Textkit Logo

So many ways to go

Here you can discuss all things Ancient Greek. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get help with a difficult passage of Greek, and more.

So many ways to go

Postby elisa » Fri Sep 17, 2004 9:50 pm

I've noticed in the few months I've been studying Ancient Greek that there are several words for "go." I'm wondering if there's a subtle difference between each one that someone here might be able to explain to me.

This will be the first time I'm trying to write in Greek characters here, so hopefully this will come out okay.

Here are the words for "go" that I've encountered so far:





Hope that worked!
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2004 7:34 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Postby Bert » Fri Sep 17, 2004 11:36 pm

I have wondered the same thing and I'd like to add some to the list.

I would think that a good lexicon would tell us the difference but I don't have one yet. There is one the mail though, hopefully I'll have it soon.
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1890
Joined: Sat May 31, 2003 2:28 am
Location: Arthur Ontario Canada

Postby Emma_85 » Sun Sep 19, 2004 11:18 am

[face=spionic]ei)~mi [/face] and [face=spionic]i)enai [/face] are the same word :wink: .

As for the differences... hmm...

[face=spionic]ei)~mi [/face] has a futur meaning, 'I will go' . The basic meaning is 'to set yourself in motion', but it has many other meanings depending on which other words it is combined with (a genitive participle, an accusative, a futur participle and so on...).

[face=spionic]e)/rxomai [/face] has many meanings too, come and go, so it's about arriving and leaving, coming home and departing, not about just walking but always going to or away from something. But that's just the 'simple' meaning of the verb, you can combine it with loads of other things to mean different things, e.g. + gen. for a place, or +dat. for person and so on and then the word takes on different meanings. Eimi is used as the future.

[face=spionic]bai/nw [/face] seems to mean to come and go too, but I always think of it as more 'walking' in the mechanical sense than erxomai, because it also means 'to make a step' originally. You can also combine it with eimi : [face=spionic]bh~ i)e/nai[/face] - he stepped to go -> he walked fast
[face=spionic]badi/zw[/face] is related to [face=spionic]bai/nw [/face] but instead of meaning to come and go it's mostly just the mechanical walking.

I don't remember ever coming across [face=spionic]ki/w[/face], but my dictionary tells me it's just a poetical way to say to walk or leave.

[face=spionic]e(/rpw[/face] might be related to serpent (anyone have an etymological dictionary for ancient greek? I think it's very likely :wink: ) and originally means to crawl or creep.

got to go now, I'll come back to this thread later though...
User avatar
Global Moderator
Posts: 1564
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2003 8:01 pm
Location: London

Postby whiteoctave » Sun Sep 19, 2004 12:36 pm

yeah [face=SPIonic]e3rpein[/face] is related to Eng. serpent, which comes of course via Lat serpens. There is Skr. sarpa which can mean 'crawling' or 'snake'. The addition of an initial 's' is a common development in Latin, e.g. septem for [face=SPIonic]e3pta[/face].

other words for go are poetic [face=SPIonic]blw/skein[/face] (aor.[face=SPIonic]e1molon[/face]!), [face=SPIonic]stei/xein[/face], [face=SPIonic]xwrei=n[/face], [face=SPIonic]h2xw[/face] (meaning specifically 'i am come/have come') and all the myriad compounds of the above.
[face=SPIonic]ki/w[/face] is a very rare verb, occurring only in homer and aeschylus (and a passage in plato's cratylus where p. is explaining the etymology of kinhsis) and is thus largely defective. it is always used simply of people or ships, and means simply 'go'.

User avatar
Textkit Enthusiast
Posts: 603
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2003 11:42 pm
Location: Cambridge

Return to Learning Greek

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 65 guests