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23 Posts

Posted - 08 Feb 2006 :  17:50:54  


(This short series of posts concerns many languages in Europe and the Middle East, and Greek in particular, as we shall see. Whereas "Interpretation" is devoted to Greek Philology, this thread deals with Mideastern-European languages as a whole.)


By "Mideastern-European languages" I mean SOME languages, whether extant or extinct, in Europe and in the Middle East. I am avoiding "Eurasian languages" since the Far East is being entirely excluded from linguistic consideration here. I am also avoiding "Indo-European languages," since I intend to make some considerations of the so-called Semitic languages, and since I have come to reject the traditional notion of "Indo-European languages." I approach the languages of the Middle East and of Europe without theoretical assumptions -- something which in other Forums has raised anger and condemnations from those steeped in conventional wisdom.

We know that during the Renaissance, somebody noticed the similarity of the Latin words deus, divus, and divinus, with Sanskrit words such as divah (for something divine). So started the research into the kinships or cognates between some European languages and some Near-Eastern languages. An 18th century German linguist called these languages Aryan (later called Indo-European), in contradistinction to another family of languages, called Semitic by him. He thought that Hebrew (Biblical Hebrew) was the language of Sem (Shem), a son of Noah's, and that Hebrew spread out so as to become Arabic and other simiular languages. Meanwhile the notion was also developed that Sanskrit was the mother language of the Indo-European languages, at least until some linguists created an artificial language, called Proto-Indo-European that an unidentified people must have spoken. Today P-I-E linguistics is still in full force, while some people suspect that the I-E languages are part of a bigger family, namely Nostratic and perhaps THE world language. I am outside this entire framework of thinking.

According to traditional wisdom, the European languages -- whether spoken or extant in writing -- are either families of languages or oddballs (singletons; pockets of unique languages). They say there are three big families (Romance; Germanic; Slavic) and singletons like Celtic and Greek, which are considered Indo-European, and Basque and Etruscan which are considered neither Indo-European nor Semitic. More refined linguists will speak of Italic (with languages such as Latin, Oscan, Umbrian, etc.) and of Greek (with such dialects as Ionic, Attic, etc.) They may lack the refinement of seeing that the Romance languages are variation of a real language, Latin, whereas there was never a distinct language called Greek whose variations are Ionic, Attic, etc. On the contrary, people who think of the Latin paradigm have been at work reconstructing a "real" (spoken) language called Germanic or Proto-Germanic out of the Germanic languages (German, Dutch, etc.)

Here is the crux of the thinking of linguists about languages: they examine and compare languages and find cognates. The languages with cognates (words with the same meaning but slightly different sounds) are conceived as sister languages. According to this biological model, which happens to be correct for Italian, Spanish, French, etc., there used to be a parent or ancestral language. So, there used to be a Proto-Romance (Latin), a Proto-Germanic, and a Proto-Slavic; for these European and for some Mideastern languages, there is Proto-Indo-European. The Latins spoke Latin; the Aryans or Indo-Europeans spoke Proto-Indo-European. These imaginary people were like the Romans who brought their own language into other countries! They do admit that some cognates are due to "borrowings" of words from another language (or to "loaning" of words by another people), but the prevailing theory is that a great bunch of languages in the Mideast and Europe is due to the diffusion of one originarl language. By pooling together the cognates found in this bunch of languages, they have reconstructed the vocabulary of the P-I-E original language.

Let us start afresh.

COGNATES = words with essentially the same meaning and slightly different sounds.
HOMONYMS = words with essentially different meanings and identical or slightly different sounds.

Because of grammatical attachments -- to express time, mood, number, gender, compliment case, etc. -- the bare or root word, the ETYM, expressive of meaning or concept, is of interest for comparisons. Two words are cognate, if their etyms are cognate. Two etyms are cognate, if their meaning is the same and if their consonantal skeleton or structure is the same. (Some consonant sounds shift in the course of time, or are changed by word-learning foreigners. A problem may arise when the speakers of a language actually alter the sound of an etym for grammatical purposes, such as expressing past time, as in Stand/Stood: STND/STD.)

SYNONYMS = words with essentially the same meaning and drastically different sounds. (Within a language, a synonym is present either by virtue of an acquisition of a foreign word, or by the coinage of a new word, while the old word became obsolete. People don't invent synonyms for words they already have and are using.)


From the indiscriminate consideration of cognates in most European languages and some Mideastern languages, linguists viewed these languages as sister languages and called them Indo-European languages.

What cognates? How many cognates?

The truth of the matter is that some languages have a great many cognates. In fact, the great majority of the words of the Romance languages are cognates. Those words are Latin words with local variations. Similarly the Germanic languages have may cognates. Let us suppose for a moment that 80% are the Romance etyms are cognate, that 80% of the Germanic etyms are cognate, and that 80% of the Slavic etyms are cognate. These are indeed three families of sister-languages. But the three families are NOT sisters. How many etyms are shared by, say, Classical Latin, Old German, and Old Russian?

If we are to talk of sister languages from different families, how many etyms are shared by, say, Classical Latin, Old German (before the spread of Christianity amongst "Germans"), Old Russian, Sanskrit, and Pharsi? I don't think anybody has ever counted them. I know of some myself, and I venture to guess that there are some 200 etyms (the inflected words being many more in number). So, these 200 etyms would be their "Indo-European content." To avoid lengthy explanations, one should speak of Indo-European words, not of Indo-European languages. [Presently I have been concentrating of lexikons, but we have to consider also the grammatical endings in ancient use, the "syncategorematic" parts of words, which may or many not be cognate.]

We have to make a historic stratification of cognates in any given language today.

If we consider the languages in the countries of the Roman empire before the dumvirate or triumvirate, we can expenct that, in some degree or other, they had an influx of Latin. (In some places, Latin practically replaced the native language; in others, there was only a minor transfer of vocabulary).

If we consider the languages of the countries where Christianity spread, then we have an influx of either Greek or Latin there -- from the Christian era.

Let's retrace our steps. The rise of the Classical Greek civilization involved a tremendous increase in vocabulary (even though many old words were used with new meanings): in philosophy, mathematics, theory of music and the arts, drama, new technologies, and so forth. So, any language which acquired Greek after 600 B.C. (either directly, or later through schooling) had a great increase in vocabulary -- both quantitative and qualitative.

