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Κεράννυμι-κέρας?

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Κεράννυμι-κέρας?

Postby Swth\r » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:25 am

Is there any chance that those two words are somehow cognates? :shock:
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Re: Κεράννυμι-κέρας?

Postby Markos » Mon Feb 01, 2010 3:08 pm

Yes, there is always a chance. Etymology is more of an art than an exact science. Make an argument, and you will have established that there is a chance that these two words are related. Even if not "related" you can always say "akin to" or "compare."
I am writing in Ancient Greek not because I know Greek well, but because I hope that it will improve my fluency in reading. I got the idea for this from Adrianus over on the Latin forum here at Textkit.
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Re: Κεράννυμι-κέρας?

Postby Damoetas » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:37 pm

Markos wrote:Yes, there is always a chance. Etymology is more of an art than an exact science. Make an argument, and you will have established that there is a chance that these two words are related. Even if not "related" you can always say "akin to" or "compare."


I'm not sure I agree with you here.... Historical linguistics (of which etymology is a part) is an exact science, even though it sometimes has very little precise data to work with. If I were you I would consult an etymological dictionary or a book on Indo-European linguistics, because these words have definitely been investigated by other scholars before. κέρας, I know, is from an Indo-European root, the same source as Latin cornu and English "horn." It seems highly unlikely that κεράννυμι would be from the same root.
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Re: Κεράννυμι-κέρας?

Postby Swth\r » Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:07 pm

Damoetas wrote:
Markos wrote:Yes, there is always a chance. Etymology is more of an art than an exact science. Make an argument, and you will have established that there is a chance that these two words are related. Even if not "related" you can always say "akin to" or "compare."


I'm not sure I agree with you here.... Historical linguistics (of which etymology is a part) is an exact science, even though it sometimes has very little precise data to work with. If I were you I would consult an etymological dictionary or a book on Indo-European linguistics, because these words have definitely been investigated by other scholars before. κέρας, I know, is from an Indo-European root, the same source as Latin cornu and English "horn." It seems highly unlikely that κεράννυμι would be from the same root.


This is also what I could find throughout my own readings. I asked just in the case that someone knows anything different...
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Re: Κεράννυμι-κέρας?

Postby modus.irrealis » Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:50 pm

I thought a connection was very possible, but didn't have any resources to check if it had been considered. But formally there's a match as the root of both seems to be keras- with an -s-, and semantically they are not unrelated. I mean, it's possible that mixing wine and water, for example, was done in (drinking) horns.

Actually, I just realized I do have Sihler's book, and he mentions that -ννυμι is usually the result of adding -νυ to a root ending in -σ but he then said it has been extended to roots ending in a vowel, and under these he includes κεράννυμι, which means he doesn't see κερασ- there.
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Re: Κεράννυμι-κέρας?

Postby Swth\r » Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:59 pm

modus.irrealis wrote:I thought a connection was very possible, but didn't have any resources to check if it had been considered. But formally there's a match as the root of both seems to be keras- with an -s-, and semantically they are not unrelated. I mean, it's possible that mixing wine and water, for example, was done in (drinking) horns.

Actually, I just realized I do have Sihler's book, and he mentions that -ννυμι is usually the result of adding -νυ to a root ending in -σ but he then said it has been extended to roots ending in a vowel, and under these he includes κεράννυμι, which means he doesn't see κερασ- there.


What you say in the beginning was also my first thought on this, but I couldn't find anything related among readings.

J.B.Hoffmann gives under κεράννυμι: κίρνημι, κιρνάω, άκρατος-άκρητος, ακέραιος, κρᾶσις, κρατήρ, κρητήρ, ΙΕ root: *ker(ai) = to mix.

Under κέρας, IE root: *keres (not exactly, but I lack keabord sumbols by the moment; it has something like a reverse -e- in the second sullable...) gives κάρνυξ, κάρανον, καράρα, κάρηνα, κράσ-πεδον, κρανίον, ναύ-κραρος, κραῖρα, κρή-δεμνον, κόρση, κράνος, κραγγών, κερασ-φόρος, κεραοξόος, αἰγό-κερως, among data from other IE -ancient or modern- languages.

No mention of any relation between these two roots, of words... Nevermind... It was rather an intuitive approach on behalf of me... :?

