Re: etymology/MONOGENHS

Carl W. Conrad (
Mon, 6 Jan 1997 16:41:09 -0600

At 3:21 PM -0600 1/6/97, B Rocine wrote:


>By the way, when we coin Eng words from Gk. morphemes, done so often

>various branches of science, we do so with the same understanding of

>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

>to track or use. The Gk tendency for generating words from within Gk

>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

>tend to be clear, valid, trackable, eg. _etymology_ << _etumon_(true
sense) +


With regard to the former paragraph I would point to the word
"hypocrite" in English, which means exactly what hUPOKRITHS came to
mean in Hellenistic Greek, although it would not at all be clear to one
who didn't know the history of the word how it got to have this sense
of "pretending to be what one isn't"--it was the word for
"actor"--literally "answerer" in drama, from hUPOKRINOMAI, the older
Attic form of the verb which Hellenistic speakers knew as APOKRINOMAI.

With regard to the latter paragraph, a perusal of Plato's
<italic>Cratylus</italic> could readily show how naive even Plato could
be in applying etymology to word-meanings.

Carl W. Conrad

Department of Classics, Washington University

One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130

(314) 935-4018 OR