From Renaissance Italy, there was some influx of Italian, Latin, and Greek into other languages.

What I have called the Age of the Recontrivance, which started in the 17th century, involved the creation of science, of mathematics, of power-technology, and of undulatory-physics techynology. By the 21st century, practically all European languages (in Europe and outside) have more than doubled their vocabulary. It was contributed by the science making and technology-making countries, but it is not a national vocabulary (even though each nation has its own version). So vast it is that it could be called "the European language" , rather than English or French, or other.

Because of the aforementioned spreading languages, the spreading continued through schools, and the European language of the Recontrivance, today the European countries and descendants have more cognates than non-cognates. The languages prior to the influences from the Humanistic world (the post-Neolithic civilizations that started in 600 B.C.) can be examined for cognates and, as I mentioned, we may not find more than 200 etyms across the linguistic families in Europe and the Middle East.

What I have been calling the "Indo-European" WORDS or content [in the many language-families], with probably 200 etyms, has still to be clarified: It may be stratified as it may comprise two separate acquisition of words: The vocabulary connected with the invention and spread of agriculture, and a prior words.
[to continue]



23 Posts

Posted - 09 Feb 2006 :  18:58:07  


___________a few etymologies________________

DAY (English) and DIES (Latin; = day)
Are the cognates?

From the "American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots," which relies largely on the work done the "phonologists." Phonologists take a present-day word or kin (affine) words and construct an ancestral word (or etym) for them. Since they assume that there was such an ancestral word, they speak of RE-constructing it.

"DAY < from Old English Daeg {"day"}...< from Old High German Tag {"day"}.... The root is supposed to be AGH- {a span of time} with an initial d- which is obscure (that is, unexplained as to how it came about).(Cf.: Pokorny: agher-7)"

From Semerano's "Le Origini..." Vol. 4 [late 20th century], with remarks of mine in square brackets:

"DAY : Tag/Day comes from a word wich designates [, not a span of time, but] a shining or bright condition < Sumerian DA-AG {"shining"}. The [Sumerian based] Akkadian word DAGalu (DAGau) = to look. [So, the brightness in question refers to visibility; it is opposite to darkness or Night: not open to view.]"

Semerano employs a phonological analysis to trace a word back to an ATTESTED word, not in order to construct an ancestral word.

Semerano on DIES:

"DIES: Latin DIes; ... Armenian TIw; ... Sanskrit DIaw (whence divus or celestial) --akin to Sumero-Akkadian TIbum, which refers [, not to a period of time, but] to the rising or emerging brightness (splendor); ...."

So, DAY and DIES have an attested ancestry in one language; they are similar in meaning, as they designate the light or brightness in the world (opposite of the night), but they are not strict cognates, since the brightness which is being named has to do with visibility, on the one hand, and with its rising in or spreading in the sky, on the other. [DA and DI are different etyms, although D- can be construed as designating dayness/brightness.]

The Italian Di` and the Spanish Dias are Romance words (from Latin); the English Day and German Tag are Germanic words. So, here we have an instance where practically one etym is shared but two language families. We can say further that the Germanic words are not derived from Latin; we can surmise that the words in question were spread ultimately from Sumer in agricultural times and that the populations of Europe had words of their own for "day." For instance, Greek has entirely different etyms for Day: aygE [augE] (light, brightness); hEmera (in opposition to night as well as in the sense of the duration of the day, which corresponds to the Latin Diu or Dius, whence diurnus: di giorno: kath'hEmeran).

In his etymological Greek Dictionary (Vol. 3), Semerano lists DIOS (or DIA in Homer) with the meaning of High or Elevated, so that ENDIOS (at noon) properly refers to the sun "on high." Likewise the Latin DIVUS originally means High [or sky-summit]; "sub divo" = "under the sky." The Sanskrit "diva-" /[dyauh] = celestial [= of the sky] {Cf. Latin Caelum, Sky}.

So, the DI of Dies is actually one etym present in Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, and Sumerian. Being ancient, this is what one may call an "Indo-European" etym, but its place of origin is uncertain. Indo-Europeanists used to claim that Sanskrit is the source. Semerano generally tends to viewing Sumerian or Sumero-Akkadian as the source, and Proto-Indo-Europeanists attribute the etym to an unattested language spoken by a hypothetical people. My inkling is that the etym was spread together with agriculture (from Sumer), and that:

>>>>> many ancient languages do share a limited pre-agricultural vocabulary (with probably fewer than 200 etyms) from a time populations of Homo Sapiens Sapiens moved on various occasions from the Middle East westwards (into Europe), northwards, and eastwards (into India and beyond), while other populations stayed on. All of these populations developed their own language and culture, so that we have ancient unique vocabularies, which are found exclusively in Greek (as in the case of augE and hEmera), in some Germanic language, in Etruscan, in Pharsi, in Armenian, and so forth. <<<<<

(According to this perspective, all attested Mideastern-European languages, which have their own development or evolution and acquisitions at various times, must be studied anew. To differentiate cognates according to historic strata or layers; to sift the unique language words from all foreign accretions in the course of time: This is a vast project for all linguists of the future... who must be deeply familiar with them rather than being mere sound-inspectors of many languages.)

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23 Posts

Posted - 09 Feb 2006 :  21:22:09  


--- On the Trail of the Gods ---

An ETHNICON (Ethnic Population or Society; People; Tribe) has a distinctive constellation of factors: consanguineity similarities, customs, political order, language, gods, and heroes --situated is a space and time. If it proliferates, the split portion is at first like its ancestral ethnicon. It carries with itself the ancestral customs, language, gods, and memories and names of the heroes and the places of its former homeland. Changes or developments will occur, but the names of the gods, heroes, and places stand most firm.

The theonyms, heronyms, and toponyms in a language are most important as clues about the origins or the consequential associations of a culture with others. For example, many or the gods or numina of the Romans (before new interpretations occasioned by learning about the Greek gods) are from the Etruscan culture. This means that either the Romans were offsprings of the Etruscans, or were so associated with the Etruscans -- as it was the political case -- that they assimilated much of the Etruscan culture -- in matters of religion, language, customs, technologies, etc.

