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Thread: Greek morf-ae and Latin form-a: consonants: MRF - FRM

  1. #21
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    Re: Greek morf-ae and Latin form-a: consonants: MRF - FRM

    Quote Originally Posted by rogermue View Post
    You said: The origin of Topf is completely obscure.
    One indication that there must be something to this right-left theory is that if we have a right-left pair that holds the water then the normal explanation in etymological dictionaries show that either the origin of one word is unknown or the explantions are in a form that leave a lot of room for doubt.
    If the origin is obscure than it is obscure. If you interpret every case where there is doubt as an indication in favour of your theory you are lying to yourself. The significance of confirmation of scientific theories lies in riskiness of its predictions. In the way you test your theory, it can't see any possible way by which you possibly could find out that you are wrong, if you are wrong because all you are interested in is accumulating cases that "could" be explained by your theory.

    The special issue with Topf is that it can't even be traced back to MHG, let alone OHG. But for equating /p/ and /pf/ to hold water, you would have to be able to explain why the newer word Topf underwent the 2nd Germanic sound shift and the older word Pot not.

  2. #22
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    Re: Greek morf-ae and Latin form-a: consonants: MRF - FRM

    If Topf can't be traced back to MHG then Topf must be a relatively young formation.
    And consonant sounds change along in their row of development not only as Grimm and others stated with their laws, consonant sounds can change at any times. In German we write Pfennig, but mostly pronounce /pfenich/. This sound shift happens today and it is not necessary to look what specialists for IE said about historical sound shifts. In ancient Greece the various dialects show that consonsants change from one dialect to the other and you can observe this phenomenon everywhere. Everywhere at any time little shifts can be observed, often so minimal in certain positions that it is hardly observed.
    So if I connect Topf and Pot I don't have any need to discuss a sound change centuries ago (second Germanic sound shift). I say Pferd, in northern Germany they say Ferd. For me it is enough to observe this difference today, it is not necessary for me to study when and how often in history /pf/ was deduced to /f/.

    Grimm deduced his rules or laws about consonant change by comparing cognate words in IE (Greek, Latin), Germanic and High German. Between these stages are centuries and a lot of things can have happened in these centuries. But Grimm had no idea of RLE and I must say we or I don't know the mechanics of RLE exactly. But I'm sure they are a bit different from those of normal etymology. We can't transfer automatically what we know about consonant change from normal etymology to RLE. I don't know why Pot has a counterpart in Topf (and not Top). There can be a lot of factors that make that decision. But I'm not so much interested to explain why we have pf and not p, I only state it is highly probable that Pot and Topf belong together.
    Last edited by rogermue; 1st February 2013 at 10:17 AM.

  3. #23
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    Re: Greek morf-ae and Latin form-a: consonants: MRF - FRM

    The reduction of /pf/ to /f/ is because the phoneme is non-native in Low and Middle German and speakers simplify this "foreign" sound. The native word is Perd, not Pferd or Ferd. The issue here is that the sound shift /p/>/pf/ is not plausible for words that were created after the 2nd Germanic sound shift. You would need to produce examples where this demonstrably happened.

    The pronunciation pfennig with [-ç] is quite regular. The original Germanic realization of /g/ as was fricative [ɣ] (sounding like a softer version of the French/German "r") with allophonic variant [ʝ] (that's why dag became day in English). The suffix [-ɪç] is then the regular outcome of German Auslautverhärtung (final devoicing) applied to [-ɪʝ]. As you see, it is not sufficient to say "Because all kind of changes happen, all these differences are negligible". You often can and therefore at least have to try to look at the story behind them, if you want to be taken seriously.

  4. #24
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    Re: Greek morf-ae and Latin form-a: consonants: MRF - FRM

    In case anyone is still interested in the original question: I have looked the two words up in the Greek and Latin etymological dictionaries, all of which admit that they are problematic and of uncertain origin. However, Beekes, in his recent Greek etymological dictionary, considers the possibility that μορφή ‘shape, beauty, grace’ might come from *mergwh-h2-, which could then also account for the hitherto unexplained Lithuanian mergà ‘girl’. In this case, *mergwh- could have been metathesised to *gwherm- , o-grade *gwhorm- , whence proto-Latin *form-, and then finally, with secondary lengthening of the vowel, fōrma. I find this very attractive.

    The ‘Etruscan loanword’ hypothesis has been around for a long time and has been supported by such famous scholars as Benveniste. It involves Greek μορφή being borrowed into Etruscan, where it undergoes first assimilation to *morma, then dissimilation to *forma > fōrma. In this way it avoids any direct connection between φ and f.

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    Re: Greek morf-ae and Latin form-a: consonants: MRF - FRM

    Quote Originally Posted by fdb View Post
    *mergwh- could have been metathesised to *gwherm-
    Do you have other examples of this type of super-long-distance metathesis in IE, where two non-liquid consonants switch places across an intervening consonant (and vowel)? You say above that it is "very common".

