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Etymology of philein?

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Etymology of philein?

Postby hyptia » Mon Feb 19, 2007 1:21 am

I can't seem to find an etymology that traces the root of φιλέω, φίλος, φίλιος back to Indo European, but something occurred to me recently and I'd like to know if it's plausible or already known to be false or what. :)

The 3 aforementioned words have various meanings including "friend", "friendly", "dear", "to like", "to love", and interestingly also "to kiss". A related noun φίλημα even means "a kiss". This was the key that made it click in my mind; years ago in one PIE resource that I found online a root *b(h)u(s)- was listed with the meaning "lip, kiss". I wish I could find a cite for this one, as it doesn't turn up in any of the usual lists of roots that I check with, and can't think of any words that definitely derive from it.

But perhaps it was the zero grade form of a root *bhwes- which could have had the suffixed forms *bhwes-lo- and *bhwes-lyo-. These would likely have derived to φίλος and φίλιος, respectively. Notice how the latter parallels the hypothetical *gheslo-, which in its suffixed form may have been the root of χίλιοι.

Is it reasonable to assume that *bhw- would have derived to φ- in this way, and might the verb form φιλέω be explained via the stative -ē- suffix?
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Postby modus.irrealis » Wed Feb 21, 2007 3:50 am

Wow -- I never knew of φίλημα meaning kiss -- I always thought the development of this root towards a kiss meaning (the verb φιλώ now means kiss) was much later.

Now actually on topic, if you go to http://homepage.ntlworld.com/richard.wordingham/pok/b_pokorny.htm, it lists a root *bu 'lip, kiss' -- unfortunately the database it links to (which is part of the very useful site http://www.indo-european.nl) seems to be having issues lately.

I don't know enough to actually comment on anything but I'm having trouble seeing how *gheslyo- gives χίλιοι -- is es > ῑ a regular development, at least in this environment?
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Postby Rindu » Fri Feb 23, 2007 10:44 pm

filhma for kiss is definitely classical.
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Postby hyptia » Mon Feb 26, 2007 5:33 am

I'm not sure if *es- -> i: is regular or not, nor can I explain the difference in vowel quantity between φίλιος and χίλιοι. Maybe that's why *gheslo- is not considered definitive. But it reminds me of how the nominative plural *-es ending seems to have become -i after a stem in -a or -o.

Oxford's Classical Greek Dictionary only gives one meaning for φίλημα, which is a kiss.

Thanks modus for the link; I'll bookmark it. :)
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Postby modus.irrealis » Wed Feb 28, 2007 1:10 am

No problem for the link. About my surprise, I worded my comment badly -- I was trying to say that was unaware that the "kiss" meaning had appeared so early (although it does read like I thought φίλημα had another meaning).
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Postby Chris Weimer » Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:23 am

If it appeared later, wouldn't that mean it had another meaning earlier?
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Postby modus.irrealis » Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:41 am

I don't think I'm going to ever get this right. I meant the meaning of the root.
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