From the presence of the cult of Apuru (not just the name -- which might be received information about others), we infer that the Etruscans in Italy must have had an early population which partially shared the "Greek" culture, before the Greeks colonized southern Italy (before the 8th century B.C.) The early Etruscans themselves may have been immigrant settlers from a location [presumably the region of Lydia in some time-period] which was in some degree Greek or had partially assimilated Greek culture such as it was in some time period. Apuru is the chthonic Apollo prior to the sun-god of the classical Greeks. The Etruscan script, which is an archaic Greek script (after the script on the Sispilio tablet) may have been learned in their former Aegean location.

The Greeks and the Etruscans had the cult of Apollo. So the name, as the concept of a god or numen [power operating in nature] is originally Greek, even if the word with some generic meaning arose elsewhere. (One way of coining a word is to use an old word with a new meaning, instead of inventing a new sound. "Calculator" is an ancient word-- starting with calculi or pebbles -- loaded with diverse historical layers of meaning and connotations.)

Zeus [a word in Latin script which transliterates the Greek Zeys] is the name of a god whose cult used to be only in Greece. So, the word which connotes something divine, regardless of the origin of the word in some general sense, is Greek in origin. When the divinity-connoting word is found elsewhere, we can be sure that it was borrowed by others (and used and applied in their own way). A cognate as such may leave the question about its origin unanswred; a cultural corroboration [archeological evidence; written testimony about the occurrence of a cult; etc.] determines the original place or ethnicity of the word.

I have unwittingly spoken of Zeus as a god, something divine, a deity. Zeus, Apollon, and others are gods, namely theoi in Greek. Greek has the generic name for "god", namely theos. Latin has two generic names for "god", namely deus and divus (whence the adjective divinus), but neither one is the name of a god (whereas Zeus is a proper name). We shall look into this in a moment.
We may as well start with the English [Germanic] "god."

In THE AMERICAN HERITAGE DIC-TION-ARY OF INDO-EUROPEAN ROOTS, which employs mostly the reconstruction ( phonological) method, we find the assertion that

"GOD < gheu(2)
gheu = to pour, pour a libation
gheu = an extended form of *ghud. {"*ghud" means that this word is not
attested in any language; it is reconstruced or presumed to be the
source of gheu... according to various rules or reconstruction that
they have stipulated)."

So, as you can see, the name "god" is somehow derived from the human
libation (or, for that matter, from the examination of livers or intestines) to divine the will of a god. How could this happen? For instance, I am puzzled by certain flights of birds; I start feeling that the flights are telling me something and I set out to divine them, to explicitate the message. But in doing so I start thinking that the birds themseves are not trying to give a message; rather there is something or someby who is using the birds to speak [to speak by visual signs rather than words]. So, I call divus that which I am trying to divine. (If I had used the verb "to interpret" rather than "to divine," then I would have called Interpret or Interpretandum that which I tried to interpret. Historically speaking, there are cases where the man performing an operation is named after what he does or what he inspects, but the operation does not confer its name on what is supposed to be behind what he inspects. Thus Etruscan diviners were called augurs, so named after the birds they inspected, but they did not use a name with the etym of augury for the numina behind the phenomena; they just called them numina or sign-givers or the like. The name Libation or Sacrifice to a hidden power does not become the name of that power. Our etymologist is being nonsensical.

To NOTE: The skeletal etym of "god" is GD; the word cannot come from "gheu," whose skeletal etym is G.

TO NOTE, aside from the above erroneous derivation: Since in the course of history, many words are coined by adding a new meaning to an old word, in fact there result two or more words with one sound. These are called HOMONYMS. (There are also homonyms in two compared languages: different concepts which happen to be articulated by an identical sound.) Now, the phonologists take a word in a languages and, by applying "laws" of phonology, arrive at its ancestral word. What they have actually arrived at is an ancestral sound, not an ancestral WORD. For instance, if by "calculation" we mean a such-and-such electronic process," when we find that its ancestral etym is CALC or CLC [by any method whatsoever], we have NOT discovered how our ancestors articulated the concept "such-and-such electronic process." The mere sound is not a word. So, the whole phonological method as a linguistic method is fallacious in principle. (Their inference that once upon a time there was a language, which they call Proto-Indo-European, is wrong, because is rests on a fallacious method of etymology.)

So, let's turn to Semerano's study:

"GOD is akin to the German gott, the Swedish gud, etc.
Gott is analogous to the Akkadian gattu (which
denotes a sacred image.
"God" or "Gott" is a cognate of the Sumerian word, "gud", which means powerful, or the powerful one.

There are other European words for "god", such as the ancient Nordic TYR,
which is a cognate of the Sumerian DIR (with the variations: Dimer,
Dirgir), which has the meaning of "god". This word is also found in Hungarian."

So, there is the answer: God and Tyr (whether they are called Germanic words or not) are cognates of attested Sumerian words.

The common essence of all the gods, which I was able to understand a long time ago through reflective investigation, is: overpowering or superhuman immortal (perennial) power. And all the ancient and present humans have experienced huge powers in their world which either recurred during their lifetimes and beyond or were constantly present albeit in a quiescent manner. The existence of what is called gods or by any other name is a fact. What is not named in terms of huge power , either general or specific, or/and of immortality/perenniality, is not divine. (The variety of historical gods, whether experienced or imaginary, have attributes which are specific to the cultures in which the gods are spoken of.)

Doric thEos = god.
Doric thEos < = theios
The Cretan Thios is accented on the o, which means that the common etym, THEI-, lost the e by the stressing of the nominative-case ending, whereas the Dorian speakers lost the i by stressing and lengthening the e./ Theios with the accent on the epsilon is the adjective of the Attic Theos and means Divine [by the Latin word]. [The Doric noun and the Attic adjective are grammatical, not semantic, homonyms: identical sounds with different grammatical functions.]

Attic theos with the accent on the o = god, Latin deus; also goddess; also said of semi-gods and heroes (correspondingly to Latin divus).

In compounds, "theo-" often means plainly "divine", as in "theonoe" (divine reason or intelligence).
TheEgenEs = theogenEs = god-born, god-begotten.
-- to theion; thEion; thesion = sulphur; sulfuric vapor.
-- [1] theioO; theeioO = I sprinkle with sulfur; I purify.
-- [2] theioO = I render divine; I consecrate to a divinity.

