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Wharton's Etyma Graeca

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Wharton's Etyma Graeca

Postby katzenjammer » Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:56 am

Hey all,

I've had this book on my shelf for some time; I flip through it once in a while but I'm not sure exactly how to make use of it.

For intermediate Greek students, is there some way I can make use of this book?

Do students systematically study it to improve vocabulary?

Or is it just a reference that I ought to consult from time to time?
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Re: Wharton's Etyma Graeca

Postby katzenjammer » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:21 pm

Gosh, 83 "looks" and no one can advise me? :o
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Re: Wharton's Etyma Graeca

Postby renaissancemedici » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:50 pm

I don't really have advice. But I find etymology fascinating myself, and what I do is always wondering where words come from, which other words they are connected to etc. So, I open an etymology book quite often. But not systematically. However, I tend to remember the origin afterwards, because I searched out of genuine curiosity. For you, a more systematic approach might work better.

Maybe a more contemporary book could spark your interest more? Although this seems full of wonderful things.
Πολλ' οίδ' ἀλώπηξ, ἐχῖνος δέ έν, μέγα.
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Re: Wharton's Etyma Graeca

Postby katzenjammer » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:55 pm

Well, I'm much the same as you - I suppose I'm trying to figure out how I can get MORE out of the book, as it does seem like it has so much in it. :)

Anyway, thanks for responding!

Cheers,

~katz
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Re: Wharton's Etyma Graeca

Postby Scribo » Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:09 pm

I...don't know, I mean it's a very old book and lexicography and linguistics have moved on heavily, it is certainly interesting. I like the loanword section, but find it weird that χέλυς is listed as coming from Sanskrit, amongst other things.

I can't really give a decent modern alternative though, Brill recently released an etymological dictionary and...well...its...very...erm...it has nice paper. My review is certainly kinder than others. Otherwise there are expensive studies of specific areas or bits and pieces buried in commentaries. Also, my own major interest in these areas are the folk etymologies the Greeks themselves came up with, rather than actual proper linguistics.

I can say that, maybe, such a book can help you remember the vocabulary? Maybe just for pleasure? I think I might read it myself more thoroughly. I'm literally the guy who reads dictionaries however so I'm probably not the best to give advice on fun here.
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Re: Wharton's Etyma Graeca

Postby katzenjammer » Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:47 pm

hmmmmm....interesting, thanks. Yes, I can easily get lost in lexicons - and often do, emerging hours later. Love it. :D

HOw do you explore Greek folk etymology? That sounds fascinating.
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Re: Wharton's Etyma Graeca

Postby Paul Derouda » Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:46 pm

Scribo wrote:I can't really give a decent modern alternative though

What do think about Chantraine? Of course it's 40 years old now, and it's in French. But a new edition with a new supplement came out like just a couple of years ago.
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Re: Wharton's Etyma Graeca

Postby Scribo » Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:17 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:
Scribo wrote:I can't really give a decent modern alternative though

What do think about Chantraine? Of course it's 40 years old now, and it's in French. But a new edition with a new supplement came out like just a couple of years ago.


Chantraine is amazing, but I skipped past that and texts like it due to either specialism or size (like the Lfge, or Chadwick's readings in lexicography). Excellent, excellent tool. But I mean in terms of a general pick me up.

Folk etymology: from Greek lexica, commentaries and scholia.
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Re: Wharton's Etyma Graeca

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:27 pm

Scribo wrote:I...don't know, I mean it's a very old book and lexicography and linguistics have moved on heavily... Brill recently released an etymological dictionary ...


Agree with above. Etymology is occasionally useful for compound hapax legomena. Some compounds are semantically transparent but you cannot count on it. Lexical semantics has indeed moved on from the days when an etymological dictionary was considered a serious source of information about word meaning. I am not anything close to being up-to-date on the subject. I work with a model that sees a word in context as key (think database) into a complex matrix of shared meaning in a community which has a coherent shared cognitive framework. In other words, the meaning is only known to those within the subculture who have internalized cognitive framework. Within a framework, there are scenarios, scripts, stories, plot lines, myths, and so forth that provide a context and the individual word simply occupies a place in this network of assumptions that makes this culture exist as a community of meaning.

In pluralistic societies a community of shared meaning is only realized within a subculture. The general society has a myth of shared meaning it appeals to but in reality it doesn't exist. This myth is useful to get people to pay their taxes and join the army, but when the myth breaks down your suicide rate in the army becomes a greater cause of death than combat casualties.
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