From: Carl W. Conrad (email@example.com)
Date: Sun Feb 17 2002 - 20:54:08 EST
At 4:59 PM -0500 2/17/02, Aaron Graddy wrote:
>A guest speaker came to our church today and one of the verses he spoke on
>was Mark 11:23. He was speaking on the power of the tongue. It really
>seemed to me that he didn't know what he was talking about in Greek (not
>that I do, I have been study Greek for a couple months now). He said that
>this verse uses three different words for "say", LEGW, LALEW, and EPW.
>Isn't EIPH the 3rd p. sing. 2nd aorist active subj. of LEGW? He said
>something to the effect of LEGW (he must be refering to EIPH, I don't see
>how he could be refering AMHN LEGW and have the following make any sense)
>here can be translated "build with your tongue, or what you say." He
>mentioned something about how the Lego company got it's name from this. I
>thought Lego got its name from "Leg Godt" in Dutch meaning "play well",
>and it was coincidental that the latin word lego means "I put together."
>Was LEGW derived from latin? Does this preacher seem to be making a
>legitimate claim, or is he stretching the Greek?
Text: AMHN LEGW hUMIN hOTI hOS AN EIPHi TWi OREI TOUTWi: 'ARQHTI KAI
BLHQHTI EIS THN QALASSAN, KAI MH DIAKRIQHi EN THi KARDIAi AUTOU ALLA
PISTEUHi hOTI hO LALEI GINETAI, ESTAI AUTWi.
Yes, there are the three different verb forms LEGW, EIPHi, and LALEI. Yes,
EIPHi is subj. 3d sg. most commonly seen as aorist of LEGW (although older
and more formal Greek does have an aorist form LEXHi that would mean the
same thing). There's no question here but that LALEI refers to the same
speech-act as does EIPHi--and the difference is fundamentally a difference
of tense. LEGW is an older, perhaps somewhat more formal verb for "speak,
say" whereas LALEW is the more common Koine verb meaning the same thing.
I have no idea whence the play toy/Spielzeug "Lego" derives its name, but
the Greek and Latin verb LEGW (Grk), LEGO (Lat) are essentially the same
Indo-European root meaning basically "count" or "tell" (in the sense, "pick
out in sequence").
I can't judge what your speaker may have meant to say, but if your account
is accurate, it sounds to me like a not-as-uncommon-as-should-be instance
of the danger of knowing only enough Greek to be dangerous, i.e. only
enough to make questionable generalizations that an audience is likely to
be incompetent to recognize for what they are.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months:: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
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