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"countless" and "countless" :)

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"countless" and "countless" :)

Postby psilord » Sat Feb 05, 2005 11:04 pm

What's the semantic difference between [face=SPIonic]muri/oi kai\ a)perei/sioi[/face]?

I can't quite tell, but I think the former simply means "uncountable" for a noun while the latter would be used for some intrinsic aspect of something, like "his limitless rage".

Or, do they both simply mean the exact same thing? When would I use one over the other?

Also, is there a word: [face=SPIonic]perei/sioj[/face]? I get the impression that there is, but it isn't in any dictionary I have.

Thanks.
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Postby Paul » Sat Feb 05, 2005 11:50 pm

I am inclined to take [face=SPIonic]muri/oj[/face] in association with discrete (countable) quantities.

[face=SPIonic]a)/peiroj[/face] or [face=SPIonic]a)peire/sioj[/face] has its origins in the word meaning 'rope'. But this word, [face=SPIonic]pei=rar[/face], is often associated with the 'ends' of a rope. Its sense is 'without end or limit'. Hence it seems to me better suited for continuous quantities.

But I very much doubt that Homer follows my 'rules' here. :) After all, [face=SPIonic]a)/poina[/face] is clearly 'discrete'. Maybe Homer modifies it with [face=SPIonic]a)peire/sioj[/face] to make us see the ransom as 'non-discrete', that is, as something that strikes us at first as boundless and not consisting of parts.

Cordially,

Paul
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Postby Eureka » Sun Feb 06, 2005 12:03 am

Paul wrote:I am inclined to take [face=SPIonic]muri/oj[/face] in association with discrete (countable) quantities.

I notice that Pharr has the word [face=SPIonic]deka&xiloi[/face] for 10,000. Did [face=SPIonic]mu&rioi[/face] only come to refur to a specific number later on?
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Postby Paul » Sun Feb 06, 2005 12:48 am

Eureka wrote:I notice that Pharr has the word [face=SPIonic]deka&xiloi[/face] for 10,000. Did [face=SPIonic]mu&rioi[/face] only come to refur to a specific number later on?


Where in Pharr did you find this?

I think the evidence supports the idea that the specific numeric value 10,000 was attached to [face=SPIonic]mu/rioi[/face] later in its life.

To start, there was no single noun for 10,000 in Indo-European.

Chantraine observes that when the word means 10,000 it is accented differently: [face=SPIonic]mu/rioi[/face] instead of [face=SPIonic]muri/oi[/face].

He suggests that originally the word meant "vast like the swells of the sea". He finds some ground for this in the words:

[face=SPIonic]mu/ropmai, plhmuri/j, a(limurh/eij[/face]

Cordially,

Paul
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Postby Eureka » Sun Feb 06, 2005 1:20 am

Paul wrote:
Eureka wrote:I notice that Pharr has the word [face=SPIonic]deka&xiloi[/face] for 10,000. Did [face=SPIonic]mu&rioi[/face] only come to refur to a specific number later on?


Where in Pharr did you find this?

Section 757, page 228.
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Postby psilord » Sun Feb 06, 2005 9:46 am

Paul wrote:But I very much doubt that Homer follows my 'rules' here. :) After all, [face=SPIonic]a)/poina[/face] is clearly 'discrete'. Maybe Homer modifies it with [face=SPIonic]a)peire/sioj[/face] to make us see the ransom as 'non-discrete', that is, as something that strikes us at first as boundless and not consisting of parts.


The plot thickens.....

I checked out my Cunliffe dictionary and this is what I found:

Phar says [face=SPIonic]a)perei/sioj[/face] means "boundless, countless, immeasurable", Cunliffe says [face=SPIonic]a)perei/sioj[/face] means "Not to be reckoned, of great amount or value" with respect to the word ransom.

However, [face=SPIonic]a)perei/sioj[/face] is a metathesis (transposed vowels--look carefully) of [face=SPIonic]a)peire/sioj[/face] which means (1) Boundless, endless, (2) Numberless, countless, according to Cunliffe.

So, who's correct? Pharr or Cunliffe? Or are metathesis words usually interchangeable?

It still doesn't answer the question of limitless discrete versus continuous nouns though...
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Postby Paul » Sun Feb 06, 2005 4:02 pm

Hi,

Always trust Cunliffe over Pharr. Not that Pharr is wrong. He simply has a different goal.

As I noted in my first post, the root word here is [face=SPIonic]pei=rar[/face]. Alpha privative + transposition yielding [face=SPIonic]a)perei/siosj[/face] comes later.

Changes caused by transposition do not affect semantics, at least not at first.

As to discrete versus continuous magnitudes, well that's just my happy theory about how things would be in the best of all possible worlds. In fact, if Chantraine is right about origins of [face=SPIonic]muri/oi[/face], then my theory grows ever weaker: the word has its origin in the clearly continuous sea, but is later applied to discrete entities.

Cordially,

Paul
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