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2014-12-261, S. E. & O.

The Proto-Indo-European aspect system


ROLAND A. POOTH
Was wir als Anfnge [d.h. als Urindogermanisch]
glauben nachweisen zu knnen, sind ohnehin schon
ganz spte [d.h. nachurindogermanische] Stadien.
la Jakob Burkhardt Weltgeschichtliche Betrachtungen
quoted from Parzinger 2014: 12
The reconstructable Proto-Indo-European language exhibited an elaborate inflectional aspect system including over twenty specific aspect categories. From PIE to
the Vulgar Pre-Indo-European dialect or variant cluster, many of these aspect categories were semantically broadened and merged, and their number decreased. The
aspect system was fused with tense distinctions and was thus remodelled to a tense
and aspect system including, among others, a prominent PRESENT IMPERFECTIVE tense
and aspect category.
Keywords: Proto-Indo-European verb morphology, aspect, Aktionsart, tense.

1 PIE verb morphotaxis


It has recently been discovered that Proto-Indo-European Proper2 verb
morphology was of the root and pattern morphology (RPM) type.3 According
to the definition given by Bauer 2004: 93, languages of this type have the
following property:
[...] In these languages, the root in a number of common binyanim[4]
or paradigms may be analysed as being made solely of consonants, while
the pattern of vowels which are found around the consonants and the
particular vowels filling up the pattern provide morphological information comparable to that often given by affixation. This analysis leads to
discontinuous roots and discontinuous morphs interacting with the
roots, [...].

1
2

3
4

This paper has been published at www.academia.edu on 2014-12-26 as provisional grey


literature and work in progress and will undergo further revisions. Merry christmas!
This term has been coined by Ringe 2006: 5. I avoid terms like Early PIE or Late
PIE, because labels like this presuppose the notion of two chronological layers of PIE
which I find a bit problematic. The term Vulgar Pre-Indo-European does not refer to a
more or less homogeneous and standardizable languages, but to a divergent post-PIE
variant or dialect cluster (comparable to what will be spoken in many parts of the world
someday after the decline of the English standard language).
Cf. Pooth 2004a, 2009b; Tremblay diss. 1999, 2003.
Cf. Classical Hebrew binynm.

ROLAND A. POOTH

Besides the skeletal consonant frame each PIE verbal finite word form
contained a transfix, cf. Bauer 2004: 102:
A transfix is a particular type of affix, one which is completely interwoven with its base. Typically, it is a series of vowels which surround
and interact with a base which in turn can be analysed as a series of
consonants. For example, Arabic katab he wrote, kitaab book, kaatib
clerk (where the root is *ktb, indicating writing) illustrate the transfixes _a_a_, _i_aa_ and _aa_i_. Such transfixes [...] are discontinuous affixes
attached to discontinuous bases, [...].

I use the term vowel melody for transfix, however, because I follow the
terminological tradition of the autosegmental approach (cf. McCarthy
1981). The different morpheme levels within the autosegmental morphological analysis are termed tiers.5
The vowel melody (VM) on the vowel melody template tier (e.g. _V_) was
morphotactically independent from the agglutinating affixation on the
skeletal consonant frame (CF) tier (e.g. *di-d_-t-i). An example of the different tiers is given below:
FIGURE 1.
vowel melody
vowel melody template
word form template
consonant frame

__
_V_
Ci-C_V1 _C-t-i
di-d_-t-i

entire word form

*didti ( *dhidhh1ti)

The separation of the different morphological tiers can also be illustrated by the following figure; the entire word form is PIE *stutoi topical
referent is praising s.o. for topical referentss own benefit:
FIGURE 2.
vowel melody tier
detransitive vowel tier
bare vowel tier
vowel melody template tier
word form template tier
word form accent tier
word form CV template tier
consonant frame tier
root and lexical base tier
C-suffix tier

Cf. McCarthy 1981.

V1

V2

C C V1 C - C - V2 - C

s t

The Proto-Indo-European aspect system

In addition to transfixation on the vowel melody tier and the word form
template tier, PIE morphology made use of the morphotactic strategy of
agglutination on the consonant frame tier.
After subtraction of the discontinuous full vowels (*, *, *, *) an agglutinating C-chain (reduplication, root, infix, suffix) remains (ro_ot =
discontinuous root, interrupted by a vowel slot _V_):
FIGURE 3.
C-chain
w

gloss

*g _n-t-i
*_s-t-u
*iu~n~_-t-i
*di-d_-t-i
*d_d_-t-i
*d_d_-_n-t-i
*_s-m_s-i

ro_ot-2/3DIR-PROG6
ro_ot-2/3DIR-DEB
ro~aspect infix~_ot-DIR-PROG
reduplication-ro_ot-DIR-PROG
reduplication_ro_ot-DIR-PROG
reduplication_ro_ot-PL-DIR-PROG
ro_ot-1EXCL_PL-PROG

The reduplication templatic prefix, the two aspect suffixes (i.e., *-nV4u-,
*-sk-), and the aspect infix were in complementary distribution.
IE reduplicated present stems like Greek I teach are obvious secondary innovations showing affix pleonasm (PIE *ins :: PIE *nssk )
*didnssk/- > *didnsk/-, cf. Old Avestan dids teaches, ddaih I experience, get to know, etc.

PIE had a vocalic prefix (*-) always attracting the accent (e.g. *-st
was there, existed, sat (down) there). Although being vocalic, it did not
belong to the vowel melody. It was used optionally to specify past tense
reference. It is used as past tense prefix in Greek, Phrygian and IndoIranian (and is partially preserved in Armenian).
The order of affixes in PIE verb forms is given in the following figure.
FIGURE 4. Order of affixes in PIE finite verb forms
T

R (~A~)
CV1V2C
C~n~V1C

A
nV4u
sk

M
iV5
s

P
mV6
uV6
tV6
sV6
V6

H (7)
V7

N
s
n
rV8

D
m
tV9
s

F
i
u

In principle, I follow the Leipzig Glossing Rules. Glosses: DIR = DIRECT-TRANSITIVE direction,
= INVERSE-TRANSITIVE direction, PROG = PROGRESSIVE aspect, DEB = DEBITIVE mood, EXCL
= 1PL.EXCLUSIVE, ITR = INTRANSITIVE-UNDERSPECIFIED direction (cf. Pooth manuscript e), etc.
The H is used for voice suffix slot, because V is used for vowel slot.
INV

RE
Ci
C
CV3
C
CR
CCi

ROLAND A. POOTH

Cover symbols:
T
RE
R
A
M
P
H
N
D
F
V

narrative past tense prefix (*-)


reduplication templatic prefix
root or lexical base
aspect infix or suffix (*~n~, *-nV4u-, ...)8
modal suffix (*-iV5-, *-s-)
person-and-direction 9 suffix (1EXCL *-m-, 1INCL *-u-, 2/3DIR *-t-,
2/3INV *-s-, 2/3ITR *--)
detransitive voice suffix (*--)
number suffix (1PL *-s-, 2PL *-n-, 3PL *-r- ~ *-n-, 2/3COL *--)
direction-and-deixis suffix (2/3COL.PROX *-m, DIR *-t-, INV *-s-)
final progressive aspect suffix (*-i-) or debitive mood suffix (*-u-)
vowel slot of the vowel melody

Each PIE verbal finite word form thus obligatorily consisted of a minimum of two overt morphemes: (a) the skeletal root, that is, the discontinuous lexical base (LB)10 and (b) the discontinuous inflectional vowel melody (VM).
The other morphemes or morpheme slots could remain non-overtly
zero-marked or unmarked, depending on how one prefers to define the
status or notion of zero ().
The following figure can illustrate the internal morphotaxis of a PIE 2nd
person PLURAL DETRANSITIVE DIRECT-TRANSITIVE PROGRESSIVE form *instni
you (pl.) (TOP) are experiencing/getting to know REF now & then ...:11
FIGURE 5.
aspect and mood (AM) stem ending

P- REV - CV ~A~V C -AoV Ac-MoV Mc3


1
2
4
5
*i
ns -

PV HV NV DV -FF
6
7
8
9
t n
i

lexical base
or root

Cf. Old Avestan ddaih I experience, get to know from the root *_ns-, cf.
LIV, p. 118f.
NB. From PIE to Vulgar Pre-IE, *-tn (without *-i) was reanalyzed as a
new 2nd pl. active or neoactive portmanteau ending. It is reflected as
Proto-Indo-Iranian 2nd pl. present imperfective (so-called primary) active
ending *-than > Vedic -than, cf. Pooth 2011.
8
9

10
11

Ao = onset of the aspect suffix syllable template (e.g. *-i_ of *-i_-), Ac = coda of the
aspect suffix; likewise Mo and Mc.
For the term direction cf. Wolfart & Carroll 1981: 68; DeLancey 1981; Thompson 1989:
21; Klaiman 1992; for Transitivity Direction in Proto-Indo-European cf. Pooth manuscript e.
A lexical base (LB) can further be separated into the proper root and its derivational or
quasi-derivational enlargement (ENL).
Abbreviations: TOP = topical referent, REF = non-topical referent.

The Proto-Indo-European aspect system

To illustrate the PIE to Vulgar Pre-IE great morphotactic fusion, the consonant frame can be separated into two major parts, namely (a) the aspect
and mood stem and (b) the ending:
The aspect and mood stem was later fused to the IE aspect and mood
stem (e.g. *di-d__- *dhidhh1-ti, etc.). The respective word form ending, on the other hand, was fused to the respective IE portmanteau suffix,
that is, the so-called inflectional ending for tense, aspect, mood, person,
number, and voice (e.g. *-t-__n *-th2an, etc.).
The distinction of aspect and mood stem and ending is solely motivated to illustrate the post-PIE morphotactic fusion. It is not implied that
these stems were PIE Proper synchronic morphological units. The emergence of post-PIE and IE fusional aspect and mood stems (e.g. *didns- ~
*didns-) was thus triggered by the process of morphotactic fusion. (It was
not triggered by suffixation of clitics to a fusional word form.)
Remark: However, the younger IE so-called thematic stems and the IE
sigmatic stems developed from a later resegmentation:
(a) From PIE to Vulgar Pre-IE, many 3rd person SINGULAR DETRANSITIVE
INTRANSITIVE forms12 were pleonastically extended by the new productive middle endings (*-to(i) ~ *-tor(i)). In parallel, the former PIE 3rd person
SINGULAR INVERSE forms were pleonastically extended by the 3rd singular socalled secondary ending (*-t).
(b) Within the Vulgar Pre-IE dialect or variant cluster, the respective first
segment of *-oto(i) ~ *-otor(i), *-eti, and the one of *-st were reanalyzed as a
stem-final suffix *-o- ~ *-e- and *-s-. This resegmentation mainly occured in
the so-called Inner IE part of the Vulgar Pre-IE dialect or variant cluster.
This morphotactic internalization has brilliantly been described by Watkins
1962, 1969. In honour of Watkins it is called Watkins law, cf. Collinge
1985: 239. This resegmentation is transferrable to the IE *-sko/e- stems (see
figure 7):
FIGURE 6.
PIE
*ui

*ui

Vulgar Pre-IE
new stem suffix
*uidotoi
*-o *uidetoi (13) *-e*uidt(o)
*-o *uidt
*-e-

PIE suffix
zero

Vulgar Pre-IE
*rsktoi
*rskti

PIE suffix
*-sk-

zero

FIGURE 7.
PIE
*rsk

12

13

new stem suffix


*-sko-toi
*-ske-ti

These have been termed stative, but this label is inappropriate. Instead, they were 3rd
sg. detransitive forms used in a PIE intransitive construction (including the antipassive
construction), cf. Pooth 2000 and manuscript a. They had labile semantics.
This form is reflected as Homeric Gk. 3rd sg. pres. ind. mid. , 1st sg. .

ROLAND A. POOTH

A parallel suffix pleonasm happened to the corresponding 3rd person


singular detransitive intransitive forms of the progressive aspect which were
marked by the suffix *-i in the final morpheme slot (F). These PIE specifically
PROGRESSIVE aspect forms were semantically broadened to Vulgar Pre-IE present imperfective tense and aspect forms. They were extended, then, by the
productive, specifically present imperfective middle endings *-toi ~ *-tori,
etc. or by the productive active (including the neoactive) ones (*-ti ~ *-ei ~
*-eti, etc.).
The subsequent resegmentation of the respective first part of the pleonastic
ending to stem-final suffixes (middle *-oi-toi, *-i-toi, *-io-toi, *-ei-toi and neoactive *-i/i-ei, *-ie-ti, *-eie-ti)14 is now datable to the Vulgar Pre-IE period. The
internalization must have happened slightly before or by the time when ProtoAnatolian split up from the dialect or variant cluster:
FIGURE 8.
PIE

Vulgar Pre-IE

*d u i
*ni

*d u itoi
*gnitoi
*gnintoi
*duinti

new stem suffix


*-oi- (cf. Jasanoff 1976, 2003)
*-i*-Hio*-io-

NB. 3rd person sg. forms of the *ni type are reflected as the Vedic socalled passive aorist (Vedic jni, etc.). Cf. Proto-Germanic *uai(i), Vedic
duhyate :: Gaulish dugiiontiio, etc. Cf. Latin 3rd sg. pres. ind. mid. oritur <
*writor(i) ~ *writoi ( PIE *ri) :: Hittite 3rd sg. pres. ind. act. araai
<*wri (PIE *wri), pl. ariyanzi < *wri nti ~ *wrnti. The 3rd person pl.
forms *wri nti ~ *wri ntoi were created via paradigmatic levelling of *-i- in
Vulgar Pre-IE.15
Systematic suffix pleonasms were a general post-PIE tendency. These prolonged word forms were triggered by paradigmatic analogical leveling or
regularization, that is, the analogical introduction of the new productive
portmanteau endings (i.e., 3rd *-toi, *-ti ~ *-ei, etc.).
It is thus possible to reconstruct the following two PIE forms of the 3rd sg.
detransitive intransitive progressive via internal reconstruction:
FIGURE 9.
PIE16

14

15
16

*supi

*supi

Vulgar Pre-IE

new stem suffix

*supitoi ~
*supieti
*suopitoi
*suopieti

*-i*-ie*-i*-ie-

A second, but minor source of IE yod-present stems were derivational root enlargements in *-i-, e.g. *_-_i- separate, detach, devide, distribute, share from underlying
*_- id. (cf. LIV, s.v. deh2(i )-).
This offers a plausible explanation for why the partciple of Hittite araai does not show
any *-i -, cf. araant-, cf. Kloekhorst 2008: 200.
I am sorry, but I do not assume, as a descriptive fact, acrostatic iterative-causatives of
essentially the traditional sort at the level of PIE (Vine 2012: fn. 11).

