From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Mon Apr 16 2001 - 09:22:06 EDT

At 7:07 AM -0700 4/16/01, dixonps@juno.com wrote:
>On Sat, 14 Apr 2001 19:37:53 -0400 "Carl W. Conrad"
><cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu> writes:
>> Yes, and the only point of my previous post was to object
>> to your assertion that ANA- in this verb functioned in the
>> same manner as EPI- and that the semantic sense of
>> ANA wasn't really playing a role in ANISTHMI/ANISTAMAI.
>Thanks for picking up on this. Perhaps I was wondering out loud too
>assertively and/or too vaguely. Let me retract and try again. The EPI-
>prefix in EPIGINWSKW can be intensive, but not necessarily so. It can
>also be almost superfluous, rendering it virtually synonymous with
>GINWSKW. Agreed? If so, is the same phenomenon possible with ANISTHMI?
>Modern translations of Jn 20:9, for example, give that impression.
>Are there other examples of prefixes being superfluous (at least for
>meaning) in the Greek language?

This is a larger question than you might suppose and I shall offer here
only a general observation rather than an observation. It needs to be
remembered that language is always in flux and that words that are vividly
metaphorical and communicate meaning instantaneously in one period may
become vague and unclear a few generations hence. I think that EPI- and
PROS- were both used to intensify verbs and that some EPI- compound verbs
eventually lost an intensive meaning and simply replaced the uncompounded
forms in everyday usage. One remarkable fact ab out both Greek and Latin
poetry is that uncompounded verb forms tend to be used in poetry on grounds
that they are archaic and therefore represent an elevated style over the
standard prose form (e.g. poetic QNHiSKW for prose APOQNHiSKW). On the
other hand some compound verbs became standardized in meaning early enough
in the history of the language that an augment on a past-tense indicative
appears BEFORE THE PREFIX rather than before the main verb stem; perhaps
the most celebrated instance of this is EPISTAMAI ("know" whence the noun
EPISTHMH): this is quite clearly a compound originally of EPI and hISTAMAI
and involves much the same sense as the English compound verb "understand"
(except the Greek says "stand on top of" and the English says "stand
under"--I don't know if there's a single extant instance of EPISTAMAI in
Greek literature that doesn't have past tense forms in HPISTA- or HPISTH-.
Somewhat like that is AFIHMI which has become--at least for some speakers
in the NT era--an omega verb AFIW: we can tell that this verb has ceased to
be a compound verb by the fact that the initial A- is taking the augment in
such forms as HFIEN.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad@ioa.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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