It has been suggested that Gk. etymology is often not solid footing for
understanding Gk words. Several members of this list have put forth this
caution by making an analogy between B-Gk and Mod Eng, i.e.:
1. Eng morpho-syntactic analyses can derive silly results in words
2. Ancient Gk. speakers would not know or be conscious of many of
their words' etymologies like Mod Eng speakers are not.
Comparing B-Gk and Mod Eng is not comparing pineapples to pineapples, so to
speak. Mod Eng is in a class by itself when it comes to the development of
its vast vocabulary due to the polyglot influence resulting from invasions
of Gr. Britain by the Normans and Latin-speaking missionaries, Renaissance
interests in the Classics and world exploration, the imperialism of the Brit
Empire, the modern technological revolution, and Mod Eng's present-day
status as lingua franca in a much braoder linguistic setting than Gk ever was.
Mod Eng is the *borrower language* par excellance. Whereas the Greeks would
usually coin a word from within Gk by rearranging morphemes with which they
were already very familiar, Eng most often borrows from other languages.
Mod Eng, in fact, often assembles new words from Gk and/or Latin morphemes.
By the way, when we coin Eng words from Gk. morphemes, done so often in
various branches of science, we do so with the same understanding of Gk
morpho-semantics any ancient Gk-speaker would have had. We then partake of
their propensity for "generate-from-within."
The Eng tendency for borrowing from outside Eng makes our etymologies hard
to track or use. The Gk tendency for generating words from within Gk makes
the study of their etymologies clearer, more valid, more trackable than Eng.
I submit that when Eng borrows from Gk and/or Latin, even Eng etymologies
tend to be clear, valid, trackable, eg. _etymology_ < _etumon_(true sense) +
A NT writer would demonstrate his grasp of Gk etymology when he would, in
one discourse, use a number of different words with one morpheme as a motif.
See the use of SUN in Rom 8:16, 17(3x), 22(2x), 28, 29, 32; OIK in Eph
2:19(2x), 20, 21, 22(2x); and especially relevant to this discussion, GEN in
John 1:3(3x), 6, 10, 12, 13, 14(2x), 15, 17, 18(MONOGENHS).
An ancient Gk was clearly dexterous with Gk etymologies, much more so than
you or I in Eng. Although some cautions about the use of etymological study
is in order, it is much more valid than many of you are letting on. A
comparison of Eng's often confusing etymologies with Gk's seldom so is