The Proto-Indo-European aspect system

NB. Vedic rmyate gets tired, slack is a reflex of Vulgar Pre-IE

*krm(H)ietoi going further back to PIE *krm(H)i is getting/being slack. It


is evident that the Vulgar Pre-IE suffix of the *supieti type was *-io/e-, cf. the
discussion by Vine 2012: 548-555.
A brief remark on suffix pleonasms: There are plenty of well-known cases
of suffix pleonasms crosslinguistically, cf. the discussion and the examples of
Haspelmath 1993: 297 with references. Cases such as Afro-American Vernacular English child- :: children-s, Modern Dutch kind- :: kinder-en or Vulgar
Latin esse-re (cf. the Latin irregular infinitive esse) show that the first part of
pleonastically chained suffixes can be reanalyzed as belonging to a new stem
allomorph (es-se esse-re). It is thus evident that suffix pleonasms lead to additional allomorphy (cf. Haspelmath 1993: 299). The fact that Vedic stve ~
stavate, ye ~ yate, juat ~ juta, etc. are variants without any functional
difference thus only strengthens the case for Watkins law.
Note that the given diachronic scenario has the implication that the *-io/e(and *-Hio/e-) thematic stems and the ones in *-sko/e- and *-i/io/e- came
into being a bit earlier than the simple thematic ones (*-o/e-). Such a chronology is supported by the Proto-Anatolian situation.

2 The six basic transfixal aspects


It is among the most intricate and fascinating facets of the PIE Proper
system of transfixing and templatic morphology that the vowel melodies
were integrated into a reciprocal system of verbal internal inflection, that is,
a system of verbal base modifications by means of vowel transposition
(VTP). I will return to a definition of this phenomenon below.
PIE had an internal inflectional system of minimally six transfixal verbal grades17 (counted by Roman numbers I, II, III, IV, V, VI). These
grades were altering vowel patterns which were mapped upon the underlying vowel melody template (*_V_, *_VV_, or *_V_V_). Each grade thus consisted of a particular vowel melody (e.g. *__) or a combination of derivationally related vowel melodies (e.g. *__ *___).
Thus in PIE Proper it was not the root or the suffix that contained a
particular ablaut grade like in Vulgar Pre-IE or in the IE languages. Instead, the term grade is now transferred to identify a property of the
entire word form. The essence of the grade system is the classification of
verbal finite word forms on the basis of their respective underlying word
form template. Each PIE verbal finite word form belonged to a specific
grade. Each grade, as so defined, had semantic correlates. The six PIE
grades signalled six basic (inflectional) aspectual meanings. They could
further be combined with reduplication, infixation, and suffixation yielding
more specified (derivational) aspectual meanings.
17

The term grade is borrowed from the term for tonal patterns of Hausa grammar, e.g.
Hausa jeefa (grade I) throw sth. :: jefaa (grade II) throw at s.o. :: jeefoo (grade VI)
throw (in this direction), cf. Newman 1973: 298. This term is also used to describe the
aspect system of Creek (Muskogee, spoken by the Seminole tribe, Oklahoma and Florida, USA), cf. Martin 2011: 43ff., 241ff., chapters 8 and 28.

ROLAND A. POOTH

The PIE grades and their vowel melodies are given in the figures below.
Grade III, IV, V, VI were deponent grades. Only detransitive forms belonged
to these grade; there were no corresponding agentive-active forms. A deponent grade is indicated by d here:
FIGURE 10. PIE transfixal grades (in isolation)
grade
I
II
IIId
IVd
Vd
VId

vowel melodies
AGENTIVE

__
__/___/___

aspectual meaning
DETRANSITIVE

__
___ (___+19)
___/___ (___+)
__ (__+)
__/___ (__+)
___

NONDURATIVE18
DURATIVE20
STATIVE-HABITUAL
TRANSITIONAL
INCHOATIVE-STATIVE
DISTRIBUTIVE/FACTITIVE

FIGURE 11. Some PIE word forms and their grades


grade
I
II
IIId
IVd
Vd
VId

vowel melodies21
agentive forms
*gwnt
*stut/*stut

detransitive forms
*gwn
*stu
*uid
*n (*ni)
*sup (*supi)
*n (*ni)

These six transfixal grades including their combined vowel melodies


were motivated by so-called internal derivation. This derivational strategy implied the following morphological mechanisms:
(a) Vowel transposition: Templatic vowel transposition was an important morphological mechanism in PIE. By definition, it implied an internal
change of the position of a vowel or vowels in the respective vowel slot(s)
within the word form template:
18

19

20

21

The PIE NONDURATIVE aspect was either semelfactive-deliminative, that is, it indicated a
single event within its two boundaries occurring once, or it was terminative (including a
termination) or telic (including a goal). It was more underspecified as for duration than
a perfective aspect and was not incompatible to the PROGRESSIVE aspect suffix *-i which
derived a progressive durative meaning from otherwise nondurative or underspecified
polyactional roots. The gloss NONDUR used here is equivalent to the gloss SEM used in
earlier manuscripts (Pooth manuscrips a-e).
The vowel melodies given in brackets were the vowel melodies without the superimposed discontinuous marker *. These unmarked vowel melodies coded detransitive 1st
person singular and 2nd person forms in combination with the continuous detransitive
suffix *--. These vowel melodies were identical to the unmarked agentive-active vowel
melodies of grades I and II, respectively.
The detransitive forms of this type also had a future-prospective or potential reading,
e.g. PIE *mr is mortal, can die, will die, shall die. Forms with this reading developed
to subjunctive stems *mro/e- within Vulgar Pre-IE.
The vowel melodies are coloured red here.

The Proto-Indo-European aspect system

FIGURE 12.

*dt
*CV1CP

2/3DIR
put, puts

*dt(_n)
*CCPV6(N)
2PL.DIR(-PL)
you (pl.) put

NB. A quite similar morphological strategy is found in the Oceanic language Rotumam: e.g., piko (CV1CV2) lazy :: piok (CV1V2C) lazy, rotuma
(CV3CV1CV2) Rotuma :: rotuam (CV3CV1V2C) Rotuma,22 etc., cf. Besnier 1987:
201-223, Pooth 2004a: 422, fn.

The PIE 1st person exclusive, 1st person inclusive, and 2nd person plural
agentive forms were internally derived from the corresponding singular
forms by means of vowel transposition, see the following figure:
FIGURE 13.
1
2ITR
2DIR
2INV
1
2ITR
2DIR
2INV

SG

PL

*dm
*d
*dt
*ds

*dm(s) (1PL.EXCL)
*d(n)
*dt(n)
*ds(n)

*stum
*stu
*stut
*stus

*stum(s) (1PL.EXCL)
*stu(n)
*stut(n)
*stus(n)

The detransitive forms of grade I were internally derived from the


detransitive forms of grade IV by vowel transposition.23
FIGURE 14.

1
2ITR
2DIR
2INV
3ITR
3DIR
3INV

22
23
24

grade IV

grade I

grade I

SG

SG

PL

*bud
*bud
*budt
*buds
*bud (24)

*bud
*bud
*budt
*buds
*bud
*budt
*buds

(*budm(s))
*bud(n)
*budt(n)
*buds(n)
*budr ~*budr
*budnt ~ *budnt

Cf. Besnier 1987 who speaks of vowel metathesis, but the term metathesis should
better be restricted to a non-morphological switch of segments.
Cf. Jasanoff 1978, footnote 29: The possibility that the stems under discussion owe
their zero-grade to a process of internal derivation is not unattractive [...].
This form is reconstructed by the method of internal reconstruction, that is, by internal
subtraction of *-i. The corresponding progressive form *budi is reflected by Vedic
bdhi.

ROLAND A. POOTH

10

The detransitive 2nd/3rd person collective-plural forms were internally


derived from the 2nd person singular forms:
FIGURE 15.

2ITR
2DIR
2INV

grade IV

grade I and IV

SG

COL

*bud
*budt
*buds

2/3ITR
2/3DIR
2/3INV

*bud(m)
*budt(m)
*buds(m)

The respective vowel melody of the 3rd person plural detransitive forms
was internally derived from the one of the corresponding singular forms by
vowel transposition:
FIGURE 16.
3ITR
3DIR
3ITR

SG

PL

*bud

*budr ~ *budr
*budnt ~ *budnt

*ui

*uidr

NB. These 3rd person plural forms were marked for plural number by the 3rd
person plural number suffix *-r- (or *-n- before *-t-).

Verbal and nominal internal derivation further implied the following


morphological means:
(b) Accent shift: A second PIE morphological means was simple accent
shift: e.g., *luq is, was shining *luq- (adjective) bright, shining.25
But simple accent shift was more important in the system of nominal derivation than in verbal morphology: e.g., *ru inanimate wood *rwooden (adjective), loc. *rui in/at wood *ru- in wood
(ATTRIBUTIVE), wooden (cf. Modern German ein Stuhl in Holz a wooden
chair), etc.
(c) Vowel slot gemination: Another salient PIE morphological means
was gemination of the vowel slot on the vowel melody tier of the word
form template:
FIGURE 17.
*dt
*CV1CP
2/3DIR
put(s)

*dt
*CV1V2CP
2/3DIR
put(s) /make(s) /do(es) (duratively)

The agentive forms of grade II were internally derived from the ones of
grade I by means of vowel slot gemination:
25

Cf. Greek - white; the corresponding verb form is reflected by Vedic rcate is
shining.

The Proto-Indo-European aspect system

11

FIGURE 18.
1SG
2SG.ITR
2SG/3SG.DIR
2SG/3SG.INV

grade I
*km
*k
*kt
*ks

grade II
*km = *km
*k
*kt
*ks

NB. From PIE to Vulgar Pre-IE, the 3rd person inverse-transitive forms were
pleonastically extended (e.g. *ks *dks t).

(d) Suprasegmental vowel mapping: A tremendously important and


even more intricate morphological means of PIE was the suprasegmental
mapping of the discontinuous DETRANSITIVE marker * (or else the phonological feature [+round]26) upon one of the underlying vowel slots of the
vowel melody template. It is illustrated by the following figure:
FIGURE 19.
discontinuous DTR marker
vowel melody
vowel melody template
word form template

or [+round]
(mapped upon)
__
_V1_
*d_V1 _--i

output

*di

It is crucial for any deeper understanding of PIE morphology to recognize that all word forms coded by *, no matter in which position within
the word form, and also all word forms coded by its continuous counterpart *-- belonged to the DETRANSITIVE voice category.
The following detransitive forms were internally derived from the corresponding agentive word forms by suprasegmental vowel mapping:
FIGURE 18.

2SG.ITR
1PL.EXCL
1PL.INCL
3PL.ITR
3PL.DIR
3PL.INV
26

grade I

grade IV

AGENTIVE

DETRANSITIVE

*d
*dm(s)
*du(s)
*dr
*dnt
*drs

3SG.ITR *d
*dm(s)
*du(s)
*dr ~ *dr
*dnt ~ *dnt

This depends on how one prefers to analyze this phenomenon. Note that the PIE bare
vowel phoneme *// was realized as [] or [a] before and after *, but as [] before
and after *w. Both realizations are written <a> here. Otherwise it was realized as []
or [] (written <> here). I think that the realization [] or [a] before and after * was
older than [] or [] otherwise. PIE also had *a and *a in onomatopoietics and small
word forms, e.g. *m mummy vs. *m PROHIBITIVE. Some roots had variants, e.g. *Vr~ *ar-. I think that, e.g., *ar was older than its regular variant *r (1st binyan).

ROLAND A. POOTH

12

NB. This system offers a functional explanation for the later different ablaut
grades of *-me(s) and *-mo(s). The 1st person plural middle ending *-mor of
Proto-Celtic and Proto-Italic cannot be a complete innovation: *-mo (without
*-r) should be seen as archaic. The plural middle endings *-mo(s)d, *-uosd,
*-(s)duo/e, and *-onto, on the other hand, should be taken for Vulgar Pre-IE
innovations (cf. Pooth 2011); see below.

It can be concluded that the grade I agentive singular forms (*dt >
Vedic 3rd sg. aor. inj. act. dht, etc.) were the most basic forms. Many
detransitive forms (e.g. *d, *di > Vedic 3rd sg. aor. inj. mid. dhy i)
were internally derived from the underlying agentive forms (e.g. *d) by
mapping * upon a vowel slot of the vowel melody template. In terms of
markedness, therefore, the detransitive voice forms contained more morphological material than the underlying agentive voice forms. Note that
this situation is quite different from the one found in the most archaic IE
languages, where active and middle forms show the same number of morphemes, e.g. Vedic 3rd sg. pres. ind. act. bhra-ti vs. mid. bhra-te.
The grade I detransitive forms were internally derived from the grade IV
forms, e.g. *bud wakes up, woke up; gets/got attentive *bud (27)
recognizes/recognized sth./s.o.; is/was/gets/got attentive towards
s.o./sth.. The forms of grade III (*ui) were internally derived from the
grade II detransitive forms, e.g. *ui(i) s.o. can see; s.o./sth. can be seen,
is visible; is apparent *ui(i) knows sth./s.o. (> Vedic vda, etc.).
It can thus finally be concluded that a monovocalic underlying vowel
melody template *_V_ had a nondurative or a (nondurative) transitional
aspectual meaning (e.g. *ui s.o. found sth./s.o.28), whereas a bivocalic
(or stereovocalic) underlying vowel melody template *_VV_ or *_V_V_ had
a durative, a (durative or plurative) stative-habitual or a (plurative)
distributive-iterative aspectual meaning. In other terms, a monovocalic
vowel melody had a SINGLEFACTIVE-SINGULATIVE (BOUND, PUNCTUAL) or else
an UNDERSPECIFIED aspectual meaning, whereas a bivocalic vowel melody
conveyed a specific PLURIFACTIVE-PLURATIVE (EXTENDED, INTERNALLY MULTIPLIED, EXTERNALLY MULTIPLIED or UNBOUND) aspectual meaning:
FIGURE 19.

