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Evidence for an Innovative Aspect of ‘Aeolic’ Inflection in Thessalian Greek

Toru Minamimoto

In this paper I argue that a verb attested in an inscription from Larissa, Thessaly, published in 2007, provides a valuable piece of evidence that clarifies the historical development of so-called ‘Aeolic’ inflection in Greek dialects.

Thessalian is one of the Greek dialects in which the so-called ‘Aeolic’ inflection of verba vocalia is observed: in Thessalian, as in Asiatic Aeolic and Arcadian, verbs corresponding to contract verbs in Attic-Ionic show inflected forms that appear to be athematic (as κάλημμι in Sappho 1 .16), except for 3sg., which, without any trace of the ending *-ti (as φίλει in Sappho 1 .23), resembles the thematic form 3sg.  It has already been noted that Thessalian is not completely consistent in the inflection of verba vocalia: two forms found in inscriptions from Thessaliotis show thematic inflection, exactly like Ionic, and they may be due to a geographical isogloss (as argued by Méndez Dosuna 2007) or may be relics that reflect historical development (as argued by Hock 1971).   
- [στραταγ]εο<ι>ντος ‘to be the general’ (2nd c., Thessaliotis; IG 9.2 258 .1)
- hυλορεοντος ‘to be a forest-keeper’ (5th c., Thessaliotis; IG 9.2 257 .1): 
Hock (1971) argued for the extension of ‘Aeolic’ inflection in each dialect; and the two thematic forms in Thessalian, one of which is dated to the 5th century, were for him an archaism that survived the extension of ‘Aeolic’ inflection from a limited class of verba vocalia to all verba vocalia. However, each of the two attestations has its difficulty on epigraphic and dialectological grounds, and one may not rely too heavily on them: one form is largely restored, and the 5th-century inscription seems to contain many instances of Ionicism (summarized in Colvin 2007: 94).  
An inscription from Larissa published in 2007 added a new form to our knowledge of ‘Aeolic’ inflection in Thessalian:
- διετελενθι ‘to continue’ (3pl. active; 2nd c., Pelasgiotis; Helly & Tziafalias 2007 .37, .49)
This form is significant in two ways: first, combined with 3sg. διετελει (IG 9.2 461a .4; Béquignon 1935: 2 .38), this is now one of the very few Thessalian verba vocalia for which more than one inflected form is known to us, and, indeed, this is the only Thessalian verb, to my knowledge, for which both an athematically inflected form and ti-less 3sg. form is attested.  As reviewed above, this mixed paradigm is characteristic of ‘Aeolic’ inflection, but positive evidence for mixed inflection has been lacking in Thessalian.
Secondly, this new 3pl. form points with no ambiguity to a difference between Asiatic Aeolic and Thessalian.  It is already known that, even though Asiatic Aeolic is otherwise consistent in showing ‘Aeolic’ inflection of verba vocalia, this particular verb is thematic in Asiatic Aeolic: 3pl. διατελειοισι, impf. 3sg. διετελειε etc. (Hodot 1990); and this thematic inflection is an archaism, matching Homeric τελείω, etymologically derived from *teles-ye/o-.  Therefore the Thessalian verb, unambiguously pointing to ‘Aeolic’ inflection of this verb in Thessalian, gives a piece of positive evidence showing that ‘Aeolic’ inflection was analogically extended to verbs that originally showed normal thematic inflection, and the analogical extension was active at a stage as late as after the dialectal split of Asiatic Aeolic and Thessalian.  Thus the Thessalian verb διετελενθι gives a strong support for Hock’s conclusion that the regularity of ‘Aeolic’ inflection is an innovation in each dialect.

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Greek Language and Linguistics

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