
“Finally the sigmatic aorist is no longer treated as a formalized conjugation distinct from the non-continuous.”
“However, the antecedent of sigmatic aorists ie. those verbs marked in *-s- with lengthened root vowel which originally expressed a past experience were by definition eventive as well.”
“While my previous contrasting of eventive and non-eventive explains the use of the two sets of personal endings of the verb to an extent, there are still a few cases such as the would-be sigmatic aorist (eg. *bʰērst 'he carried (at one time)') where a term like non-eventive is totally inadequate, if not wrong altogether, but it was the closest concept I could find to explain the pattern.”
“All this being said, we then understand why the perfective action could not possibly have been originally marked by *-i as proven by non-Anatolian dialects if its function were originally to express this aspect, due to the obvious semantic contradictions that would ensue, and we also see why the sigmatic aorist couldn't have ever applied to all verbs, such as punctives, likewise to avoid simple contradiction.”
“Rather, the marker *-s- specifies a specific event of an inherently dynamic verb a perfective nuance and this is why only some verbs were given a sigmatic aorist later on in non-Anatolian dialects.”
“So the preterite of the hi-class is nothing more than a matter of a former sigmatic experiential, already with momentaneous meaning, replacing the expected form *CóC-e.”
“We can now readily see from the above list that Hittite's 3ps preterite is identical to the experiential form sigmatic aorist, complete with the long *ē vocalism that tags non-punctive verbs.”
“We can then take note of an interesting aspectual contrast between *bʰḗr-m̥ 'I carry/carried' with no specific event being conveyed (potentially habitual), and the semelfactivizing quality of the sigmatic form *bʰḗr-s-m̥ 'I have carried (once)', acting essentially like a perfective for inherently durative verbs.”
“Surely experientials ie. later sigmatic aorists would belong in the "objective eventive" despite being unmarked by continuous *-i.”
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