The Structure of Greek Adjective Classes

I’ve been working on fine tuning my adjective classifications for my parse over the past week or so. I was not satisfied with what I had. But I think that now I’ve got it. I’ve analyzed case, gender, and number for nine morphologically contrastive adjectives and have attempted to divide them up based on how they parallel each other. Its been a lot of work. Ten adjectives x 5 cases x 2 for number x 3 genders comes out to a total of 270 different wordforms – not to mention the work of digging through to five these adjectives to begin with. I dug through a variety of Here’s what I’ve done. Comments are very, very welcome.

Currently, I’ve analyzed these adjectives into four main Adjective Classes, each with its own subclasses.

ἀγαθός M Class 1a F Class 1a N Class 1a
ἄξιος M Class 1b F Class 1b N Class 1b
ἁπλοῦς M Class 2a F Class 2b N Class 2
πορφυροῦς M Class 2 F Class 2b N Class 2
βαρύς M Class 3a F Class 3a N Class 3a
μέλας M Class 3b F Class 3b N Class 3b
βελτίων M Class 4a F Class 4a N Class 4a
ἀκριβής M Class 4b F Class 4b N Class 4b
ἄδικος M Class 4c F Class 4c N Class 4c

Looking at Class 4 first, the main difference between these two adjectives and the rest is that they are neutralized for the Masculine and Feminine Genders. There’s only a true contrast between the M/F and the Neuter. They’re separated into 4a – 4c simply because, as you can see, the adjectives are very different in their agreement suffixes.

βαρύς M Class 3a F Class 3a N Class 3a
μέλας M Class 3b F Class 3b N Class 3b
βελτίων M Class 4a F Class 4a N Class 4a
ἀκριβής M Class 4b F Class 4b N Class 4b
ἄδικος M Class 4c F Class 4c N Class 4c

Class 3 was probably the most difficult to analyze and decide on. There are a few reasons for this. One of the big ones was the result of the incredible parallels between 3b & 4a in the Masculine and Neuter genders. The relationship is marked in bold. The only difference between μέλας and the two 4a adjectives is found in the masculine, nominative, singular. Everywhere else, they are identical in their suffixes. And the parallels between μέλας and βαρύς are very few, comparatively. Likewise, for the Neuter, Classes, 3a, b, & 4a are all virtually identical. The only difference is found between 3a & 3b, where in the genitive singular, βαρύς has the form βαρέως. Everything else is exactly the same for 3a, b, & 4a. In the Feminine, μέλας has no parallels with class 4 (since Masculine & Feminine are neutralized in C4), but fits comfortable with βαρύς, other than the two alterations between –α and –η in the suffixes.

Classes 1& 2 are divided the way they are based on the Masculine and Neuter forms.

ἀγαθός M Class 1a F Class 1a N Class 1a
ἄξιος M Class 1b F Class 1b N Class 1b
ἁπλοῦς M Class 2a F Class 2b N Class 2
πορφυροῦς M Class 2 F Class 2b N Class 2

The relationship between 1a & 1b in the Masculine & Neuter is only one of stress differences and there is no difference between 2a & 2b in those genders. But in the feminine, there are serious differences. The Feminine 1a adjective parallels 2b and 1b parallels 2b. Thus the division, the way it is, was a sort of “majority rules” decision.

Comments welcome, also always. If anyone has some good suggestions for revisions, I’d also be interested.

If any of you are interested in the full chart, drop me an e-mail and I can send you the spreadsheet.

5 thoughts on “The Structure of Greek Adjective Classes

  1. This is probably a novice question–but how do you get your Greek fonts to display in WordPress? I went to their forum, and the only answer I found was to use the Greek Language feature–but that doesn’t seem practical for an English blog where you talk about Greek

    1. Are you using a unicode font? That’s all that I can think of. I’ve never had trouble with using Greek, personally, so I’m not sure what to say about your problem.

  2. Late, I know but i’m only just catching up now.

    I’d love to see the full chart. As you know, this overlaps with my own work so I’d like to see how it can be combined.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s