Re: Fw: Concepts and Words

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Jul 01 1998 - 07:24:55 EDT

At 7:13 AM -0400 7/01/98, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>At 03:53 AM 7/1/98, Peter Phillips wrote:
>>I always understood the root of KUNEW being "cone" or "wedge-shape" - the
>>same as "cuneiform" writing being writing made of wedge shapes. Hence the
>>person in "proskunates" herself makes a wedge shape with her body - head
>>down, 'posterior' up as a sign of obeisance.
>How does one look up the history of a root? LSJ doesn't seem to have this
>information, at least not in the on-line version.

LSJ will show an etymology if there is really an agreed-upon one, but there
are numerous factors that have to be considered,including length of vowels,
exact application of Grimm's law regarding consonantal equivalences of
cognates in different IE languages, etc. There are some useful etymological
dictionaries, and there really are vast numbers of IE roots that are
well-researched, but there's a lot of speculation done about a lot of
unsure words, and, so far as Greek is concerned, there are also words that
came into Greek from non-IE sources (it's usually said that place names in
-SSOS (KNOSSOS) and -NQOS (KORINQOS) are Minoan in origins. Nevertheless, a
Latin loan-word in the 8th century B.C. seems a rather remote possibility.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243

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