Re: (phonemes) Particle Construction of (Greek) Words

From: Daniel Ria–o (
Date: Sun Mar 22 1998 - 10:07:48 EST

        I'd like to add just some marginal observations to what C. Conrad
said, with whom I agree in most of his posting (except in the consideration
of "Greek" as an "agglutinative" language: Greek is in fact a "flexional"
or "flexive" (esp. "flexivo") language, like the rest of the Indo-European
languages and Semitic, inter alia. Turkish, Fino-Hungarian languages,
Malaysian etc. are "agglutinative" languages. I suppose that Carl was not
using the term in his technical meaning but somehow describing the
procedure of word formation in Greek, but you must be cautious if you
describe in a paper "Greek" as "agglutinative"!)

Carl wrote
>I don't think we'd want to say that EI/OI/I
>are morphemes here but rather constituent elements employed in the
>traditional formulation of tense/aspect stems: we can't say that EI or OI
>has a meaning by itself, but they are the forms which in older verbs tend
>to show up in the present/progressive and perfect verbal systems

        Effectively, they are not morphemes, at least in the majority of
the descriptions of Greek morphology. And they do change the meaning of the
lexeme. I think, then, that the preferable formulation is assert that in
Greek, Words change in the paradigm trough a) the additions to the lexeme
of a set of morphemes following certain rules; b) certain variations in the
lexeme's Ablaut. In this case, entia sunt multiplicanda propter
BTW, the difference between "lexeme" and "morpheme" is a very useful one,
and a clear advantage of American structuralism in front of some schools of
European linguistics that use the same term for both.

Mari wrote
>>This is a topic that I would like to see expanded upon. When I went
>>to translate PROWRISEN in Romans 8:30 from this perspective
>>[phonemes], a lot of fun things started happening. The basic root,
>>hOR, surrounded by sounds, seems to maintain its integrity through a
>>lot of differing surroundings! 'See', in the very physical, limited
>>sense, runs through them all. When I looked at 'preselect' as the
>>literal translation word for PROORIZW, I was stunned to find that the
>>English, in this word, 'does' exactly what the Greek seems to do by
>>way of its particle [phoneme] construction. PRO gives it 'before',
>>just as in English [pre], hOR gives it 'see', just as in English
>>[se(e)-lect], and IZ gives it 'ize', just as in English [(s)-elect].
>>So the Greek PRO-hOR-IZ-(W), literally 'before-see-ize', is exactly
>>parallel to the English pre-see-elect of preselect!! And this
>>provides a foundation for translational words like preordain, etc.,

It happens some times that the same interpretation of the same
constructional devices of a word can be applied in two languages, but most
of the time the results are very different, since every language has its
history, and every word has its history in the language where it belongs
to. It's a pity, from the point of view of the alumn of languages, but a
blessing for the development of the ideas in the cultures.

Mari wrote:
>>In like manner, then, I went to the word hORION ~ See-if-being ~ The
>>lex gives it as boundary, which then, in the livingness of the Greek,
>>becomes '(That which has) being if (it is) seen', and since everything
>>we see has a boundary .... [The boundaries of physical seeing issues
>>lurk here...]
        Etymology is everything but intuitive, witness Plato, Isidorus,
etc, etc.
        The lexeme of *o(ra/w* and *o(/rion* look pretty close, and both
seems to come from a root with initial digamma: for *o(ra/w* IE*swor- or IE
*wor- (cf. the imperfect *e(w/rwn* with a syllabic augment that can be
explained only if the root started by a consonant or semivowel: hFw>hw>ew
[Osthoff's law] and perf. FeFo>eo-) and for *o(/ros* we have the dialectal
form *o)rFos*, showing the digamma. But to relate one to the other you
should device a theory to explain:
        a) Why the cognates of both words in Greek, and the parallels in
other Indo-European languages seem to constitute two families of very clear
relations *inside* the family, but without apparent semantic connection
between each other,
        b) How do we explain from a root IE*swor- or IE *wor- the forms of
the family of *o(/ros*, that seem to present a disyllabic root IE* orF- or
ForF- (dubious in any case).

        Well! as a matter of fact such an explanation was tried by C.J.
Ruijgh in the '60, but I think that his theory was received very

>>hORAW becomes 'see-at' in virtue of the phoneme A, hence to 'stare
>>at', or does it?

        Carl has explained why there's is not, and can't ever be a direct
derivative relation between *o(ra/w* and *o(/rion*. Even if you postulate a
relation between the roots of *o(ra/w* and *o(/ros* it is impossible, if
anything we know of the derivation procedures of Greek is true, that one
word derives from the other.

        Daniel (happy to be back in this List)

Daniel Rian~o Rufilanchas
c. Santa Engracia 52, 7 dcha.

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