So, it appears that the use of sulfur is the use of something divine and it can engender divinity. [Sulfur is a strong power. Sulfur, lava; wild animals, etc., would be terrestial gods in the primitive or generic sense of the term. It is quite possible that the Greek generic notion of god (Cretan and Doric "thei" or Attic "the") was formed from sulfur ("thei").
Of course, the articles and the case-endings are neutral or masculine, depending on whether the divinity was personified or not.

The feminine name of a goddess is thea` (from theos`-- which would have arisen after the personification of the gods (the perennial overpowers). We should look for other generic words for "god" or something similar in meaning, in the Greek lexicon, most of whose ancient etyms do not seem to come from any other attested language.
It seems to me that the Latin DEUS (from the archaic Latin: deiuos/dejuos) has the same origin as the Attic theos from theios, and ultimately from theion (or possibly theiuon). The consonantal shift from th (theta) to t, and even vice-versa, is an attested occurrence, even within Greek.

deus <deios {||theios} <DEIUOS > diuos` : divos` > divus.
Accordingly, deus had the stressed e; divus had the stresses u, otherwise the u of deiuos would not have laryngeally shifted into a v. / It seems that differents portions of an original population ended up with deus and divus respectively, or divus may have meant something divine by not exactly a god.
Anyway, the adjective "divinus" is based on div, and the plural of deus is
[nominative] dei or dii [or di]
[Genitive] deorum or deum
[Dative] deis or diis.

Divus (feminine: diva) has nothing to do with either dies/diurnus ( =day...), the rising dayness, or the light of day ("dag/day"). (Theion is a chthonic power.)

To notice that God and Gott are cognates, Tyr and Dir are cognates, and Theos and Deus are cognates, but there is no cognate relation between these three groups: There is no ancenstral etym which is common to all six words and which is the basis of the six words; that is, there is no Indo-European etym for "god." (Proto-Indo-European is a fiction of the imagination.) In those three groups, one word is secondary or a variation of the other word (or of a word behing this). For the above words, Greek and Sumerian are ultimate languages. This seems to be the case for many other ancient European words.

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23 Posts

Posted - 10 Feb 2006 :  00:06:33  


-- European and Mideastern Ethnicons --

Once an ancient ethnicon was formed within the Middle East or as populations moved out of it, it developed its distinctive, gods, language, and customs. Necessarily we can speak only of what is attested historically (through literary and other evidence). So, if we refer to a people which has a pantheon different from that of another people, then the theonyms (as well as the heronyms and toponyms) of that people are unique to it rather than derived from another people.

I have thought of indigenously (autochthonously) developing languages (which are evident in either singletons or in more of less vast families) and of some rudimentary language they carried with them, WHICH might have been shared by the many populations in the Middle East. So, going back to pre-agricultural times, we may find a sprinkling of words which are present in the historically attested indigenous languages of Europe: "Germanic;" "Aegean" (Greek and its ancient ramifications; its proliferation as Italic [Latin, Oscan, Umbrian, etc.] and as some other languages besides the Romance languages); "Slavic" [?]; as well as in languages that developed indigenously in the Mideast: Sumerian; Pharsi; Sanskrit; and possibly Armenian. Some of the languages which developed indigenously in the Mideast during the exodus of populations towards the west, the north, and the east, present specific problems because of the infiltrations of "Arabesque" [Arab-like] languages -- formerly named "Semitic" -- into the Mideast. (I will return to this point.)

As we look at Sanskrit, Germanic, Aegean, Slavic, and some other (individual or assemblage of) languages, their PRE-AGRICULTURAL etym-cognate content is of everyday-words and is numerically small. (My guess has been there are fewer than 200 such etyms.)

Theonyms, heronyms, and toponyms are not the only words which are resistant to change. I got this idea from the fact that the compliment-cases of Latin vanished as Latin changed into Italian, Spanish, and some other Romance languages. Yet Italian preserves the dative of the personal pronouns, which are so frequently used in everyday speaking, as in these cases:
Give a loaf TO ME. If I give a loaf TO YOU, how much will you pay UNTO ME?

The Latin dative pronouns are MIHI (or MI) and TIBI, which in Italian are preserved as MI and TI:

Da mihi --> da mi [commonly: dammi] = give to me;
Tibi do ---> ti do = I give to you.

Personal pronouns, numbers, and some frequently used generic words words are most resistant to change. Thus, we could compare (attested) ancient languages, to see if in fact they carry words which are normally most resistant to change or obsolescence.

I restrict myself to comparing three languages: Greek, Latin (which is already known, to me, to be largely a proliferation of Greek), and Sanskrit -- and English incidentally.

Furthermore, for the moment, we'll compare only four cases of the singular and plural forms of the first and second person of the personal pronouns:
Nominative, Accusative, Genitive, and Dative.

First person --
I, me, of me, to me/ we, us, of us, to us.

egO, eme (me), emou (mou), emoi (moi)/
Emeis, Emas, Emon, Emin.

ego, me, mei, mihi (mi)/
nos, nos, nostri, nobis.

aham, man (ma), mama (me), mayam (me)/
vayam, asnan (nas), asmakan (nas), asmabhyam (nas).

Second Person --
Thou, thee, of thee, to thee/ you, you, of you, to you.

su {=sy} , se, sou, soi /
umeis {=ymeis}, umas, umOn, umin.

tu, te, tui, tibi /
vos, vos, vestri, vobis.

tuam, tuam (tua), tava (te), tubyam (te)/
yuyam, yusman (vas), ysmakan (vas), yusmabhyam (vas).

Commentary :

Let's consider the second person.

The S of the thou (the singular you) in Greek and the T of the Latin thou are variations such as occur in Greek dialects themseves. (Cf.: thalatta / thalassa.) The singular cases are cognates, even though the declensions are in the respective Greek and Latin ways, and the Latin tibi is somewhat irregular with respect to the other cases. Anyway, when we face a REGULAR declension of a word, we are at the SECOND historical PHASE of speaking. At the first phase, there are unique words or forms for each case, so that irregulaity is the rule. The same goes for verbs: the regular conjugations are a formalization of neologisms. Neologisms imitate a model or given exemplar in the language. (The formalization of TU could have yielded tha dative *tuo... but perhaps this would have been confusing with the dative possessive adjective of Tuus.)