*_V_
SINGLEFACTIVE-SINGULATIVE or UNDERSPECIFIED aspect
*_VV_, *_V_V_ PLURIFACTIVE-PLURATIVE aspect
One may use the term superordinate vowel melody template aspects to refer to these two templatic aspect distinctions. The terms imperfective vs.
perfective are rather inappropriate here, because the singlefactive aspect
was compatible to the progressive aspect and thus conveyed a somewhat
different aspectual meaning (which was less specified than the perfective
aspect). As an exception, the 3rd pl. forms of the so-called Narten type,
namely *stur, *stunt, *sturs and the 3rd pl. of grade V (*supr) showed a
27
28

This form is reflected as the Greek thematic aorist .


This form is reflected as the IE thematic aorist *uid/-, e.g. Vedic vidat.

The Proto-Indo-European aspect system

13

monovocalic-singlefactive (underspecified) vowel melody template (*_V_),


but belonged to a pattern of word forms which exhibited a plurifactive
vowel melody template otherwise.29

3 The PIE progressive aspect


The word final morpheme slot -F (see figure 4) provided a slot for the
aspect suffix *-i or the debitive mood suffix *-u, but the latter
will not be dealt with here. In PIE, the progressive aspect marker *-i could
be attached to almost any finite verb form except for verb forms whose
grammatical meaning was completely incompatible to the progressive
durative aspectual meaning (cf. Pooth 2009a); see the figure below:

PROGRESSIVE

FIGURE 19.
1SG.AGT
1PL.EXCL.AGT
3PL.ITR.AGT
3PL.DIR.AGT
1SG.DTR
3SG.ITR.DTR
3PL.ITR.DTR

NONPROG

PROG (DUR)

*gwnm
*gwnm(s)
*gwnr
*gwnnt

*gwnm-i
*gwnms-i
*gwnr-i
*gwnnt-i

*gwn
*bud
*stur

*gwn-i
*bud-i
*stur-i

Remark: As already mentioned above, this suffix *-i was fused with the
other suffixes of the ending from PIE to Vulgar Pre-IE and became part of
the so-called primary (portmanteau) endings marking the Vulgar Pre-IE present imperfective tense + aspect category. The most productive Vulgar Pre-IE
present imperfective aspect and tense endings are given in the following
figure. Note that there was more variation; the 1st and 2nd person pl. forms, for
instance, could optionally lack the *-i.
FIGURE 20.
1SG
2SG
3SG
1PL
1DU.INCL
29
30

ACTIVE

*-mi
*-si
*-ti
*-mes(i)
*-ues(i)

NEOACTIVE

*-ai
*-tai
*-ei ~ *-eti
*-mos(i)
*-uos(i)

MIDDLE

*-ai
*-tai ~ *-sai ~ *-soi
*-toi
*-mo(s)-d (30)
*-uo(s)-d

Note that these forms were marked for plural number by *-r- and *-n- (before *-t-).
These markers thus may have coded plurality of the given event concept.
The new 1st pl. and du. incl. middle endings obviously developed by attachment of a
former clitic *=d (or *=da ~ *=di?) whose origin remains obscure. This clitic may
be related to the deictic clitic *=di that was attached to 2nd sg. imperative forms, cf.
PIE *s= be there! (> Vulgar Pre-IE *es ~ *s). It may also be a form *d
one does/did it (for ones own benefit, ...); it was done (by a group of people) (formed
like a 1st sg. middle *gn) which as a relic contained the old collective meaning of the
marker *-- found both in 1st person sg. and 2nd person detransitive forms.

ROLAND A. POOTH

14

FIGURE 20 (continued).
2/3DU
2PL
3PL

ACTIVE

*-ten(i)
*-enti

NEOACTIVE

MIDDLE

*-ta(m) ~ *-a(m) (NEOACTIVE/MIDDLE31)


*-tan(i)
*-ta(n) *-duo/e (32)
*-onti
*-ontoi

Additionally, there were new Vulgar Pre-IE middle endings with a new
suffix *-r(i). I follow the old view that this extension ultimately originated
from PIE 3rd person plural detransitive intransitive forms (e.g. *stur ~
*stur some people praised s.o.) which were coded by the PIE 3rd person
plural marker *-r- (in the number slot -N-). I think that the PIE 3rd person plural detransitive intransitive forms were reanalyzed as new 3rd person singular
middle forms within the new Vulgar Pre-IE passive construction. This new
passive construction emerged by addition of an oblique causer or agent to the
original 3rd person plural intransitive construction:
(1)

a. PIE (oblique agent ungrammatical)


*nr-
*stu_r
man-ABS:SG praise:DUR:DTR _3PL\ITR
as for the man, (some) people praised him
b. Vulgar PIE (oblique agent grammatical)
*n(r)
*stu-or
*ptr-s ~ -s
man:NOM:SG praise-3SG.IPFV.IND.MID father-ABL/GEN.SG
the man was praised by the father

Note that there is a second source for the new Vulgar Pre-IE passive construction. It also emerged by addition of an oblique causer or agent to the
original 3rd person singular intransitive construction:
(2)

a. PIE (oblique agent ungrammatical)


*nr-
*stu
man-ABS:SG praise:DUR:DTR:ITR_3SG
as for the man, someone praised him
b. Vulgar PIE (oblique agent grammatical)
*n(r)
*stu-o
*ptr-s ~ -s
man:NOM:SG praise-3SG.IPFV.IND.MID father-ABL/GEN.SG
the man was praised by the father

Crosslinguistically, both grammaticalization paths are well-known, cf.


Haspelmath 1990: 49-50. A conflation of the passive and the middle function
is confirmed. Thus *-r(i) was soon extended to be used as a general middle
marker. The new Vulgar Pre-IE pres. imperfective middle ending variants
are given in the following figure:
31
32

For the 2nd person and 3rd person dual endings cf. Pooth 2011.
The origin of this ending is obscure. It may go back to a voc. sg. form, e.g. *budsdu of
a verbal adjective, e.g. *gwntu, *budtu (>Vulgar Pre-IE *budsdu-). It may also go
back to a verb + auxiliary compound *gwn-d-u_ slaying-do-1PL.INCL_DTR we, you and
me, do/did slaying (for our own benefit) which was later reanalyzed as a 2nd pl. detransitive forms you ... (dito).

The Proto-Indo-European aspect system

15

FIGURE 21.
1SG
2SG
3SG
1PL
1DU.INCL
2PL
3PL

PRESENT IMPERFECTIVE MIDDLE

*-ai
*-tai ~ *-sai ~ *-soi
*-toi
*-mos-d
*-uos-d
*-tan *-duo/e
*-ontoi

*-a-ri
*-ta-ri
*-o-ri ~ *-to-ri
*-mo(s)-d-ri
*-uo(s)-d-ri
*-duo/e-ri
*-onto-ri

As mentioned above, there were additional pleonastic Vulgar Pre-IE 3rd person singular and plural present imperfective middle and neoactive endings:
FIGURE 22.
PIE

Vulgar Pre-IE pleonastic pres. imperfective middle

*d u i

*ni

*supi

*supi

*duitoi
3rd sg. middle *-itoi ~ *-itori

*d u iti 3rd sg. neoactive *-iti


*duinti
*gnitoi
3rd sg. middle *-(H)itoi ~ *-(H)itor
*gnintoi 3rd pl. middle *-(H)intoi ~ *-(H)intori
*supitoi ~
3rd sg. middle *-itoi
*supieti 3rd sg. neoactive *-ieti
*supiontoi
*suopitoi
3rd sg. middle *-itoi
*suopieti 3rd sg. neoactive *-ieti

As also mentioned above, there were additional pleonastic Vulgar Pre-IE 3rd
person singular and plural middle or neoactive non-present endings:
FIGURE 23.
PIE

Vulgar Pre-IE pleonastic non-present endings

*u
*du

*ui

*n
*sup
*sup

*uidet
*duto
*dut
*dut
*uidoto
*uidot
*uidet
*gnto
*supto
*suopto
*suopt

3rd sg. neoactive *-e ~ *-et


3rd sg. middle *-to(r)
3rd sg. middle *-(t)
3rd sg. neoactive *-(t)
3rd sg. middle *-itoi ~ *-itori
3rd sg. middle *-o(t)
3rd sg. neoactive *-e(t)
3rd sg. middle *-to
3rd sg. middle *-to
3rd sg. middle *-to
3rd sg. neoactive *-t

4 PIE verbal binyans


As already mentioned above, the underlying word form template (WFT)
had the status of a templatic morpheme in PIE. By means of the underlying

ROLAND A. POOTH

16

word form template, the position of the vowels of the vowel melody combined with the position of the word form accent on one of these vowels
within the word form was determined. The word form template belonged
to a superordinate set of word form templates. I have decided to term this
superordinate template bundle the word form template set. It can also be
termed more conveniently the inflectional type. For its brevity, however,
I make use of the term binyan which is borrowed from Classical Hebrew
grammar. Finally, all binyanim (binyans) were subordinate template sets to
the superordinate verbal paradigm. There was nothing in PIE like a verbal
lexical conjugation class (as found, for instance, in Latin, where the verb
laudat, laudre belongs to the first conjugation, whereas uidet, uidre belongs to the second one, etc.). The different PIE Proper binyans were
fully grammatical. Instead of belonging to a lexical conjugation class, every
verb was principally inflectable for each binyan. But as in many languages,
there were many defective verbal paradigms. In PIE, this defectiveness was
mainly due to a semantic incongruency of a given lexical meaning and the
respective grammatical meaning. I will return to this matter elsewhere.
As just mentioned, each PIE verbal finite verb form had an underlying
word form template (WFT). This word form template conveyed a specific
inflectional meaning (remember: ro_ot is the gloss for the discontinous root
or lexical base):
FIGURE 24.
a.

*C__C-m
ro_ NONDUR:AGT_ot-1EXCL\SINGULAR
e.g. *sm I am/was there, sit/sat there

b.

*CC-m_
root-1EXCL_NONDUR:AGT\PLURAL
e.g. *sm we are/were there, sit/sat there

The word form template thus obviously had full morpheme status, because it coded number distinctions and belonged to a binyan with a specific grammatical, that is, aspectual and modal meaning.
The PIE word form accent was part of this word form template (WFT)
morpheme. Its position within the word form was definitory for the identification of a given word form as belonging to a specific aspect grade:
FIGURE 25.
a.

*su__ p_ (grade III)


ro_STAT:DTR_ot_ITR:STAT\3SG
s.o. habitually falls asleep; habitually sleeps

b.

*su__p_ (grade VI)


ro_DISTR:DTR_ot_ITR:DISTR\3SG
s.o. falls asleep here & there/now & then;
s.o. sleeps here & there/now & then /s.o. makes s.o. fall asleep

The Proto-Indo-European aspect system

17

The PIE accent was free, that is, it was unpredictable from syllable
structure or phonological word form structure. In word forms with more
than one full vowel, one of these two vowels had to bear a contrasting high
tone accent, opposed to a lower tone of the other vowel or vowels. The
word form accent, therefore, was not a property of any morphological
segment other than the word form template (WFT) morpheme. It provided
grammatical distinctions.
Since the verbal word form accent was an intonational suprasegment
belonging to the verbal word form template (WFT) morpheme and was
fully grammatical, PIE did not show different verbal lexical accent types. In
the verbal system there was no lexically predetermined accent. The evolution of lexically predetermined accent of verb stems should be seen as a
Vulgar Pre-IE phenomenon which must have occured after the great morphotactic fusion. Note that PIE also had no lexical Narten character of
roots, that is, roots with lexical long vowels.
PIE binyans can thus be defined as a combination of different word form
templates. Remember that these word form templates were related to each
other by so-called internal derivation. Within each PIE binyan, three
types of finite word forms were distinguished:
FIGURE 24.
a.
b.
c.

all singular forms, e.g. *gwnt


2nd/3rd collective-plural and 3rd person plural forms,
e.g. *gwnt, *gwnt
weakest forms: 1st and 2nd person pl. forms, e.g. *gwnm(s)

strong forms:
weak forms:

The word form template morpheme is thus separable into two subordinate morphemes:
(a) The word form template (morpheme WFT) provided number and aspect distinctions. It was classified as belonging to a specific grade and vowel
melody template (morpheme VMT) and it belonged to a superordinate word
form template set or binyan which conveyed a specific aspectual (and also
modal) meaning.
To now provide the reader with an impression of how the PIE binyans
looked like and were morphologically structured, the PIE radical binyans
are given in the figures below.
The first one is given in the following figure. It is the aorist-like
NONDURATIVE or basic aspect. I have decided to term this inflectional pattern the PIE first binyan. To save space, I leave away the asterisk (*)
marking reconstructed word forms in the figures/tables below. The vowel
melody and the accent are coloured red:

ROLAND A. POOTH

18

FIGURE 25. PIE first binyan (grade I)

1EXCL
1INCL
2ITR
2DIR
2INV
3ITR

AGT
SG

gwnm
gwn
gwnt
gwns

PL

DTR
SG

gwnm(s)
gwnu(s)
gwn(n)
gwnt(n)
gws(n)
gwnr

gwn
gwn
gwnt
gwns
gwn

3DIR

gwnt

gwnnt

gwnt

3INV

gwns

gwnrs

gwns

PL

gwnm(s)
gwnu(s)
gwn(n)
gwnt(n)
gwns(n)
gwnr ~
gwnr
gwnnt ~
gwnnt

COL

gwnm()
gwnu()
gwn
gwnt
gwns
gwn
gwnt
gwns

Remark: This first binyan is reflected by two Vedic and Greek verbal stems
belonging to two different aspect categories:
(a) the imperfective root present stem, and (b) the perfective root aorist
stem.
I propose the following developments: The progressive forms of this first
binyan (e.g. *gwnt-i, etc.) once were predominantly used with ongoing present time reference and thus developed into Vulgar Pre-IE present imperfective
tense and aspect portmanteau forms. Subsequently, the corresponding nonprogressive forms either developed into corresponding non-present imperfective forms (e.g. Vedic han :: han, etc.) or were further narrowed to root aorists (e.g. Vedic gn, gan, etc.). The drift can be illustrated by the following
figure:
FIGURE 26.
PIE
*gwnti
*gwnt
gwmti
*gwmt

Vulgar Pre-IE
present + imperfective
vs.
non-imperfective

Proto-Indo-Iranian
*nti
*nt

*gmt

A class of totally terminative or totally telic roots, e.g. *gw_m- come hither,
go there perhaps generally lacked progressive forms in PIE (gwmt-i). Many
different stems (e.g. the one preceding Vedic gccha-ti go etc.) could be used
as stem-suppletive present imperfective stems in Vulgar Pre-IE.
Only later, slightly before Proto-Indo-Iranian and Proto-Greek, but definitively after Proto-Anatolian had left the dialect or variant bundle, the nonimperfective stems were specified to perfective root aorist stems and the
well-known (neutral-) imperfective vs. anterior-imperfective vs. perfective
aspect system was established.
By that moment, former PIE progressive forms (e.g. *dti is/was saying,
doing) corresponding to non-progressive forms with a (gradually) terminative
or telic meaning (e.g. *dt put, did, said), as a rule, had to be given up. The
reason is simple: By that moment, the Vulgar Pre-IE present imperfective end-

The Proto-Indo-European aspect system

19

ing *-ti became incompatible to these specific non-imperfective aorist stems.


