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13.2   Simplified rules of the contraction of  ε revisited

You learned in 12.5a and 12.5b  the contractions that occur when ε encounters ε and ο  in the conjugation of present and imperfect indicative of a verb.  The rules can be efficiently simplified as follows: 

ε + ε > ει

ε + ο > ου

ε +  a long sound (long vowel or diphthong: η, ω, ου, ει) > that long sound (long vowel or diphthong: η, ω, ου, ει).  If the long vowel has ι subscript, it remains in the resulting contraction.


In the inflection of the neuter nouns of the third declension that we are studying in this lesson,  ε also encounters  α.  When these two vowels contract, the first one prevails: the result is the lengthened first vowel.  So:

ε + α > η

α + ε > ᾱ  This contraction does not take place in the forms we have studied so far, but it will be useful to remember it.


Note on the dative plural of σ stems: the ending being σι, the sequence σσ is reduced to a single σ, which prevents the contraction:

τέλεσ-σι(ν) > τέλεσι(ν) 

Examples of ε + α in the nominative/accusative/vocative plural of the contracted neuter nouns of the third declension presented in this lesson:  

τέλεσ-α >   τέλε-α > τέλη

γένεσ-α >   γένε-α > γένη


Examples of other contractions that we have not found yet, in declension or conjugation. 

Not all are due to the loss of σ.  Check them out!


εὐγενέσ-α > εὐγενέ-α > εὐγενῆ

τριήρεσ-α > τριήρε-α > τριήρη

τριηρέσ-ων >  τριηρέ-ων >  τριηρῶν

τριηρέσ-ες > τριηρέ-ες > τριηρεῖς

τίμα-ε > τίμᾱ

τιμά-ει > τιμᾷ