The Greek declension of SU followed the pattern of -os nouns. The plural YOU, ymeis and the other forms, are obviously not plural forms of the etym "SU" or "S--", or of the TU variant. So, the total declension of the Greek YOU is actually irregular: the etyms of the singular and the plural are respectively unique. The same is the case in Latin. Furthermore, the Latin VOS (or UOS) is not a cognate of the Greek YMEIS. For the singular and plural forms, Latin makes use of two different etyms, and the plural one does not come from Greek.

The situation in Sanskrit is even more interesting. The singular declension has two variations in most cases, but there is a very close similarity with the Latin pattern. (Notice TUBYAM and TIBI.) So, it appears as if the Latin Thou comes from Sanskrit. The plural declension looks like the ancestral English YOU: YUyam; with a more remore connection with the Latin vos or uos, as if UOS came from YUos. The plural YOU of English and Latin could be based on the Sankscrit etym, but the Greek etym [Em-] is an independent one. (One can say that from a Mideastern pool of etyms, some populations took and carried one etym to utter the plural YOU; other populations utilized a different etym. That primordial Mideastern population was not homogeneous at all.

The same situation holds for the first person pronoun. Greek and Latin have cognates for the singular forms, and, what is more, EGO is absolutely unique; the declension of the other cases is made on the basis of "(e)M-" The Greek plural follows suit, whereas Latin is based on the "NO-" radical.

The Sanskrit declension is more recent than the Greek one, since the declension of the singular I uses only one radical (MA- or AM). The infant's first labials are used for naming oneself rather the feeding breast. Indeed "mother" (mutter; mater; etc.) is not the vocative "ma" or "ma-ma," but the nominative or agent's name, which only a grown-up person will form. Latins, Greeks and others, have the infant's vocative TA or TA-TA as applicable to the father. If MA is used for I [ego], than TA or TU is likely to be used for THOU.

For the plural I, Sanskrit has two possible declensions . The short form (NAS) has the same etym as Latin (NOS). So, Latin may appear to be dependent on Sanskrit. (Here Sansrkrit and Greek differ.) The long form [ASN-/ASM-] differs from both Latin and Greeks. At least Greek and Sanskrit show their independence from each other. So, we are led more and more to the view that the bunch of "I.E." etyms come from a Mideastern pool rather than by the diffusion of one ancient language into others.
The basic numbers (1-10) of Greek, Sanskrit, and Latin are largely the same, cognates. Etruscan, for instance, has a largely different set of names and, therefore, it is not called an Indo-European language. (This means that the Etruscan people retained less from the original rudimentary language than many other languages did.) The Etruscan "seven" (semph) is close to Latin Septem, Greek Hepta, and sanskrit Saptam.

In the 3 languages we have been looking into, the numbers FIVE and EIGHT are not cognates in all the three of them -- which is very strange. Why should the developers of those languages of theirs have dropped or replace the words for 5 and 8? This is more puzzling the the sharing of the other number-words.



The possible reasons for this state of affairs are many, but I will think of at least one.

In the most ancient times, there was no counting of objects (or of fingers) one after another. So, we are not to suppose that speakers invented a series of words which involved addition, such as One, Two [meaning: one plus one], Three (one plus one plus one), Four... Rather, configurations of units, seen all at once, were named, like PAIR, DOZEN, etc. Unfortunately we do not have a traditional series of names for consecutive configurations, but we can invent one for the sake of example:

Single; Pair; Triangle; Floor [quadrilateral]; Hand [5 fingers]; Half a Dozen; Week [a relatively recent word: 7 days], .... (Some configurations of sticks or pebles employed in geomancy may have been used as number-names. Indeed "numerology -- the magical or esoteric interpretation of numbers -- may ultimately go back to geomantic numbers).

The point is that there could have been "figurative" numbers which people shared, but they has no figurative numbers for 5 and 8. They invented their own "five" and "eight".

The fingers of the hands were used numerically by the ancients, as we can see from their numerals (symbols of figurative numbers). For instance, the Etruscans counted arithmetically by extending fingers from the closed hand, or withdrawing fingers:
1 (thumb out), 2 (thumb and Index), 3 (thumb and index and middle fingers -- as the 3 is still indicated by opening fingers in Italy), 4 (index and middle and anular and little fingers less the thumb), 5 (all open) -- written precisely as:
I, II, III, IV, V;

Each number was a certain configuration of units ( a figurative number) with cumulative values.

Now, it is possible to envisage different finger configurations of quadrilaterals, by pressing FINGER-TIPS on a surface; such as:

(Laft Hand) The four fingers in front -- forming a trapezoid -- and the thumb behind (as as happens naturally). The Greeks would say, in their own words: en, duo, treis, tettara, AND anti-cheir (the thumb), which in former or later times they may have called Pente, which thereby assumed the value of FIVE. The Romans would call it Pollex, meaning the mighty finger, but they might have called quinque it in that configuration, thereby giving the word the value of 5. The sanskrit people used Pancan. (They did not share that peculiar configuration. So, the three languages do not have one word for either thumb or 5.)

Use the right hand for this quadrilateral formation: Thumb and Index standing, Middle reclining, and Ring and Little fingers standing. This time, it is the 8th finger that is behind or hidden. / Points "5" and "8" may have been named as arithmetical numbers at a later time by isolated cultures. A single word like "thumb" could not have been used for the two different points in question. (In naming points of a quadrilateral,TREIS does not mean "1+1+1" but the third unit of a certain quadrilateral. So, I imagine that the earliest numbers were really proper names of the points in figurative numbers, just as "Ut, Re, Mi" are proper names of tones in a hexachord configuration at any level or register.
[...To return to this subject]

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23 Posts

Posted - 10 Feb 2006 :  03:02:47  


-- Elucidation of "Pente" --

The ancient Greek numerals are of two types. The most common one is alphabetical: The arithmetical numbers [1-10] are such that each numeral has the value of the quantitative value of the preceding one plus One. They use the letters of the alphabet to symbolize the arithmetical number "1-10". The names of the letters [of the numerals] are: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Digamma [F], Zeta, Eta, Theta, Iota.
The numerals would not be read by using the names of the letters [Alpha, Beta,...], but by using the numbers' names: En, Duo, Treis, Tettara, Pente, Hex, Hepta, Okto, Ennea, Deka. (Eleven would be written by letter Iota followed by Alpha. So, here we see the use of "pente" as an arithmetical number [i.e., the sum of five units].)