One may refer to this rule as the *dti (> teezzi) dropping rule:
FIGURE 27.
PIE
*gwnti
*gwnt

Vulgar Pre-IE
present + imperfective
non-imperfective

Inner IE Vulgar Pre-IE


*gwn-ti
*gwn-t

but
*dti
*dt

present + imperfective
non-imperfective

(*d- incompatible to *-ti)


aorist stem *d-t

Thus, I would rather not follow the idea that Hittite teezzi says was an innovative backformation, derived from a former PIE root aorist stem. This
idea has been labeled the teezzi principle. In my view, it can be taken for a
Paradebeispiel of anachronistic reprojection of Graeco-Aryan morphosyntactic
categories. Instead, I even think that forms like *gwnt topical referent slew
non-topical referent once were terminative or telic (and not at all imperfective-like)they were only reinterpreted as neutral-imperfective forms, because the corresponding forms in *-ti were used as present neutralimperfective forms in Vulgar Pre-IE so frequently.33
Therefore, Hittite teezzi and the corresponding Anatolian forms are clear
archaisms and ultimately go back to a PIE 3rd sg. progressive form *dti
is/was putting, doing, saying. The presence of such forms in Hittite and
Proto-Anatolian perfectly parallels the abscence of the aorist category in this
branch. This ultimately speaks in favour of an innovative nature of the entire
aorist category outside Proto-Anatolian.

The other PIE five root formations or radical binyans are given in the
subsequent figures.
All forms of the following PIE second binyan (or acrostatic Narten
type) had the word form accent on the vowel in the root vowel slot:
33

Vedic him ahan he slew the dragon, e.g., shows an evident terminative or telic
meaning (... until its death). The idea that PIE *gw_n- must have had an iterative-like
or durative-like lexical aspectual meaning and must have meant wiederholt schlagen (thus Garca Ramn 1998), just because this root shows a root present and not a
root aorist in Vedic or Greek, is based on the mistaken inference that the IE root presents would reflect an original imperfective-like lexical aspectual meaning, that is, the
so-called Verbalcharakter of the respective PIE verbal root. However, this is too much
a backprojection of Greek and Vedic inflectional aspectual distinctions to the PIE verbal
lexicon. Inferring that the imperfective vs. perfective distinction would be lexically underlying is, in my view, a severe mistake. Inflectional categories cannot be simply
matched 1 to 1 onto a lexicon. Instead, many terminative or telic roots were compatible
to the progressive aspect suffix *-i in PIE. Attaching this suffix simply yielded a (derivational-like) durative meaning (like in colloquial Ruhr-German hmma, der is ihn am
totschlagen, hilf dem ma bitte listen, hes beating him to death, please help him vs. er hat
ihn tot geschlagen, dem kannze nich mehr helfen he has slewn him, you cant help him
anymore). Therefore, the existence of a root present in IE languages can only tell us
that the respective PIE verbal root was compatible to the PIE progressive aspectbut
this does not entail that the root had an imperfective-like meaning.

ROLAND A. POOTH

20

FIGURE 28. PIE second binyan (grade II, acrostatic)


AGT
SG

1EXCL
1INCL
2ITR
2DIR
2INV
3ITR

stum

3DIR
3INV

PL

DTR
SG

stum(s)
stuu(s)
stu(n)
stut(n)
stus(n)
stur

stua
stuta
stus
stu

stut

stunt

stut

stus

sturs

stus

stu
stut
stus

stua

PL

stum(s)
stuu(s)
stua(n)
stuta(n)
stusa(n)
stur ~
stur
stunt ~
stunt

COL

stum()
stuu()
stua
stuta
stusa
stua
stuta
stusa

Remark: This second binyan is the so-called Narten type. I agree to


Kmmel 1998 who has suggested that this type had a DURATIVE aspectual
meaning. But I do not follow the traditional idea of a lexical derivation of
these forms from underlying aorist stems, because I think that the entire
specific PERFECTIVE category was a post-PIEeven a post-Vulgar Pre-IE (a
post-Indo-Hittite Vulgar Pre-IE) innovation. Instead, I simply think that this
second binyan could be formed from almost any verbal lexical base. Later, the
original sigmatic inverse transitive forms were pleonastically extended. I think
that Watkins 1962 was correct by claiming that they were reanalyzed as new
post-PIE sigmatic stem; cf. Greek 1st sg. aor. ind. act. (PGk. *-kwhensultimately going back to *gwns, *gwns,34 etc.). The corresponding progressive forms of this binyan (e.g. *sti, etc.) merged with the progressive forms
of the first binyan (e.g. *sti, etc.), whence the zero-grade was introduced to
the plural forms (cf. Vedic stuvnti :: stuti, staut).

The following binyans were deponent binyans (and 3rd person intransitive
binyans) and thus lacked 3rd person direct or inverse transitive forms and
agentive-active forms. As the first of the deponent binyans, the PIE third
binyan (or *uid(i) type) is given in the following figure.
FIGURE 29. PIE third binyan (grade III)

1EXCL
1INCL
2ITR
2DIR
2INV
3ITR

34

DTR
SG

uia
uia
uita
uisa
ui

PL

uim(s)
uiu(s)
ui(n)
uit(n)
uis(n)
uir

COL

uim()
uiu()
ui
uit
uis
ui

The LIV, s.v. (with reference) follows Chaintraine by claiming that this form would be a
Neubildung. But PGk. *-kwhens- was not completely neugebildet; there was a preceding
PIE sigmatic 3rd sg. form, but there were no PIE sigmatic 1st sg. person forms.

The Proto-Indo-European aspect system

21

Remark: I suggest that the original aspectual meaning of the third binyan
was STATIVE-HABITUAL, e.g. *uia I know (s.o./sth.). The stative-habitual
forms were used as general present forms in Vulgar Pre-IE (e.g. *w(i) generally gives, gives; is giving). The forms of this third binyan merged with the
agentive-active forms of the second binyan or Narten type yielding the new
semantically more underspecified Vulgar Pre-IE IMPERFECTIVE aspect.
I agree to Jasanoff 2003 who has suggested that the forms originating from
the second binyan (e.g. *qlpt, *qlps *qlp-t, *qlp-st, etc.) were later
predominantly used as imperfect forms, that is, as IMPERFECTIVE forms with
non-present tense reference corresponding to neoactive present imperfective
forms with o-grade (e.g. *ml-ei, *ml-eti, etc.). In principle, the scenario
proposed here is very much in line with the mixed paradigm *h2e-conjugation
theory of Jasanoff 2003. Yet there are some differences.
The merger of the stative-habitual aspect (e.g. *prk always asks, generally asks, *prki is always asking, is generally asking) and the durative aspect (e.g. *prkt, *prks asks duratively, asked for a relatively long period
without finishing, was asking) yielding the Vulgar Pre-IE more underspecified
imperfective aspect can be illustrated as follows:
FIGURE 30.
PIE
stative-habitual
durative
*prk(i)
*prkt :: *prks
always asks
asks/asked for a while/enduringly

Vulgar Pre-IE imperfective


*prke(i) ~ *prkt ~ *prks (t)
This mixed paradigm developed into a present (and non-present) imperfective tense and aspect category from PIE to Vulgar Pre-IE. Crosslinguistically, the suggested aspectual semantic broadening is extremely common.
Thus forms such as, e.g. *uide(i) (with or without *-i) were taken for new
present and non-present imperfective forms.
I finally suggest that in the course of the genesis of this Vulgar Pre-IE
mixed paradigm innovated imperfect forms (e.g. *uids(t)) were formed via
backformation from neoactive present imperfective forms (e.g. *uide(i),
etc.). In this special case, the sigmatic form *uids(t) was not inherited from
PIE, because originally this verb *u_i- see, find, know was a deponent experiencer-stimulus or psych verb and did not display agentive-active forms. I
think, however, that Jasanoffs mixed paradigm was a paradigm that was
arranged so only in the Vulgar Pre-IE dialect or variant cluster but not before.
Thus it cannot be taken for a very stable inflectional pattern and was prone to
undergo immediate paradigmatic levelings, e.g. of the o-grade or the lengthened grade, etc.
In the same period, the original detransitive forms of the second binyan
were predominantly used as Vulgar Pre-IE oppositional middle forms to the
corresponding active and neoactive forms of the mixed paradigm.

ROLAND A. POOTH

22

FIGURE 31.
Vulgar Pre-IE:
3rd sg. present imperfective neoactive *ml-e(i) ~*ml-et(i)
3rd sg. imperfective neoactive
*ml-e(t)
3rd sg. (past) imperfective active
*ml-s(t)
3rd sg. present imperfective middle
3rd sg. imperfective middle

*ml-oi ~ *-otoi ~ *-otor(i)


*ml-o ~ *-oto ~ *-otor

Only later, new active forms like *ml-e(i) ~ *ml-et(i) were created in
analogy to the given middle forms.
Furthermore, I think that detransitive forms of the second binyan also had
a potential, future-prospective and subjunctive-like modal reading besides
the durative aspectual reading (and forms with this reading were used as presubjunctive forms in future-prospective and subjunctive-like function).

The plural and collective-plural forms of the following fourth binyan,


that is, (in my view) the TRANSITIONAL aspect were identical to the ones of
the first binyan.
FIGURE 32. PIE fourth binyan (grade IV, holokinetic)

1EXCL
1INCL
2ITR
2DIR
2INV
3ITR

DTR
SG

ui
ui
uit
uis
ui

PL

uim(s)
uiu(s)
ui(n)
uit(n)
uis(n)
uir
~ uir

COL

uim()
uiu()
ui
uit
uis
ui

NB. A functional difference between the first binyan vs. the fourth binyan
can be based on the following minimal pairs:
(a) *bud s.o. recognizes, recognized, gets, got to know s.o./sth.

*b ud/- > Greek (-/-) recognized, got to know s.o./sth. vs.


*bud(i) awakes, awoke > Vedic bdhi awakes/awoke;
(b) *bi s.o. makes/made sth./s.o. be torn into pieces cf. Vedic (TS) 2nd
sg. aor. mid. bhitths you tear sth. into pieces (factitive-causative) vs. *bi(i)
> Vedic bhdi breaks into pieces (anticausative), etc.
The (non-progressive) detransitive forms of the first binyan had an aoristlike nondurative, that is, semelfactive, terminative or telic aspectual meaning
implying a more or less affected 2nd participant or a goal of movement,
whereas the ones of the fourth binyan simply coded a transition and were otherwise underspecified.
Additional remark: The identity (or homophony) of the plural and collective-plural forms of the fourth binyan and the first binyan later triggered a
Vulgar Pre-IE paradigmatic merger of these two inflectional patterns.
I suggest that the progressive forms of the transitional fourth binyan were
later mainly used as non-present imperfective middle forms, e.g. *budi was

The Proto-Indo-European aspect system

23

awakening, awoke (pleoanstically extended to *budito ~ *buditor),


whereas the (detransitive) ones of the first binyan were used as oppositional
present imperfective middle forms:
FIGURE 33.
Vulgar Pre-IE:
3rd sg. present imperfective middle

*bud-i ~*bud-toi ~ *-tori


*bud-itoi ~ *-itori,
3rd pl. *bud-nti ~*bud-inti ~
*bud-ntoi ~*bud-intoi ~ ...

