Ksunegrapse is a compound verb. It has a prefix, ksun, and Thucydides typically uses ksi instead of sigma for prepositions and prefixes; so this is actually sun- “with, together”.
The root of the verb is grafo. To understand how Thucydides got graps out of graf, go to White’s grammar, his page 2, section 7, on “mutes”. There are consonants which, under some conditions, transmute into other consonants. In this case, phi transmutes into psi. To explain why it’s psi, you have to know the aspect of the verb.
There are three aspects in Greek: imperfective; progressive; and perfective. Russian doesn’t have progressive; it does other things to get the same result. Biblical Hebrew has progressive; Arabic doesn’t.
Every aspect has two flavors which I label “eventive” and “conceptual”.
ASPECT FLAVOR => eventive conceptual
Imperfective verbs are marked by a sigma before the modality/person/number endings. (There is an exception which I will leave for a different post.)
So first, the phi in grafo loses its dentality and becomes a labial “p” sound, and then it is followed by an “s” sound. Instead of writing this out pi-sigma, the Greeks went for psi. In a sense, psi and ksi were invented by the Greeks specifically for their grammar. Note that in Biblical Hebrew, “p” and “f” are the same letter with or without an internal dot called dagesh. In Russian the two sounds are different letters; the Russian alphabet is mostly derived from Greek. Arabic has no “p”; languages like Persian and Urdu that use the same alphabet have different ways of representing that sound.
Now click on ksunegrapse in Thucydides, and you get the Perseus Word Tool. At the top left is the verb form previously known as the “infinitive”. Copy that. Now start a new tab and paste it into a search engine. Delete any English characters and click. The top result should be a Wiktionary entry. Click on that.
Like its cousin Wikipedia, Wiktionary is not perfect, but it can be useful. Scroll down the page to the panels labeled Present, Aorist and so on. One of them is labeled Future. At the right it says “show”. Click on that.
In the row labeled “active”, “indicative”, first, you see suggrapso. Notice it has the same psi as ksunegrapse. That’s the clue that made me think classical Greek was aspectual; it pointed to a relationship between aorist and future. This same relationship shows up in Assyrian in the imperfect aspect. In Biblical Hebrew, one of the conjugated verb forms points to a general event which, with a prefix, represents actions in an ongoing narrative about past events. This prefix is cognate to the “augment” which I will discuss below.
ASPECT FLAVOR => eventive conceptual
Imperfective ksunegrapse ksuggrapso
The tense formerly known as aorist is the aspect imperfective eventive. The tense formerly known as future is the aspect imperfective conceptual. With one exception which I’ll discuss later (and it’s an entire class of verbs so it will be important to memorize), imperfective verbs always have this sigma infix, which results in transmutation with the consonants shown in the left-hand column in White.
Now what about that -eta- between ksun- and -graps-?
The name for it is augment. There isn’t one in the imperfective conceptual. Augment does not mark imperfective. It marks the eventive flavor of a verb.
You used to have to memorize that the aorist, imperfect, and pluperfect tenses have augment, with some exceptions. I’m turning that around; a verb with augment is the eventive flavor of one of the three aspects. P.s. we will still have exceptions but they will not be this picayune.
Next time I’ll explain that double gamma and tell you what imperfective aspect is about.