The acrophonic numeral system is somewhat similar to the Etruscan/Roman numeral system; it employs vertical lines for units; the letter P, which is the initial of the word Pente, for 5; the letter D, which is the initial of the word Deka, for 10; and so forth, just as the Romans respectively used V, X, and so forth (for 100, 1000, etc.)

The Etruscan/Roman numeral, V, respresents the open hands, that is, the set of five digits; X represents the two open hands (that is, the set of ten digits). The Greek P and D respectively are reminders of the words "Pente" and "Deka." (The numeral for "ten" rests upon the two hands, whether they are represented visually or by the initials of the number-name. The writing system is called decimal or two-handed, as it consists of piled up cycles of tens; this has nothing to do with the decimal PLACE system of later times.)

I feel the word "pente" was coined from some other word; it is not a pristine word. I feel that it must have been based on the Aeolian word PEMPTOS ( = fifth). The shift from M to N is a slur or smoothening phonetic transition. But why Pente rather than *Pentos? Because it imitates the Aeolian PEMPE (= five ). In other words, the people who spoke classical Greek had the ordinal number {5th}, which designates a point or a place in a configuration, but then they coined the name of the arithmetical 5 from it in sound-imitation of, or in the manner of, the Aeolian "pempe."

Now, going back to the left hand whose finger-tips touch or press against a table or other surface: The positional thumb is the fifth finger (the pentos); pentos is the name
of a thing or a point in relation to others; it is not a set of counted units. (They may have used " o pentos" generally to name "thumb" before ever using "anti-cheir.")

The Latin "quinque" has a very distant resonance with the Aeolic "pempe." The Latin Quintus (= 5th) sounds closer to Pemptos/*Pentos. (I think that that past-participle ending ultimately comes from the Aeolic Pemptos rather than from some Latin verb.) The Sanskrit Pancan [pan-can] is most removed from The Aeolic Pempe. Pempe was a constellation of units or points or finger-tips, as we can see from the verb, PempazO: I count by fives [i.e., five, ten, fifteen,....] But since there is the Aeolic word "pempas" [a "five-en" analogous to "doz-en"], what exactly does the word "pempe" designate? What did it originally name?
We have, in the realm of the ten basic numbers, the strange doubling of syllables: pempe (pem-pe), quinque (quin-que or *quim-que), and -- almost a doubling -- "pan-can." But our reading of syllables may be misleading us. The real etym-components of "pempe" may be:
pempe < *p'empe : p- EMPe. [Likewise: p-EMP-tos.]

I don't find an individual word such as "empe," but there exists the verb "empaiO:

empaiO = em-PAI-O
em = en == (Latin) in
empaiO = I beat, impress [press IN], ENgrave. (The art of engraving a figure in metal = empaistikE.)

So, I get the idea that "pempe" was the name of the five finger-tip imprint or impression on a surface (such as a clay tablet). So, the extant "pempas" is any five-en (analogous to doz-en); a pempe is the graphic five-point figure, the earliest way of writing the concept "five." (In the numeral or number-writing system which employes little lines, P, D, etc., the letter P replaces the impressing of a cluster of five points or of cuneiform lines.) Why this cluster was called a pempe rather than simply an empe is still a mystery to me, unless it is a device to express the past tense or something already made (which is otherwise done by doubling the initial part of a verb, or prefixing an e to a verb). Since the verb etym is PE or PAI, the doubling might have been done thus: pe-empe:

*pe-empe > *p'empe > *pempe.

In the Latin "five", quinque, that verb etym does not appear to be the Aeolic PE/PAI:

quinque < *quimque <*quemque < *kw-em-KWE,

since it is unlikely that the P sound became the Q sound (the KW sound, as linguists usually render Q).
The Greek acrophonic numeral system is not really similar to the Etruscan one (which is based upon the extending and withdrawing of fingers). The verticle little lines (for numbers 1-4) are tally lines or incision-lines, while, as noted before, the Greek letters [P and D] are the initials of the word for 5 and for 10 respectively [Pente; Deka]. So,
|||| = 4 {tettara}; P|||| = 9; which is followed by D =10. The acrophonic system reflects the earliest writing of numerals itself [incision] rather than finger movements. The alphabetical system involves using a single symbol for the sets of units (as is the case with the single Arabic symbols we use for the first nine integers).
The German numbers are: eins, zwei, drei, vier, umlauted funf [fuenf], sechs, sieben, acht, neun, zeh. One can easily see that the English numbers are cognates of the German ones, and that these are cognates of Latin and Greek.

The German 5 clearly shows the phenomenon of doubling that we found in Aeolic. Let us notice the phonetic variations:

Aeolic: P'emPe
Cl. Greek: (P'enTe)
Latin: Qu'imQUe
German: F'uenF; Old German: F'imF
English: F' iVe

Sanskrit (P'anCan) is close to Latin (a variant) in the main etym, but like Aeolic in the initial or doubling sound. So, I would say that the Sanskrit is a variant of the ultimate word, namely PEMPE, or a predecessor with the same structure. (Sanskrit is not the mother of I.E. words; a pool of Mideastern words is the substrate of many languages.) Lithuanian is close to Aeolic than Sanskrit: Penki`.

The Latin Q and the Sanskrit C, or Lithuanian K, are similar, but no one precisely knows the sound that Q represented. The modern Q [retold as KW], as in "quote", is likely to be different from the original one. In its history, Latin lost the aspiration before a vowel represented by H (but existing in English) as well as the guttural C before a consonant, as in "sanctus" (totally gone in Italian).

Greek has a normal C, namely K, as in "kept," as well as an aspirated C, spelled X in Greek, and usually transcribed into Roman letters as CH, as in stomach or chemistry. The Greek XY [Romanized as CHU] does not sound like KY ; the sound of "XY" is preserved in some words of my native south Italian dialect which used to be Greek but predominantly became Latin. There are no Roman/Italian letters to represent the Greek XY [chi ypsilon], unless I see that the Roman Q was precisely equivalent to the Greek X before the Y sound. So, I posit:

Greek XY (*=) Latin QU.

So, if quinque were to be transcribed into Greek, the word would look like this: XYINXYE [XY'INXYE].

The Aeolic etym Pe , or a preceding similar sound, had the variations of Classical Greek T, Latin Q (the sound of X in the Greek script), Sanskrit C, Lithuanian K, and Germanic F. These are not ordinary phonetic shifts, even granting that they did not occur within short period of time, but they are admissible in view of the COGNATE ANATOMY of the word for "five" in those languages: P'em<P>e.