3rd sg. imperfective middle

*bud-i ~ *bud-ito(r)

3rd sg. non-imperfective35 middle

*bud ~ *bud-(t) ~*bud-to(r),


3rd pl. *bud-nt ~*bud-nto ~
*bud-r ~ *bud-r

In analogy to the present forms (e.g. *bud-i) the zero-grade was introduced to the singular forms (e.g. 3rd sg. *bud-(t), whence 2nd sg. *bud-s >
Proto-Germanic *uz > 2nd sg. pret. ind. act. OE bude, OS budi, OHG buti), 1st
sg. *bud- (cf. 1st sg. aor. ind. mid. -i, e.g. Vedic kri, kr, etc.). Further pleonastic middle and neoactive forms were soon created, e.g. 1st sg. *bud-m
~ *bud- (whence Hittite 1st sg. pret. ind. act. -()un). Finally, a new 3rd
sg. present imperfective *budii ~ *budii ~*buditi (with additional
neoactive ending *-i ~ *-ti) was created by analogical paradigmatic introduction of the segment *-i-/-i- before the ending (e.g. 3rd pl. *budnt(o)i
~*budint(o)i, etc.)
Based on these forms (e.g. 1st sg. *mrsm I forgot, 3rd sg. *mrs(t) ~
*mrsi(t), etc.) the segments *--, *--, *-i- were further reanalyzed as new
stem suffixes (whence the PToch. stem suffix *-a-, PBalt. *-i-). They were even
pleonastically combined to *-i- (*-Hi-). Thus new Vulgar Pre-IE middle voice
stem suffixes *--, *--, *-i-, *-Hi- and *-(H)i/- (with either middle or new
active inflection) were created.
The merger of these two binyans and the subsequent variation given in the
figure above must be the ultimate source of the Hittite daai/tiyanzi class and
the IE yod-present (e.g. the Vedic -ya-presents). The problems with the Hittite
daai/tiyanzi class have recently been summarized by Kloekhorst & Lubotsky
2014: 131 (for their references see there):
The exact reconstruction of the ablaut patterns of these verbs has been a
matter of some controversy. Although it is generally assumed that their
weak stems (ti-, ipi-, etc.) contain the zero-grade of the root + *-i- (*dhh1-i-,
*sph1-i-, etc.), the reconstruction of their strong stems (dai-, ipai-, etc.) was
for a long time, and still is, debated. For instance, Melchert (1984: 73; 1994:
65) and Jasanoff (2003: 102) reconstruct these strong stems as *CC-i(*dhh1-i-, *sph1-i-, etc.), whereas Oettinger (1979: 46) reconstructs them as
*CC-i- (*dhh1-i-, *sph1-i-). But neither reconstruction accounts for a number of verbs belonging to the di/tii anzi-class. For instance, the strong stem
of the verb arai-i/ari- to (a)rise, which must contain the root *h3er- as
found in e.g. Gk. to stir, to rise (cf. LIV2 299), can reflect neither
35

Non-imperfective = aorist-like = pre-aorist.

ROLAND A. POOTH

24

the structure *CC-i- (a stem *h3r-i- should have yielded **ri-, and not
arai- as attested), nor the structure *CC-i- (*h3r-i- should have yielded
**()ri-). Similarly, the strong stem forms of the verb alzai-i/alzi- to call,
to scream, which according to Puhvel (HED 3:63) contains the root *h2letas found in Goth. laon to call, can reflect neither the structure *CC-i(*h2let-i- should have yielded **alezzi-, and not alzai- as attested), nor the
structure *CC-i- (*h2lt-i- should have yielded **alzzi-).
The honorand of this volume (Oettinger 1979: xxviii; 2004: 400) was the
first to argue that arai- and halzai- should reflect *h3roi- and *h2ltoi-,[fn.] respectively, an analysis that was extended by Kloekhorst (2006) to all
di/tii anzi-class verbs. In this view, all strong stems in -ai- should rather be
reconstructed as *CC-i-, i.e. with zero-grade in the root and with o-grade in
the suffix [...].

Therefore, even if Hittite daai puts goes back to a preceding Vulgar Pre-IE
*di (< PIE *di) and thus does not exactly match Vedic dhy i is put
(which goes back to its Vulgar Pre-IE variant *di < *di), the corresponding Vedic 3rd pl. dhynte (< *d(H)intoi), however, looks like a formal
equivalent of Hittite 3rd pl. tiyanzi (< *dinti) and had the same ultimate
source, that is, a new 3rd pl. with *-(H)i - before the ending *-onti ~ *-ontoi
which was analogically introduced from the pleonastic 3rd sg. form *ditoi ~
*di. Note that the specification of Vedic dhynte are (being) put etc. to
passive function is a post-PIE innovation.
As already mentioned in a footnote above, the scenario given here further
offers a very plausible explanation for why the -nt-participle of Hittite araai
does not show any *-i-, cf. araant-, cf. Kloekhorst 2008: 200. Since it is rather
implausible that the PIE participles were not derived from the same underlying lexical base or root as the corresponding finite verb forms, a root
enlargement *-i- is not a very plausible source in cases like Hittite araai,
araant-. The segment *-i-, therefore, must go back to a segment that was part
of the given PIE inflection, that is, an inflectional suffix that was not found in
participlesand former progressive forms coded by *-i that were pleonastically extended are thus a more plausible source.

The singular forms of the following PIE fifth binyan had a bivocalic
underlying vowel melody template *_VV_ (realized as long vowels: 1st sg.
and 2nd sg. *__, but 3rd sg. *__).
The templatic make-up of the corresponding plural and collective-plural
forms should have run in parallel to the one of the Narten type and the
other plurifactive-plurative binyans (i.e., grades II, III, VI). The plural and
collective-plural forms, therefore, presumably had a vowel melody *___,
because, for instance, *supm(s) we (exclusive) were sleeping; were
gradually falling asleep with *___ exactly parallels the 1st person exclusive plural form *stum(s) with *___ of the second binyan.

The Proto-Indo-European aspect system

25

FIGURE 32. PIE fifth binyan (grade V, acrostatic)

1EXCL
1INCL
2ITR
2DIR
2INV
3ITR

DTR
SG

sup
sup
supt
sups
sup

PL

supm(s)
supu(s)
supa(n)
supta(n)
supsa(n)
supr

COL

supm()
supu()
supa
supta
supsa
supa

NB. Proto-Germanic had both *swf(i)ja- (> ON sfa kill, libate) as well as
*swf(i)ja- (*supio/e-) (> ON svfa). These variants (*supio/e- and
*supio/e-) thus strengthen the given reconstruction of the sg. forms.
Note that it is phonologically possible, at least, that the Vedic so-called
passive aorist injunctive forms with irregular Vriddhi grade (e.g. jni is just
being born, tri, ri is breaking, etc.) go back to a 3rd person singular form
with the template *CCi and that some of these are not just analogical.
The Vulgar Pre-IE o-grade of 3rd pl. forms (Vulgar Pre-IE *sup-r(o), PIE
*supr) may be reflected by Toch. A class I preterite active forms, e.g., by
Toch. A pret. I 3rd pl. tarkar, lawar, etc., but 3rd sg. crk dismissed, emitted (B
carka), lyw sent (cf. Kim 2012: 138, pointing to PToch. *ljw, *lwr, a
Transponat would be **luH-h2-, **louH-h2-ro from *l_uH- cut off, release, cf.
LIV, s.v.).
I suggest that the original aspectual meaning of this fifth binyan was
INCHOATIVE-STATIVE. 36 I suggest that the non-progressive (inchoative-stative)
forms of this fifth binyan merged with the forms of the mixed paradigm that
were mainly used as imperfect forms. The e-grade of the singular forms (which
is presupposed by the given PToch. pattern according to Kim 2012) was thus
analogically introduced to this type (from some other type), whereas the ograde of the plural forms is archaic (and not vice versa).
FIGURE 33.
Vulgar Pre-IE:
3rd sg. present imperfective neoactive
3rd sg. imperfective neoactive
3rd sg. present imperfective middle
3rd sg. imperfective middle

*sup-iei ~*sup-ieti
*sup-t, 3rd pl. *sup-r
*sup-itoi ~ *sup-itor(i)
*sup-to ~ *sup-to, 3rd pl. *sup-ro

Forms of the PIE fifth binyan were DETRANSITIVE, that is, so-called protomiddle forms. But later, the given forms were reanalyzed as neoactive
imperfect forms in Vulgar Pre-IE. A pattern with non-sg. o-grade thus matches
the one that has recently been postulated by Kim 2012: 146:
Nothing therefore stands in the way of postulating a subclass of h2econjugation root aorists marked by the alternation sg. *e ~ non-sg. *o, un-

36

Forms belonging to this binyan were underspecified as for the distinction between dynamic process and non-dynamic state.

ROLAND A. POOTH

26

known to paradigms of the mi-conjugation and directly ancestral to at least


some Tocharian Class I preterites.

The so-called h2e-conjugation, therefore, does not go back to one single


PIE paradigm, but was a Vulgar Pre-IE melting pot of forms that once belonged to different PIE detransitive inflectional types/binyans.

The word forms of the following sixth binyan presumably had *__ in
the root vowel slot and *__ elsewhere throughout the entire paradigm
(and thus *__ before /after *--):
FIGURE 34. PIE sixth binyan (grade VI)

1EXCL
1INCL
2ITR
2DIR
2INV
3ITR

DTR
SG

sup
sup
supt
sups
sup

PL

supm(s)
supu(s)
sup(n)
supt(n)
supt(n)
supr

COL

supm ~ supm
supu ~ supu
sup
supt
sups
sup

Remark: The progressive forms of this sixth binyan (e.g. *ni) are reflected as the IE so-called causative-iterative present stem (Vedic janyati,
kyati, etc.). This binyan had a DISTRIBUTIVE-ITERATIVE aspectual meaning,
and it was also used in a specific factitive or causative construction:
(3)

a. distributive-iterative
*nr-s
*kwk_i
man-ERG\SG see:DISTR:DTR:ITR:3SG_PROG
the man is (willingly) looking here & there
b. factitive-causative
*nr-s
*kwk_i
*ptr-m
man-ERG\SG see:DISTR:DTR:ITR:3SG_PROG father-ALL\SG
lit. the man here is making seeing to the father there
() the man is making the father visible/seen (by s.o.)
() the man is making the father see s.o./sth.

Appendix on the IE -stems: I think that most of these generally go back to


the given 2nd or 3rd person collective-pl. form, e.g. PIE *kwrp(H) together
they/you (pl.) turn somewhere. These were pleonastically extended by the
productive neoactive or middle 3rd pl. endings *-ont(i) ~ *-ontoi yielding e.g.
Vulgar Pre-IE *kworp(H)onto(i). The same source should hold true for stems
with any grade of the root and suffix *-a-, *-ta-, *-sa-. The ones with ograde of the root thus competed with the so-called causative-iterative present imperfective forms, e.g. Vulgar Pre-IE *sokwontoi they are making s.o.
follow (cf. Lith. sko says :: inf. sakti < *sokwi(e)-), *kworp(H)ontoi they
are turning here and there (cf. PGerm. *warnan go here and there, wander
(cf. Ringe 2007: 256). However, Proto-Germanic *saj, *saaii rather goes
back to Vulgar Pre-IE *sokwi ~ *sokwiti ~ *sokw(H)inti and belonged to the

The Proto-Indo-European aspect system

27

other Vulgar Pre-IE stems in *-oi- (pointing to PIE *s()kwi (first binyan) :
*skwi (fourth binyan), see above).
Note that a pleonasm PIE *gwni Vulgar Pre-IE 3rd sg. *gwonit is evident in the case of by OCS 2nd/3rd sg. aor. ind. act. goni drove, hunted (1st sg.
gonix, etc.) which seems to go back to a former Vulgar Pre-IE imperfect(ive)
form with a 3rd sg. secondary ending *-t, cf. Stang 1966: 325.
Summarizing the given PIE to Vulgar Pre-IE developments I conclude that
the respective paradigmatic mergers of the PIE first, second, third, fourth,
fifth, and sixth binyan yielded a new Vulgar Pre-IE aspect system which included the following root formations:
A.

or Vulgar Pre-IE root present:


(i) 3rd sg. act. (incl. neoactive) *gwn-ti, *stu-ti, *uide(i) ~ *uidet(i);
3rd sg. mid. *gwn-i ~ *gwn-ti, *stu-oi ~ *stuotoi ~ *stu-toi,
(ii) 3rd sg. (anticausative-passive) middle *budi ~ *buditoi ~
*budi37 ~ *buditoi (3rd pl. *budntoi ~ *budintoi),
(iii) 3rd sg. (inchoative-stative or factitive) middle or neoactive *supi
~*supitoi ~ *supiei ~ *supieti,
(iv) 3rd sg. (factitive or iterative) middle or neoactive *gousi ~
*gousitoi ~ *gousiei ~ *gousieti

B.

non-present IMPERFECTIVE or Vulgar Pre-IE root imperfect(ive) (and


also pre-subjunctive):
(i) 3rd sg. act. (including neoactive) *stu-t ~ *stust (= pre-sigmaticaorist), *uide ~ *uidet; 3rd sg. middle *stu-o ~ *stuoto ~ *stu-to ~
*stuso ~ *stusoto ~ *stusto,
(ii) 3rd sg. (inchoative-stative or factitive) middle or neoactive *sup
~*supto ~ *supt, (1st sg. *sup, neoactive *supm),
(iii) 3rd sg. (factitive or iterative) middle or neoactive *gous ~ *gousto
~ *goust

C.

non-present and non-imperfective or Vulgar Pre-IE pre-root-imperfector-aorist:


C.1. pre-imperfect:
3rd sg. act. *gwn-t, middle *gwn- ~ *gwn-t,

PRESENT IMPERFECTIVE

C.2. pre-root-aorist:
(i) 3rd sg. act. *gwm-t, *dw-t, etc.; 3rd sg. mid. *gwm- ~ *gwm-t,
*dw- ~ *dw-ti, etc.;
(ii) 3rd sg. middle (including an anticausative-passive middle) *uid ~
*uid-to (3rd pl. *uidnt ~ *uidnto); *bud ~ *budto ~ *bud ~
*budto (3rd pl. *budnt ~ *budnto ~ *budr)
The following figure can illustrate the allomorphic formal variants38 of
the Vulgar Pre-IE root imperfect(ive) aspect category (category B) going
back to the PIE second, third, and fourth binyan:

37
38

Maybe this form was rather used as a non-present imperfective form; see above. In either case, it developed to the Vedic so-called passive aorist bdhi.
It is implied that forms of this melting pot paradigm were subject to reciprocal remodellings, e.g. *- + *-m *-m > Hitt. -()un, etc.

