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