In humanistic times, Pythagoras will be the mathematician who explicitly talked about calculation [arithmetical, counting] numbers and figurative (geometrical) numbers... which I tried to explain in vain to some mathematicians, and without the understanding of which they are eternally puzzled by the Pythagorean position that the unit (the arithmetical unit) is indivisible, or why the dynamic ultimate constituents of the universe are indivisible (atomic).


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23 Posts

Posted - 10 Feb 2006 :  05:52:11  


-- MEAD, MULSE, and WINE --


A quotation from the Indo-Europeanistic "Online Etymological Dictionary," followed by a commentary of mine, and a continued discussion.

MEAD (1) Look up mead at Dictionary.com
"fermented honey drink," O.E. medu, from P.Gmc. *meduz (cf. O.N. mjöðr, Dan. mjød, O.Fris., M.Du. mede, Ger. Met "mead"), from PIE base *medhu- "honey, sweet drink" (cf. Skt. madhu "sweet, sweet drink, wine, honey," Gk. methy "wine," O.C.S. medu, Lith. medus "honey," O.Ir. mid, Welsh medd, Breton mez "mead"). Synonymous but unrelated early M.E. meþeglin yielded Chaucer's meeth.
mead (2) Look up mead at Dictionary.com
End of Quote/

What is the origin of the word "mead"? As you see from the quotation, it comes from the Proto-Indo-European root "medhu." Now "*medhu" means that this root or etym has been inferred from the European words listed before it, not from any attestation [literary evidence of the occurrence of such a root or word]. The inference is made according to a phonological method which the proto-Indo-Europeists make. So, if medhu is the root, then the German, Greek, and some other words are essentially sound-variations of "medhu."

So much for phonological orthodoxy. The truth is that the Germanic meDh words (from which "medhu" was inferred") -- namely Old English (Anglo-Saxon), Danish, etc. -- are attested in A.D. times, even though they undoubtedly existed earlier. The earliest attested word is the classical Greek word METHY (whose Y is transliterated into the Latin script as either y or u). So the mu, epsilon, theta, and ypsilon of the Greek word are stated in the Latin script as either METHY or METHU. (Well known historical variations of the theta (TH) sound result in either T or D amongst other populations; sometimes even amongst the Greeks.)

In my investigations, I found that the meaning of METHY is "an intoxicating (or inebriating) beverage" and specifically, for the Greeks, wine.
The idea of a "fermented honey [or sweet] drink" is that writer's definition, not the meaning of the word "meade;" the definition comes from the use of honey in beverages in non-Greek cultures. Thereafter the words derived from Methy may have been generalized and, therefore, applied to what is presently called mead (which is inebriating but is not a wine). The history of the meaning of the word (or its sound-variations) bear witness to types of fermented beverages which have been invented. (Phonologists deal with words non-historically but make historical inferences.)

A little Greek vocabulary:
Methy/Methu = inebriating beverage; wine.
Methystes = drunkard. (Social drinking, as in Plato's symposium gathering, was of wine mixed with an equal quantity of water, but the fellows fell asleep late in the night while Socrates was still talking about love.)
MethyO = I am drunk.
MethyscO = I get drunk.
The very fact of the many verb-formations from "methy" point to the antiquity and priority of "methy." Greek and Latin (and Italian) have the (i)sc interjection to express becoming (turning to, getting) which Old English and other languages do not have. The bare "methy" must be a word borrowed by other languages; there is no PIE etym for "mead".

(The quoted definition of mead is incorrect: The word "fermentation" comes from Latin, but whatever its origin, the NOTION of fermentation is NOT a connotation of the Greek word "Methy;" this Greek word connotes inebriation as we can see from the verbs based (coined) upon it. So, it must be the modern definer of the word that introduced the notion of fermentation into the definition, since he was thinking of the fermentation that occurs in the making of mead, wine, and the like -- which means that the author did not really know the full meaning of the original etym or word. This implies that the phonologically constructed/inferred etym, "*medhu," does not contain the notion of inebriation. And, incidentally, the notion of honey or sweetness is not present in the etym METHY. So, "*meduh" is not the source-concept of anything.)

I disposed of the alleged etym which had been phnologically inferred but, a while later, I wondered what is the the Latin word for Meade? Italian dictionaries give the obsolete word "mulsa" or "mulso" for Mead. But this corresponds to the English MULSE (boiled wine sweetened with honey). Mulse or Mulsa is not equivalent with Mead either in sound or in meaning. A Latin dictionary translates Mead into Mulsum (the ancestral word of Mulsa and Mulse) and obviously does not help.

I supposed that Latin-speaking people did not know mead and therefore did not have a cognate for it. However, I decided to consult the etymological studies made by Semerano [Cf.: Le Origini della Cultura Europea, 4 volumes]. Fortunately he has an entry for Mead. Being a historian of words, he points out that mead is the most ancient beverage of Germans and then lists also the Latin word for it: MEDUS. He does not state that either word was the parent of the other, but quotes Isidore's etymology of the Latin Medus, "quasi melus, quia ex melle fit, sicut calamitas pro cadamitas." I translate: Medus is "practically Melus, because it is made from honey, just as [the word] Calamitas is practically Cadamitas." The late Roman times Isidore is saying that as Calamity is a variation of Cadamity, Medus is a variation of *Melus [a honey or honeyed thing], because... mead (or the mead he knew) is made with honey.

Semerano does not commit himself to Isidore's etymology, and neither do I. I am certain that the Greek Meth(y) and the Latin Med(us) are cognates, as the etym is practically one and the same, and I feel that the Latin word is derived, like most of its words, from Greek. But the Greek verbs which are based on Methy bespeak of inebriation, not of sweetening or honeying. Therefore, I doubt that the etym "med/meth-" has anything to do with "mel/honey-." Isidore was wrong. So, I keep on maitaining that the base of the Germanic word is the most ancient Greek "methy."