ROLAND A. POOTH

28

FIGURE 35. Vulgar Pre-IE non-present imperfective

1
1INCL
2ITR 2
2DIR 2
2INV 2
3ITR 3
3DIR 3
3INV 2/3

NEOACTIVE
SG

PL

*s-m
*ml-a
*sup-

*s-me(s)
*mel-m(s)
*sup-mo(s)

*s
*ml-a
*sup-
*s-t
*ml-ta
*sup-t
*s-s
*ml-sa
*sup-s

*s-e(n)
*mel-(n)
*sup-a(n)
*s-te(n)
*mel-t(n)
*sup-ta(n)
*s-se(n)
*mel-s(n)
*sup-sa(n)
*s-r
*mel-r
*sup-r
*s-nt
*s-rs

*ml-e
*sup
*s-t
*s-s

(COL ) DU

*s-uo()
*mel-u()
*sup-uo()
*s-a(m)
*mel-(m)
*sup-a(m)
*s-ta(m)
*mel-t(m)
*sup-ta(m)
*s-sa(m)
*mel-s(m)
*sup-sa(m)
*s-a(m)
*mel-(m)
*sup-a(m)
*s-ta(m)
*s-sa(m)

Cf. Hittite eesun, eesta, etc. For e-grade besides o-grade of the 3rd pl. cf. Hitt.
eeser (OH) vs. akir (OH). OH eeser is older than MH aaser pace Kloekhorst
2011: 154 who thinks that the MH form is more archaic. Nevertheless, Old
Hittite clearly points to a variation of ablaut grades in the 3rd pl. pret.
The following figure illustrates the paradigm of new Vulgar Pre-IE nonpresent non-imperfective, that is the pre-root-imperfect-and-aorist which
showed less allomorphic variation, because it only reflects the PIE first binyan.
FIGURE 36. Post-PIE non-present non-imperfective
ACTIVE
SG

*gwn-m

1
1INCL
2ITR 2
2DIR 2
2INV 2
3ITR 3
3DIR 3

*g n
*gwn-t
*gwn-s

3INV 2/3

PL

*gwn-m(s)

(COL ) DU

*gwn-t

*g n-(n)
*gwn-t(n)
*gwn-s(n)
*gwn-r
*gwn-nt

*gwn-u()
*gwn-(m)
*gwn-t(m)
*gwn-s(m)
*gwn-(m)
*gwn-t(m)

*gwn-s

*gwn-r

*gwn-s(m)

The figures below illustrate the Vulgar Pre-IE corresponding middle forms
(note that analogical o-grade of the root is also an option):

The Proto-Indo-European aspect system

29

FIGURE 37. Vulgar Pre-IE non-present imperfective middle and pre-subjunctive


MIDDLE
SG

PL

*ml-a ~
*ml-oa 39

*ml-mo(s) ~
*ml-omo(s)

3DIR 3

*ml-a
*ml-ta
*ml-sa
*ml-o ~
*ml-oto
*ml-to

3INV 2/3

*ml-so

*ml-a(n)
*ml-ta(n)
*ml-sa(n)
*ml-or
*ml-ro
*ml-ont ~
*ml-nto ~
*ml-onto
*ml-ro

1
1INCL
2ITR 2
2DIR 2
2INV 2
3ITR 3

(COL ) DU
*ml-uo()
~*ml-ouo()
*ml-a(m)
*ml-ta(m)
*ml-sa(m)
*ml-a(m)
*ml-ta(m)
*ml-sa(m)

FIGURE 38. Vulgar Pre-IE non-present non-imperfective


MIDDLE
SG

1
1INCL
2ITR 2
2DIR 2
2INV 2
3ITR 3
3DIR 3
3INV 2/3

*gwn-a
w

*g n-a
*gwn-ta
*gwn-sa
*gwn-
*gwn-t
*gwn-s

PL

*gwn-m(s)
w

*g n-a(n)
*gwn-ta(n)
*gwn-sa(n)
*gwn-r ~ *gwn-r
*gwn-nt ~ *gwn-nt

(COL ) DU
*gwn-u()
*gwn-(m)
*gwn-t(m)
*gwn-s(m)
*gwn-(m)
*gwn-t(m)
*gwn-s(m)

From post-Proto-Anatolian or post-Indo-Hittite Vulgar Pre-IE to other


(but not necessarily all the other) IE proto-branches, thus mainly to the Inner
IE branch, that is, the one including Proto-Greek and Proto-Indo-Iranian, the
root aorist and a new sigmatic aorist developed from the following Vulgar
Pre-IE forms:
(a) sigmatic non-present IMPERFECTIVE forms, e.g. *gwnst *gwns-t that
were formerly used in a past tense + deliminative aspectual reading he was
slewing him/her/it (and the event was/is finished then) he slew
him/her/it (and it was/is finished);
(b) non-present non-imperfectives that lacked a corresponding root presents, e.g. *gwm-t came hither, went there;
(c) non-present non-imperfectives whose corresponding root presents
were used infrequently or were dropped, e.g. *d-t put, said, did, made, etc.

But let us leave the dialectal post-PIE period and return to the proper
PIE aspect system. Up to now, we have reconstructed 6 PIE radical or basic
39

Endings in bold type were pleonastic and analogical.

ROLAND A. POOTH

30

transfixal aspects (also called root formations): the first, second, third,
fourth, fifth, and sixth binyan.

5 PIE skeletal aspectual derivation


PIE Proper had a combinatory or compositional aspect system. The
aspectual meaning of the respective basic transfixal aspect or grade was
combined with the aspectual meaning of what I term the skeletal aspect
stem which was marked on the consonant frame tier. Combined with the
root morpheme the aspect morphemes made up the skeletal aspect stem. It
was either unmarked (radical), marked by a reduplication template prefix,
marked by a nasal infix, or marked by a suffix. PIE Proper minimally
employed the following skeletal aspect stems.40
FIGURE 39.
radical
Ci-reduplicated
C_-reduplicated

skeletal stem

aspectual meaning

*d_-

(see above)

DISTRIBUTIVE-ITERATIVE

CONTINUOUS

*d i-d _*d _-d _-

C-reduplicated

*d -d _-

EVENT-CONNECTIVE

C-reduplicated/
CR-reduplicated

*d-d_*gwn-gw_n-

INTERNALLY REPETITIVE
INTERNALLY REPETITIVE

CCi-reduplicated/ *di-d_CRi-reduplicated *gwni-gw_n-

DISTRIBUTIVE-REPETITVE
DISTRIBUTIVE-REPETITVE

nasal infix/
nasal suffix

*iu~n_~_*(a)r-n_u-

INCOMPLETIVE
INCOMPLETIVE

-sk-suffix

*r-sk_

SUDDEN-MOMENT-PUNCTUAL

Each skeletal aspect stem conveyed a specific aspectual meaningexcept for the underlying unmarked radical or zero-marked stem
which was more underspecified and polysemeous.
Both the respective grade as well as the respective skeletal aspect stem
were mapped upon the word form template (WFT). The aspectual meaning
of the given skeletal aspect stem was thus combined with the aspectual
meaning of grades I, II, III, IV (and grade V, but not with grade VI?).

6 PIE reduplicated aspect


6.1 The two *Ci-reduplicated aspects
I suggest that forms coded by the reduplication templatic prefix *Ciconveyed a DISTRIBUTIVE-ITERATIVE aspectual meaning. This prefix was fur40

PIE also had skeletal mood stems in *-i_- (OPTATIVE), *-s- (CONATIVE).

The Proto-Indo-European aspect system

31

ther combined with grade I and grade IV, respectively. I am not sure
whether the stative-habitual grade III could be combined with *Ci-, but the
durative grade II should have been incompatible to it.
FIGURE 40.
form
*didt
*did

grade meaning
I
topic puts/does sth. (swh.) here & there/now & then
I
(3rd sg. detransitive intransitive)

*sisup

IVd

s.o. falls asleep here & there/now & then;


s.o. makes s.o. fall asleep here & there/now & then

NB. Note that Vedic shows an archaic reduplicated athematic aorist sivap
(RV 6.26.6, betubst according to Hoffmann 1967 or make fall asleep)
which I think goes back to Vulgar Pre-IE *sisuops, *sisuopt (which is a prior 3rd
sg. detransitive *sisup extended by *-s, *-t).

These two *Ci-reduplicated binyans were derived from the first and the
fourth binyan, respectively. It is superfluous to give their paradigms. Their
forms can easily be formed by prefixation of the reduplication templatic
prefix *Ci- to the respective forms given above.
I think that it is safe claiming that the grades II and V were incompatible to this type of reduplication, because the distributive-iterative meaning
implies many breaks of duration of the event and this was not implied in
the specifically interminative durative meaning of these two grades.
In principle, habitual meaning (e.g. he used to sleep all day and spend all
nights hanging around in bars) also implies many breaks of the duration inbetween the several habitually iterated events (e.g. sleep, spend). Thus a
*Ci-reduplicated type with grade III was perhaps not needed, because a
habitual distributive aspectual meaning was implied in the stative-habitual
meaning of the third binyan.
NB. I suggest that the progressive forms of the *mimni type were broadened to such a new habitual reading from PIE to Vulgar Pre-IE. Subsequently,
they merged with the new root (general) imperfective, that is, the Vulgar
Pre-IE *mle(i) type and thus received the neoactive imperfective inflection
(e.g. *mimn-e(i) ~ *mimn-et(i) (with accent on the reduplication prefix or
on the ending)).
Additionally, part of the detransitive intransitive forms, e.g. *mimn were
pleonastically extended by the Vulgar Pre-IE productive middle endings *-to(i)
~ *tor(i). Only later, these were remodelled to thematic stems, e.g. *mimn/(whence Gk. ). Likewise, the forms with grade IV were pleonastically
extended by active endings (*-t, *-e(t), etc.), e.g. *sisup 3rd sg. neoactive
*sisupt(i).
Functionally, the distributive-iterative sixth binyan *sup(i) and these two
reduplicated binyans were partically overlapping. For this reason, forms going
back to these two reduplicated binyans were later used as oppositional aorist
stems to the productive Vulgar Pre-IE present imperfectives of the *suopitoi
~*suopieti type (see below). Originally, however, the agentive-active forms of

ROLAND A. POOTH

32

the *Ci-reduplicated types were not used in the PIE antipassive constructions
(cf. Pooth manuscript a).

6.2 The PIE *C-reduplicated aspect


I suggest that a PIE acrostatic CONTINUOUS aspect was coded by the
reduplication template *CV3- combined with grade II (*___ and *___). It
always had the word form accent on the first vowel of the vowel melody,
that is, the one in the reduplication vowel slot (which had to be no other
vowel than *__). I assume that there were two types of singular detransitive forms. Continuous aspect forms which were derived from an underlying grade IV form (e.g. *n(i)) had the * in the root vowel slot, whereas
forms which were derived from underlying grade I forms (e.g. *d(i))
showed a parallel position of * outside the root vowel slot. This reduplication templatic prefix perhaps also occurred sponaneously combined with
grade V, e.g. *ssup s.o. continues being duratively falling into sleep, but
I am not sure.
FIGURE 41.
form
*ddt
*dd

grade meaning
II
topic kept on/was still putting/doing sth. (swh.)
II
s.o. kept on/was still putting/doing sth. (swh.)

*n
*ssup(?)

II
II/Vd

s.o. was still coming into being

Remark: The PIE 3rd sg. agentive form *ddt is directly reflected as Vedic
3rd sg. imperfect inj. act. ddht. The corresponding detransitive intransitive
form *w was remodelled to a thematic stem *ddwo/e- (> Vedic ddate
grab, receive, obtain, get). Part of the Vulgar Pre-IE non-present imperfective
forms, that is, the ones without *-i were further narrowed to thematic aorist
stem (in my view, this was done parallely in the more divergent dialect cluster
in a period slightly before Proto-Greek and Proto-Indo-Iranian), e.g. *gwgwn
*gwgwno/e- > Greek (-)/-, but YAv. 3rd pl. present ind. mid.
jante, 3rd sg. imperfect or aorist (?) act. -janat. Furthermore, this binyan
(partially) developed into Vedic reduplicated (perfect) subjunctives, e.g.
*uurt Vedic 3rd sg. perf. subj. act. vavrtat.
In my view, the non-progressive forms were first mainly narrowed to plain
non-present imperfective function (is/was still doing sth. is/was (generally) doing sth.) and this underspecification included the following readings:
() general-habitual imperfective, () past imperfective, () futureprospective or pre-subjunctive imperfective.
From PIE to Vulgar Pre-IE, this binyan partially merged with the two *Cireduplicated binyans, whence the o-grade was introduced to the active forms
in analogy to the neoactive ones (e.g. *sisup Vulgar Pre-IE *sisupt(i), etc.);
cf. Vulgar Pre-IE *ddos(i) > OS dedos, etc.

I think that the grades I, III, IV and the distributive-iterative grade VI


were incompatible to this type of reduplication, because this reduplication

The Proto-Indo-European aspect system

33

template *CV3- indicated a continued duration (still be doing sth., still undergoing a change of state, ...).

6.3 The five *C-reduplicated aspects


I have decided to coin the term event-connective to refer to an event that
in itself consists of two separated but connected internal parts, the second
one following the first part. This term implies the concept of a first internal
part of an event connected to a following internal part of the event as its
following consequence (or result). This term is used as a superordinate
aspect term for the following PIE forms showing a combination of Creduplication and transfixal aspect (grades I, II, IIId, IVd, Vd) marking:
FIGURE 42.
form
*d-dt
*d-d
*d-d
*d-d
*d-d
*d-d

grade
I
I
II
IIId
IVd
Vd

meaning
topic has put/done it & it has been completed
s.o. has put/done sth. & it has been completed
s.o. has put/done sth. & is thus able to do it
s.o. has put/done sth. & it has not been completed
s.o. has put/done sth. & does it once again
sth. happened to be done for a while & is now done

The five combinations more detailed:


1. *C- + grade I yielded the COMPLETIVE-DELIMINATIVE-RESULTATIVE aspect, e.g. PIE *ddt topical referent has started to put sth. there and has
put it there completely; PIE *gwgwni s.o. is slewing s.o. completely; s.o.
is slewn completely; s.o. has been slewn completely. Here the first internal
part of the event is its beginning, the second part is its finishing.
Remark: The agentive-active form are still reflected as Vedic athematic aorists, e.g. pupot, pupot* < *ppu(H)t, etc. The progressive detransitive forms
developped to the Greek and Vedic perfect middle forms (see below).