Perhaps even earlier, e.g. in Proto IE, there was some kind of relation, mode.irrealis... 8)
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Re: Κεράννυμι-κέρας?

Postby Markos » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:21 pm

[
Swth\r wrote:
modus.irrealis wrote:Perhaps even earlier, e.g. in Proto IE, there was some kind of relation, mode.irrealis... 8)


That was my original point. The whole thing is mere speculation. There is simply too much we don't know. We don't know anything, really, about the ancestors of PIE. We don't know how old such languges are. There is speculation that there was a common ancestor of PIE and Proto-Semitic. You
probably know about Hebrew KEREN, "horn" which is presumed to be a PIE loanword, but we don't know for sure.

The question is not only the speculative basis of this "science" but its value. Does it help you understand either word if you discover whether they are related or not? I would say etymology almost always leads to less understanding, not more. Does it help you REMEMBER words to discover cognates? Absolutely. Then it matters not whether the etymology be true or false. If the mixing in horns image helps you remember the words, go for it. Argue thus. No one will be able to refute you. Since we know absolutely nothing about the people who may have spoken the language ten thousand, fifty thouand years ago, you will be on safe ground asserting that these words were at one time related.
I am writing in Ancient Greek not because I know Greek well, but because I hope that it will improve my fluency in reading. I got the idea for this from Adrianus over on the Latin forum here at Textkit.
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Re: Κεράννυμι-κέρας?

Postby Damoetas » Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:05 am

Markos wrote:That was my original point. The whole thing is mere speculation. There is simply too much we don't know. We don't know anything, really, about the ancestors of PIE. We don't know how old such languges are. There is speculation that there was a common ancestor of PIE and Proto-Semitic. You
probably know about Hebrew KEREN, "horn" which is presumed to be a PIE loanword, but we don't know for sure.

The question is not only the speculative basis of this "science" but its value. Does it help you understand either word if you discover whether they are related or not? I would say etymology almost always leads to less understanding, not more. Does it help you REMEMBER words to discover cognates? Absolutely. Then it matters not whether the etymology be true or false. If the mixing in horns image helps you remember the words, go for it. Argue thus. No one will be able to refute you. Since we know absolutely nothing about the people who may have spoken the language ten thousand, fifty thouand years ago, you will be on safe ground asserting that these words were at one time related.


Markos,

You make some excellent points, some of which I very much agree with. But I think several different issues have gotten muddled up in this discussion, so let me try to separate them:

First, the question of whether historical linguistics is a science: it definitely is a science, as practiced by real linguists (as opposed to people speculating on message boards). But the key is that you can't push the etymologies farther back than the evidence can support. Beyond that point, it really is just idle speculation, impossible to prove or disprove. This is true of any inquiry of a historical nature. Whether you're investigating the Vietnam War or ancient Greek mystery religions or Indo-European migration patterns, you can be scientific up to a point; but the farther you go beyond that point, the less scientific it becomes. Incidentally, historical linguistics seems particularly speculative if you only read about Indo-European stuff; but there's been a lot of excellent work done on, say, the spread of Bantu languages in Africa, or various language families of Southeast Asia; if you read a little bit of that, you see that it's hardly speculative or controversial at all.

But I completely agree with you in questioning whether etymologies help you understand Greek - in fact, that has long been one of my own pet peeves. People don't realize that when you delve into that stuff, you're now studying Proto-Indo-European, not Greek. It's a perfectly valuable area of inquiry, but it's something different from studying how the Greek language worked in the historical period. (And the same goes for Latin, obviously.) The question I like to ask is, "Does Proto-Indo-European help you understand Shakespeare?" (No.) Then why would it help you understand Sophocles? In both cases, PIE is more than 5,000 years removed from the period you're actually interested in. The main instance where PIE is really helpful is as a last resort, when we can't figure out the meaning of a word from any other evidence.

So in summary, I think the most helpful works on Greek linguistics are those that take a synchronic perspective; for instance, Rijksbaron, The Syntax and Semantics of the Verb in Classical Greek. EDIT: Rijksbaron deals with syntax, not lexical meaning, but I mention him as an example of the synchronic approach. Dickey, Greek Forms of Address, is an example of how one can assess shades of meaning based on how the words were actually used in extant texts.
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