Semerano mentions an antecedent of the Greek Methy, namely the Akkadian Matqu [= sweet], but if Methy does not connote sweetness or honey, then there is no affinity between the two words. "Methy" is an ultimate etym in the languages under consideration and Semerano happens to be wrong in seeing Akkadian [or Sumerian-Akkadian] as its antecedent. [His quoted Greek and Akkadian words are homonyms, not cognates: they look or sound alike but they differ radically in meaning.]
The words MULSE and Mulsa are from from the Latin Mulsum, which come from the verb "Mulceo, -es, Mulsi, Mulsum, Mulcere." It means: I caress; soothen; alleviate; and the like. An ancient Latin etymologist equates Mulcere with Mollire (to soften) or Lenire (to alleviate). It does not connote sweet taste, honey, or the like. While we define mulse as boiled and sweetened wine, the inherent notion of mulse is that the wine is smoothened or soothed, wine which is harsh or pungent or too dry. (Apparently the ancients did not as a rule make wine out of grapes picked and kept in the sun for some dessiccation, wherefore the resulting wine is one of the mellowest liquors, as I experienced once in my life).

What is the original etym of mulc(ere) or muls(um)? Semerano mentions some Semitic words like Maraq and Maraha, whose meaning is like that of Mulcere, but here we have drastically different etyms, MR and MLC. Those Semitic words can translate Mulcere but are not cognates of Mulcere. There is no way that MLC is derived from MR.

On the other hand, Semerano mentions an affine Greek word, MALAK(os). Here we have indeed the identical consonantal etym, MLK (with the C in the Latin Script). Malakos means Soft or Mellow! So, we discover another ultimate Greek etym.
The English word WINE is written differently from Win, just as Made is written differently from Mad for obvious phonetic reasons. We need not be concerned with the terminal "-e" which is mute today or the different sounds of the "i" in those two words; we need only be aware that the "w" represents a sound which is more or less identical to what is spelled "u" in some other languages. [wine = uain, in Latin orthography.]
(Elsewhere, "war" is best transcribed as "guor" and actually occurs in the Italian "guerra" and French "guerre," from a Gothic or Longobard word. Thirdly, there is the aspirated "w" or "wh" of "who," akin to the sound of the Greek chi or archaic Latin Q.)

We don't have any information about the history of "wine," but we can easily find out that it is a cognate of the Latin "vinum" (and of related languages, such as the Italian "vino.") The Latin letter "v" represents two variations of a sound: V and U. So,

win(e) <= vin(um), where "um" is the designator of the subject or nominative case of the word. So,
WIN- or Old English UIN- <= Latin VIN or UIN.

Proceeding from Latin, we can say that UIN is the etym which is shared my many languages. (The letters V, W, and U in various languages can represent one and the same sound.)

Under the heading of VINUM, Semerano introduces the Etruscan "vinum" but does not indicate whether Latin or Etruscan is the base word. He also introduces Semitic cognates or apparent cognates:
Ugaritic: jn [where the Latin J has the same phonetic value of I or of the English Y];
Canaanite: jain;
Arabic : wajn [practically the English "wine"].
As he does not indicate which word is etymologically prior or basic, one would have to investigate whether the ancient Arabs had a wine culture. If not, then the Semitic words are derived or borrowed from some "Indo-European" language: either Vinum or an older cognate of Vinum, oinos.

So, I turn to Semerano's Greek entry for "wine."

Greek OINOS = OIN(os), where "os" is the nominative case ending, = vin(um); wine.
The sound V or U of vinum is a variant of the sound OI of oinos. The shared etym is OIN or UIN.

Before anything else, here a short Greek vocabulary (selected from a lexikon):

oinos = wine.
oinos krithinos = barley wine, which leads to the specification:
oinos ampeelinos = vine wine [grape wine];
oinomeli =(mixture of) wine and honey.
oinopotazO = I drink wine.
oinopoieO = I make (prepare) wine.
oinobareO = I am full of wine; I am drunk.
oinizO = I smell wine.

From these words we can see that "oinos" does not primarily connote an inebriating beverage, but an extracted or squeezed out liquid which has a certain smell, or water flavored by certain (boiled/fermenting) grains. (I noted earlier that wine used to be mellowed by either diluting with water or by making a mulse. In Neolitic times and later times, the barley drink was used in the Eleusinian rites, whereas the grape drink was used in the Dionysian rites. Barley and wheat were associated strictly with Demeter, the grain-vegetation goddess.) There is some evidence that the Sumerians, who originated the culture of wheat and of barley, were adept at preparing beverages, such as wine and the barley drink.

Semerano lists other cognates, such as:
Umbrian [an Italic language]: vinu.
Armenian: guni.
Albanese: vene.
Hittite : wiyana.
Arabic: wajn.
Ethiopic: wajn.
(But there is no historic indication as to how old these Arabic and Ethiopic words are; they may have been acquired from the Semitic spoken in the Levant: Canaanite, Akkadian, Babylonian.) The Hittite, Italic, and Albanese words would be consequent on the Greek one.

He also points out that a painting at Thebes, in ancient Egypt, shows the pressing of grapes and the squirting of the must [fresh-made wine] from two holes. This idea of the squiring or springing liquid, or of a spig, seems to be found in the Babylonian "inu" and the Aklkadian "inum." (Babylonia and Akkad where hybrid cultures or states constituted by Sumer and arriving Semitic-speaking people.) So, Semerano sees that "vinum" harkens back to these two words.

Oinos, as I have indicated, seems to designate a squeezed or pressed liquid, which is consonant with the Sumero-Akkadian connotation of the word, but it is practically impossible to determine which is the oldest word in the bunch.

The cultivation of wheat and barley may have started in Sumer, but such grains were known and used before, and so were grapes. As pottery is anterior to agriculture, it is possible that the barley drink and the grape drink were prepared before the advent of agriculture. It is certain that the Eleusinian rites harken back to pre-agricultural times, when generation of plants and animals was thought of in terms of the begetting female (by parthenogenesis). Dionysus is not a generating male by means of the seed, which would make him a person of agricultural times; indeed he is specifically known as being effeminate. He is the vine whose bood is shed for the salvation (immortalization) of men. The goat-attired satyrs and the bacchae bleed the dythyrambic Dionysus to death and drink of him, and eat his flesh. The satyrs then break into the trago-oide [goat-song; traged(y)], which keeps on resounding and growing through the ages. Wine could have been invented in more than one place, but who else could have invented the wine cult? Probably the vine cultivation was started by Dionysians in Crete, whence it spread into the Aegean lands and into Egypt.

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