2. *C- + grade II yielded the deponential ANTERIOR-POTENTIAL aspect


and mood category, e.g. PIE *dd s.o. has (always) put sth. there and
is thus able to put it there and s.o. (generally puts sth. there and thus)
will put/have put sth. there. Here the first internal part of the event is the
past event, the second part is the resulting present ability or possibility as
its consequence.
NB. Forms of this type were remodelled to IE thematic stems and further
developped to Vedic perfect subjunctive stems with gua grade of the root.

3. *C- + grade III yielded the deponential ANTERIOR (PRE-PERFECT)


aspect, e.g. PIE *dd s.o. has put it there and it is still there (nothing
has changed yet). An anterior event is generally defined as an event that
occurred or started in the past, but has a major present relevance.

ROLAND A. POOTH

34

Remark: From PIE to Vulgar Pre-IE, forms of this anterior binyan (e.g.
*dd(i) s.o. has (started to) put it there and it is still relevant for the present situation) merged with the former progressive forms of the completiveresultative binyan (e.g. *ddti topical referent (has started to put it there
and) is ongoingly putting it there until it is completed) and part of the ones of
the continuous binyan (e.g. *ddti topical referent is still putting is there, is
keeping on putting it there) and developped into the Proto-Greek and ProtoIndo-Iranian reduplicated perfect stem; see the figure below:
FIGURE 43. Vulgar Pre-IE pre-perfect imperfective
NEOACTIVE
SG

1INCL

*ded-a
*ded-ai
*ded-mi
*dde-mi

2ITR 2

2DIR 2

2INV 2
3ITR 3

*ded-ta
*ded-tai
*ded-si
*dde-si
*ded-e
*ded-ei

3DIR 3

*ded-ti
*dde-ti

3INV 2/3

*ded-si
*dde-si

PL

*dede-m(s)
*dede-msi
*ded-msi
*dd-mesi

*dede-(n)
*dede-ni
*ded-ni
*dd-eni
*dede-t(n)
*dede-tni
*ded-tni
*dd-teni
*dede-r(i)
*ded-ri
*dd-ri
*ded- 41
*ded-nti
*dd-nti
*ded-nti
*ded-r
*dd-rs
*ded-s

(COL ) DU

*dede-u()
*dede-usi
*ded-usi
*dd-uosi
*dede-(m)
*ded-(m)
*dd-a(m)
*dede-t(m)
*ded-t(m)
*dd-ta(m)
*dede-(m)
*ded-(m)
*dd-a(m)
*ded-t(m)
*dd-ta(m)
*ded-s(m)
*dd-sa(m)

Remark: Part of these forms were later simply included in the Vulgar Pre-IE
plain imperfective category (e.g. Vulgar Pre-IE *kwekwkrs > Vedic 3rd pl. present ind. act. cakur they see, etc.).
The following PIE progressive detransitive forms of the completiveresultative binyan were later taken to supply the new pre-perfect mixed
paradigm with new oppositional middle forms:
41

Endings in bold type were analogical to the ones of the unreduplicated type.

The Proto-Indo-European aspect system

35

FIGURE 44. Vulgar Pre-IE pre-perfect middle


MIDDLE
SG

*ded-i

1
1INCL
2ITR 2
2DIR 2
2INV 2
3ITR 3

*ded-ti
*ded-sai
*ded-i

3DIR 3

*ded-ti

3INV 2/3

*ded-si

PL

*ded-msi

*d ed -ni
*ded-tni
*ded-sni
*ded-ri ~
*ded-ri
*ded-nti ~
*ded-nti

(COL ) DU
*ded-usi
*ded-(m)
*ded-t(m)
*ded-s(m)
*ded-(m)
*ded-t(m)
*ded-s(m)

Only later, the corresponding non-progressive forms of the completiveresultative binyan (e.g. *dd s.o. put(s) s.o./sth. there completely) merged
with part of the the distributive-iterative transitional (grade IV) binyan (e.g.
*in s.o. came into being here & there) and made up a new Vulgar Pre-IE
reduplicated pre-aorist mixed paradigm:
FIGURE 45. Post-PIE reduplicated pre-aorist middle
MIDDLE
SG

1
1INCL

*ded-
*gign-

2ITR 2
2DIR 2
2INV 2
3ITR 3

*ded-t
*gign-t
*ded-sa
*gign-s
*ded-
*gign

3DIR 3

*ded-t

3INV 2/3

*ded-s

PL

*ded-m(s)
*gign-m(s)

*ded-(n)
*gign-(n)
*ded-t(n)
*gign-t(n)
*ded-s(n)
*gign-s(n)
*ded-r ~
*ded-r
*gign-r ~
*gign-r
*ded-nt ~
*ded-nt
~ *gign-nto

(COL ) DU
*ded-u()
*gign-u()
*ded-(m)
*gign-(m)
*ded-t(m)
*gign-t(m)
*ded-s(m)
*gign-s(m)
*ded-(m)
*gign-(m)
*ded-t(m)
*ded-s(m)

These were later resegmented to thematic stems and ultimately yielded the
Proto-Greek and Proto-Indo-Iranian reduplicated thematic aorist stems.

4. *C- + grade IV yielded the deponential SEMELREPETITIVE or REaspect, e.g. PIE *dd s.o. has put sth. there and puts or

TRANSITIONAL

ROLAND A. POOTH

36

has put it once again; *uurti s.o. is returning. Here the second part of
the event is a single total repetition or re-transition of the past event or
transition, cf. English to return.42
Remark: This binyan is still reflected as Vedic -vavarti returned (RV
2.38.6a) < PIE *uurti is returning, turning around again. The respective 3rd
sg. non-progressive form is reconstructed by substracting *-i from the 3rd sg.
progressive form.

5. *C- + grade Vd yielded the deponential ANTERIOR-RESULTATIVE aspect, e.g. PIE *dd sth. happened to be done for a while & is now
done. Here the second part of the event is a result of a preceding prior
inchoative process.
Cf. also PIE *ssud has gotten accustomed more and more and is now accustomed which is reflected by Greek is accustomed < Vulgar Pre-IE
*sesud ~*sesude , etc.

The five *C-reduplicated binyans were derived from the first, second,
third, fourth, and fifth binyan, respectively. It is thus superfluous to give
their entire paradigms. Their forms can easily be formed by prefixation of
the reduplication templatic prefix *C- to the respective forms given as the
first four binyans above. But note that, as an exception, the anteriorpotential binyan (or *dd type, grade II) lacked agentive-active forms.

6.4 The *C- ~ *CR- (~ *CC-) reduplicated aspects


The two so-called intensive reduplication templatic prefixes *C- ~
*CR-43 were allomorphic variants, the choice of which was triggered by
the structure of the root. With roots of the shape *C_R(C)-, e.g. *gwVn- the
latter had to be used. The first was used in the other cases. Some roots of
the type *C_P-, *C_F- (with P = any plosive, F = any fricative or sibilant,
e.g. *Vs-) maybe optionally showed full reduplication instead of *C-. As
indicated by the given Vedic outcomes (cf. Schaefer 1994), this type of
reduplication coded an internally multiplied event. I suggest that it was
structured like the *C-reduplicated aspect:
FIGURE 46 (t.b.c.).

42

43

form

underlying
grade (form)

meaning

*d-dt
*d-d

I (*dt)
I (*d)

topic put(s) and put(s) and put(s) ...


s.o. put(s) and put(s) and ... ...

A typological parallel is provided by Koyukon (Athabascan, Alaska, USA) where this


meaning is marked by middle voice (i.e. the so-called d-effect), cf. Thompson 1996:
364 with example ekonh it is raining vs. noelkonh it is raining again. This strengthens
my proposal that this reading was marked by detransitive voice in PIE.
*R = m, n, r, l, u, i.

The Proto-Indo-European aspect system

37

FIGURE 46 (continued).
form

underlying
grade (form)

meaning

*s-s
*n-n
*s-sup(?)
*s-sup(?)

IIId (*s)
IVd (*n)
Vd
VId

s.o. has sat down and sits-sits-sits


s.o. came and came and came into being

There maybe were variants that showed the accent pattern of the underlying non-reduplicated forms, cf. Hittite 3rd sg. pres. ind. act. (i-) asaasi
settles there < PIE *s-s(i) (grade III) s.o. sits down there and sitssits-sits there, 3rd pl. *s-sr. The reduplication prefix also perhaps
lacked a vowel in these cases, e.g. *s-s(i).
NB. Note that it is possible that the irregular PGerm. 3rd pl. *un (< Vulgar Pre-IE *dednt PIE *ddnt) goes back to this binyan.
Remark: The corresponding 3rd person singular detransitive intransitive
forms of the progressive aspect which were marked by the suffix *-i in the
final morpheme slot (F) were pleonastically extended by the productive, specifically present imperfective middle endings *-toi ~ *-tori, etc. or by the
productive active (including the neoactive) ones (*-ti ~ *-ei ~ *-eti, etc.).
The 3rd person pl. forms *trtri onti ~ *trtri ontoi were then created via
paradigmatic levelling of *-i- in Vulgar Pre-IE. This development is illustrated
by the following figure:44
FIGURE 47.
PIE

Vulgar Pre-IE

Vedic outcomes

*tr-tr
*tr-tr-i

*trtor-t(i)
trtart*
*trtoriti ~
tartarti
*trtoritoi
tartryte*
*trtriontoi > tartryante

NB. The fact that Vedic tartarti and tartryante paradigmatically belong together (cf. Schaefer 1994) is very clear Vedic internal evidence. It ultimately
confirms that the origin of the Vedic -y-te stems was a Vulgar Pre-IE paradigm
with o-grade in the singular forms and endings going back to the PIE progressive aspect. It completely parallels the origin of the IE yod-presents (Vedic
bdhya-, etc.) from the fourth binyan (*budi type). The remodelling of the
fourth binyan can thus be confirmed by this parallelism (see above).

44

This scenario offers a plausible explanation for why the Vedic tartry-te type (a) is middle tantum and (b) still belongs to the paradigm of the corresponding athematic intensive
type (3rd sg. pres. tartarti). It also motivates the constant linking vowel -- of the latter
which seems to ultimatley go back to both, the root auslauting *H and the former progressive marker *-i-.

ROLAND A. POOTH

38

6.5 The *CPi- ~ *CRi-reduplicated aspects


Again, these two reduplication templatic prefixes *CPi- ~ *CRi- were
allomorphic variants, the choice of which was triggered by the structure of
the root. Note that *C_Pi- is used to symbolize that the two reduplicated
radical consonants were not identical. Roots with two plosives *C_P-, e.g.
*dV- thus showed complete reduplication of the root.
I suggest that this type of reduplication coded an externally multiplied
event:
FIGURE 48.
form

underlying
grade (form)

meaning

*di-dt
*di-d

I (*dt)
I (*d)

topic put(s) here and there and over there


s.o. put(s) and put(s) and ... ...

*ni-n
...

IV (*n)

s.o. came into being here and there and ...

There could have been variants showing the accent pattern of the underlying non-reduplicated forms. (This was just to mention these binyans. I
will return to these PIE intensives elsewhere.)

Two more aspects

1. Another aspect category was expressed by means of a nasal infix


(*~n~) or its continuous suffixal counterpart (*-nV4u-) which were allomorphic variants. Their respective use was triggered by the structure of the
root. Biradical roots of the shape *C_R- took the suffix, whereas triradical
roots of the shape *C_RC- took the infix. I assume that this aspect was an
INCOMPLETIVE-INTERMINATIVE or a more generally IMPERFECTIVE aspect.
In principle, these nasal markers were derived from grade I forms and
thus were combined with grade I. But infixed 2nd person singular and plural imperative forms could optionally be combined with grade II, e.g.
*iunt(n) > Vedic yunkta (you (pl.) should) yoke it!:
FIGURE 49.
form

underlying
grade (form)

meaning

*iun-t
*iun
*iun(n)
*iunt(n)

I (*iut)
I (*iu)
II
II

topic is/was (still) yoking


s.o. yokes/yoked

* r-nu-t
*wr-nu_

I (* rt)
I (*wr)

(you (pl.)) be yoking it!


topic is/was raising nontopical referent
s.o. is/was (still) rising/raising sth.

The Proto-Indo-European aspect system

39

The paradigm of the nasal infix binyan, e.g. from the root *klVu- hear,
be heard is given in the following figure:
FIGURE 50. PIE infix binyan (grade I, 2nd pl. agt. with optional grade II)

1EXCL
1INCL
2ITR

AGT
SG

klnum

2DIR

klnu ~
kln
klnut

2INV

klnus

3ITR

PL

klnum(s)
klnuu(s)
klnu(n) ~
klnu(n)
klnut(n) ~
klnut(n)
klnus(n) ~
klnus(n)
klnur

DTR
SG

klnu

PL

COL

klnu

klnum(s)
klnuu(s)
klnu(n)

klnum()
klnuu()
klnu

klnut

klnut(n)

klnut

klnus

klnus(n)

klnus

klnu

klnur ~
klnur
klnunt ~
klnunt

klnu

3DIR

klnut

klnunt

klnut

3INV

klnus

klnurs

klnus

klnut
klnus

2. In my view, the PIE aspect indicated by the *-sk- suffix was deponential and thus lacked agentive-active forms. I tentatively assume a
MOMENTATIVE-SEMELFACTIVE-PUNCTUAL meaning including an UNEXPECTED or
ACCIDENTAL reading. The corresponding progressive forms had an iterative
interactional reading. This reading was not necessarily unexpected or accidental; e.g. PIE *sski was there one moment and another moment, repeatedly (moment for moment).
NB. Positing such a polysemy can solve the problem that the corresponding
IE presents are either inchoative-anticausative or iterative.
FIGURE 51.
form

underlying
grade (form)

meaning

*r-sk_
*r-sk__i

I (*r)
I (*r)

s.o. hit s.o./sth. suddenly/unexpectedly


s.o. was hitting s.o. (moment for moment)

Thus, e.g., also PIE *nsk suddenly came into being or was brought
into being suddenly, whence the inchoative-anticausative function of later
IE *-sko/e-, cf. Latin nscor was born.
This binyan was structured in parallel to the one of the detransitive
forms of the first binyan (see above) with the sole exception that it lacked
3rd person direct and inverse transitive forms, because it had to be used in
the PIE antipassive constructionlike all the deponent and 3rd person intransitive binyans, e.g., the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth binyan (cf. Pooth
manuscript a, passim).

ROLAND A. POOTH

40

Concluding remarks

It can be concluded that PIE Proper, a bit surprisingly, made very little use of suffixation to overtly mark distinctions within its verbal aspect
systemthere was much less aspectual suffixation than in the Vulgar PreIE variant cluster and in the later IE languages (which show legion of
specified verbal derivational or derivational-like TAM suffixes).
As already mentioned above, the subsequent resegmentation of the given
first part of the respective pleonastic ending to stem-final suffixes is now
datable to the very end of the Vulgar Pre-IE dialect or variant cluster, that is,
to a period shortly before or by the time Proto-Anatolian got separated from
the rest of the dialect cluster. I conclude that all post-PIE vocalic stem suffixes
and the sigmatic *-s- originated from a PIE to Vulgar Pre-IE morphological
resegmentation (it was ultimately motivated by the great morphotactic fusion
which yielded plenty of new endings including pleonastic endings undergoing abundant paradigmatic levelings):
(a) The origin of the Vulgar Pre-IE 3rd sg. present imperfective middle
forms in *-oitoi, *-itoi, *-ietoi, *-eitoi, 3rd pl. *-iontoi (including variants
with preceding *-H-) and 3rd sg. pres. imperfective neoactive forms in
*-iei, *-ieti, *-eieti, 3rd pl. *-ionti have already been given in detail
above. As also mentioned above, a second, but minor source of IE yodpresent stems were derivational root enlargements in *-i-, e.g. *__i- separate, detach, devide, distribute, share from underlying *_id. (cf. LIV, s.v. deh2(i)-).
(b) I suggest that the three suffixes *-a- (> *--), *-ta- (> *-t-), *-sa(> *-s-) share a common origin. They go back to pleonastic 3rd person
collective-plural middle forms in *-aonto, *-taonto, *-saonto, 3rd pl.
neoactive forms in *-aont, *-taont, *-saont. In my view, these suffixes thus also originated from forms belonging to the many PIE binyans given above. A second source of stems in *-a- (> *--) were
derivational root enlargements in *--, e.g. *_m-_-_ build, tame,
domesticate45 from underlying *_m- id. (cf. LIV, s.v. dem(h 2 )-).
(c) In my view, the ending *-er ultimately originated from PIE 3rd pl. inverse-transitive forms, e.g. *gwnrs which merged with the other 3rd pl.
forms to Vulgar Pre-IE. These 3rd pl. forms in *-er, e.g. *uid-r were
thus allomorphic variants of the 3rd pl. forms *uid-r ~ *uid-rs ~ *ueid-r
~ *ueid-rs ~ *ueid-r (of the former third binyan) and also belonged to
the 3rd sg. imperfective mixed paradigm of the *uide(i) ~ *uidet(i)
type. This type was labile and thus had both a factitive-causative reading and an anticausative-stative reading:
(4)

45

a. *n(r)
*gwr-e(t)
man:NOM:PL warm-3SG.IPFV.IND
the man was warm/got warm; made s.o./sth. warm

The LIV, p. 114-117 distinguishes two roots build from domesticate, but there obviously was one single polysemeous root *_m-_-_ make something like a house: built
and make s.o./sth. be house-ish: tame, domesticate.

The Proto-Indo-European aspect system

41

b. *nres
*gwrr ( *gwr-r)
man:NOM:PL warm-3PL.IPFV.IND
the men were warm/got warm; made s.o./sth. warm
The inner-Vulgar-Pre-IE resegmentation of this 3rd pl. form (e.g. *gwrr
*gwr-r) then triggered the genesis of new 3rd sg. endings *-et(i), pl.
*-ent(i), *-eront(i) with labile meaning. In addition, proper middle
endings *-ero(i) ~ *-ento(i) were created, but due to the labile meaning of this inflection, middle forms were not necessarily needed. Therefore, in my view, both the Latin present uidre, uidet and its perfect uid
have seen ultimately go back to a prior common paradigm *uidet (>
udit), *uidr(i) ( *uidti ~ *uidieti, etc.). This scenario offers an
easy and plausible explanation for why the IE suffix *-e- is so intimately intertwined with the post-PIE perfect stem. Within the given
scenario the reason is simple: The 3rd pl. ending *-er was also found in
the paradigm of the pre-perfect mixed paradigm (cf. Latin 3rd pl.
perf. ind. act. -runt, etc.).
A second source of stems with *-e- were probably comitativeintrumental case forms in predicative used, e.g. PIE *rud with red,
redness Vulgar Pre-IE *rudt(i) ~ *rudet(i) ~ *rudieti is
getting red, is red (cf. Jasanoff 2003: 156f. with references). Note that
I am not a follower of the essive-fientive theory, because I think that
the very late Vulgar Pre-IE stems in *-Hio/e- (e.g. *gni/- > Vedic
jy a-te) were not originally derived from the ones in *-e- (in my view,
the reconstruction of a single suffix *-eh1- is a mistake).
/e(c) Vulgar Pre-IE also had pleonastic stem suffixes *-es- and *-esko
from *-e- plus *-s- and *-sk-, respectively. There were many more.
(d) For the respective origins of post-PIE thematic stem suffix *-o- ~ *-eand the sigmatic stem suffix *-s- see above. Note that the latter was resegmented and specified to a perfective suffix not before ProtoAnatolian already had left the stock. A second, but minor source of IE
sigmatic stems were derivational root enlargements in *-s-, e.g. PIE
*kl_u-s- listen to, hear from from underlying *kl_u- hear (cf. LIV, s.v.
kleu(s)-).

Therefore, the view that the PIE protolanguage already had legion of
suffixes with specific derivational meanings seems to be very problematic
and should be fundamentally revised.
It has turned out that PIE predominantly made use of the strategy of
transfixation and reduplication to code aspectual distinctions. There was a
minimum of three aspect categories coded by aspect suffixes (PROG *-i, IPFV
*-nVu-, and PUNC *-sk-). All the other aspect categories were coded templatically, that is, by means of internal inflection (transfixation) on the
vowel melody tier and word form template tier and by means of the more
derivational reduplication templatic prefixation.
Final count: We have hereby reconstructed the following specific aspect
categories:
6 basic transfixal aspects + (minimally) 2 distributive *Ci-reduplicated
aspects + the acrostatic *C-reduplicated aspect including 2 subtypes +

ROLAND A. POOTH

42

(minimally) 5 *C-reduplicated aspects + 2 different intensive aspects,


each one with grade I vs. IV subtypes and the one with an additional grade
III subtype (= 5) + 2 further aspects which were coded by infixation and
suffixation.
We should not forget the progressive (*-i) vs. nonprogressive (unmarked) aspect distinction. The nonprogressive aspect, however, cannot
seriously be counted as a specific aspect category.
Thus all in all, PIE had a minimum of 6 + 2 + 2 + 5 + 5 + 2 = 22
specific aspect categories plus 1 progressive aspect.46
The following figure now finally provides an overview of the PIE binyans which have been reconstructed by internal reconstruction so far. The
following binyans were derived by means of root and pattern morphology
from the lexical base or root *dV- put, do, say. To save space, I only give
translations with the English past tense of to do. But note that the given
forms were generally tense-neutral and could also be used with present
tense reference. They also had a lexical meaning equivalent to English to
put, to say. To save space, I use he for topical referent, but of course
she or it (depending on the gender of the PIE topical referent) is also
possible. PIE minimally had the following aspect binyans:47
FIGURE 51 (t.b.c.).

46

47

binyan

3SG.AGT.DIR/
3SG.DTR.ITR

translation

1st
2st
3rd
4th
5th
6th

*dt
*dt
*d
*d
*d
*d

he did it
he did it for a while
he always does it, he used to do it
sth. happened to be done (by s.o.)
sth. happened to be done for a while (by s.o.)
s.o. did sth. here & there/now & then

7th
8th

*di-dt
*di-d

he did it here & there/now & then


sth. happened to be done here & there (by s.o.)

9th
10th

*d-dt
*d-d

he still did it, kept on doing it


sth. was still being done (by s.o.)

11th
11th

*d-dt/
he did it until it was finished
*d-d
sth. happened to be done (by s.o.) & was then done

12th
13th
14th
15th

*d-d
*d-d
*d-d
*d-d

s.o. did sth. and can/will/shall/should do it


s.o. has (just) done sth., has already done sth.
s.o. did it and did it again or un-did it
sth. had happened to be done for a while before
and was then done

Typological comparanda are the Apachean languages, e.g. Navajo. They show an elaborate aspect system including many overtly distinguished and semantically specific aspect
categories (termed modes and aspects, cf. Young & Morgan 1987, 1992).
PIE also had some corresponding modal binyans. These modal binyans were derived
from the skeletal mood stems in *-i_- (OPTATIVE) and *-s- (CONATIVE). But they will be
dealt with elsewhere.

The Proto-Indo-European aspect system

43

FIGURE 51 (continued).
binyan

3SG.AGT.DIR/
3SG.DTR.ITR

translation

16th
17th
18th
(18th

*d-dt
*d-d
*d-d
*s-s

s.o. did-did-did it
sth. happened to be done-done-done (by s.o.)
s.o. had done sth. and did-did-did it
s.o. sat down and sat-sat-sat)

19th
20th

*di-dt
*di-d

he did it here, here & there


s.o. happened to be done here, here & there

21th
22th

*dnt ~*dnut he was doing it


*dsk
sth. happened to be done suddenly (by s.o.)

Glosses
I follow the Leipzig Glossing Rules. AGT = agentive-active voice; DTR = detransitive voice (cf. Pooth manuscript a); DISTR = distributive-iterative aspect, etc. But
note that I use the underline _ to mark a morpheme boundary between the skeletal
consonant frame and the transfix or vowel melody (e.g. PIE *gw__n-t-i).

Representation of reconstructed word forms


Reconstructed PIE Proper word forms are coloured blue here and marked by
the conventional preceding asterisk (e.g. PIE *supi). Dialectal Vulgar Pre-IE word
forms, however, are not coloured blue (e.g. *supieti)
Note that I particularly make use the I.P.A. symbols < w> instead of the
traditional symbols <h1 h2 h3>, because I think that such an algebraic symbolization of phonemes and their respective phonetic realization is unneccesary and has
no linguistic advantages at all. It only makes this language look like freaky mathematics to linguists of other fields who are not used to this notation. It has been
argued that the traditional symbolization would have the advantage of leaving
these phonemes underspecified and that a symbolization with < w> may
specify more phonetic details than we can conretely know, but this holds true for
any I.P.A. symbol that is used to represent PIE phonemes (e.g. <gw>, <> and
all traditional symbols <e o t d dh>, etc.), because the phonetic realization of PIE
phonemes and word forms can only be represented more exactly by listening to a
native speaker of Proto-Indo-European. Furthermore, the argument that the traditional symbols would be underspecified is not entirely correct, because <h> is
a concrete and specified linguistic symbol and minimally two of these phonemes
were definitely not realized as I.P.A [h]. One may thus even arguebut this is, of
course, be a bit too pedanticthat the traditional symbols are simply linguistically
inadequate in minimally two cases. Finally, to be honest, I personally dislike number symbols <1 2 3>, etc. in linguistic representations, because they are primarily nonlinguistic symbols that were developed to represent abstract numbers, not
concrete sounds of human language. (I also prefer using accent symbols instead of
numbers to symbolize tones, but in these cases numbers seem a bit more adequate). So whatever was the actual PIE phonetic situation, I think that the I.P.A.
symbols < w> used here come very close to their actual PIE phonetic realizations. I will return to this matter more detailed elsewhere.
The PIE bare vowel phoneme *// is written <>, but <a> before and after , w. The other vowel phonemes are <a> (sic!) and <>. The traditional

ROLAND A. POOTH

44

symbols <e o> are used in Vulgar Pre-IE word forms. But vowel length is generally indicated by the two dots <> (I.P.A.). The traditional symbols for i, u, m, n,
r, l, and s remain unchanged (<i u m n r l s>). The redundant diacritics are ommited in PIE forms (but not in Vulgar Pre-IE forms).
The PIE stops <p b t d k g kw w gw q > are represented here the
way suggested by Kmmel 2012. But the Vulgar Pre-IE velars are represented with
the traditional diacritic < >, i.e. <k g g> to avoid a misunderstanding.
A note on all the colours used here: For languages that exhibit discontinuous
morphemes and transfixes colours can be very useful, because they help to distinguish the respective transfix from the skeletal consonant frame and they help to
recognize the discontinuity of the given morpheme (e.g. *stumsi or *stumsi).

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Further references (to my manuscripts)


The following manuscrips (.pdf) are downloadable from my profile at
www.academia.edu. They have been published as provisional grey literature and work in
progress, and they will undergo further revisions. The respective date of revision is indicated on top of the front page before the title. If you have no account at
www.academia.edu, I can send these manuscripts (.pdf) to you by e-mail.
Pooth, R.A. manuscript a: Voice, Transitivity Direction, Case, and Alignment in Proto-IndoEuropean. II. The Proto-Indo-European Voice System.
manuscript b: Ein Problem der Methode der komparativen Rekonstruktion von Morphemen, Morphemgrenzen und morphosyntaktischen Kategorien.
manuscript c: Die komplexe Morphologie der urindogermanischen Personalpronomina.
manuscript d: Voice, Transitivity Direction, Case, and Alignment in Proto-IndoEuropean. IV. The Proto-Indo-European Case System.
manuscript e: Voice, Transitivity Direction, Case, and Alignment in Proto-IndoEuropean. III. Transitivity Direction in Proto-Indo-European.

Dr. R. A. Pooth
Merheimer Strae 117
50733 Kln (Nippes)
roland.pooth@gmx.de