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    Re: Greek morf-ae and Latin form-a: consonants: MRF - FRM

    Quote Originally Posted by CapnPrep View Post
    Do you have other examples of this type of super-long-distance metathesis in IE, where two non-liquid consonants switch places across an intervening consonant (and vowel)?
    Off hand: Avestan maγna- < *nagma- ‘naked’; the same root, but with even more elaborate metathesis, in Greek γυμνός.

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    Re: Greek morf-ae and Latin form-a: consonants: MRF - FRM

    Quote Originally Posted by berndf View Post
    You seem to be mislead by modern pronunciation when you write:In classical Greek ph (φ) was not yet pronounced like an f. It was rather pronounced as transcribed into the Latin alphabet: p-h, i.e. like a German aspirated /p/ as in Papier but not as in spielen. The letter is how the regular p (π) was pronounced.
    I have been thinking about this a bit. If we assume that Greek morph-ae was taken by the Romans - and this would be natural, but it is only an assumption - and if we read morph- from right to left, then Greek phi is in initial position and in initial position a Greek phi becomes Latin f and a Greek phi in mid-position becomes Latin b.
    So I don't really see what is the problem if I assume that morph-ae and form-a are right-left counterparts.

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    Re: Greek morf-ae and Latin form-a: consonants: MRF - FRM

    Quote Originally Posted by rogermue View Post
    ...then Greek phi is in initial position and in initial position a Greek phi becomes Latin f and a Greek phi in mid-position becomes Latin b.
    How and why? I don't understand what you mean.

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    Re: Greek morf-ae and Latin form-a: consonants: MRF - FRM

    Greek -- Latin
    phyae -- fuga
    pheugoo - fugio/fugere
    pheroo /phoréoo -- fero/ferre

    Please excuse my private transcription of Greek words with Latin letters. But it's so cumbersome to handle all those special letters.
    Last edited by rogermue; 2nd February 2013 at 2:56 PM.

  10. #30
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    Re: Greek morf-ae and Latin form-a: consonants: MRF - FRM

    Do you understand the difference between borrowings (Entlehnungen) and cognates (Urverwandte)?

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    Re: Greek morf-ae and Latin form-a: consonants: MRF - FRM

    It doesn't matter if the words are borrowings or cognates. It was not my objection that forma and morph-ae can't belong together. And it was not my statement that the Romans took the word from the Greeks. If I find right-left pairs I don't ask how they came into being or who had the word first. In most cases there's no way to answer such questions.

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    Re: Greek morf-ae and Latin form-a: consonants: MRF - FRM

    Quote Originally Posted by rogermue View Post
    Greek -- Latin
    phyae -- fuga
    pheugoo - fugio/fugere
    pheroo /phoréoo -- fero/ferre

    Please excuse my private transcription of Greek words with Latin letters. But it's so cumbersome to handle all those special letters.
    φυγή
    φεύγω
    φέρω/φέρειν?

  13. #33
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    Re: Greek morf-ae and Latin form-a: consonants: MRF - FRM

    Thank you, Perseas, for writing the Greek words with Greek letters. I have enough to do if I have to write French letters with accents. Almost ten clicks for an e circonflexe.

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    Re: Greek morf-ae and Latin form-a: consonants: MRF - FRM

    Quote Originally Posted by rogermue View Post
    Thank you, Perseas, for writing the Greek words with Greek letters. I have enough to do if I have to write French letters with accents. Almost ten clicks for an e circonflexe.
    Try this site, it might help you: http://gr.translit.ru/

    You can either select the characters from the top row, or simply type in the box with your regular Latin keyboard, and it will be converted to Greek (even the digraphs).

  15. #35
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    Re: Greek morf-ae and Latin form-a: consonants: MRF - FRM

    Quote Originally Posted by rogermue View Post
    And it was not my statement that the Romans took the word from the Greeks.
    Yes, you did. In #4, #5, #11 and #27. You left it open who took it whom from whom but you insisted on borrowings. A possibility of Greek φ = Latin f was so far only established for cognates. For borrowings you'd have to demonstrate how.

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    Re: Greek morf-ae and Latin form-a: consonants: MRF - FRM

    Thanks a lot xari, I know lexilogos and others, but writing signs I don't have on my keyboard is a lot of work all the same and I prefer to avoid it.
    But I will try your letter-side.

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    Re: Greek morf-ae and Latin form-a: consonants: MRF - FRM

    Quote Originally Posted by berndf View Post
    Yes, you did. In #4, #5, #11 and #27. You left it open who took it whom from whom but you insisted on borrowings. A possibility of Greek φ = Latin f was so far only established for cognates. For borrowings you'd have to demonstrate how.
    I think I made it clear enough that I don't consider such questions as 'borrowed from' - I don't talk about things I can't know.

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    Re: Greek morf-ae and Latin form-a: consonants: MRF - FRM

    Quote Originally Posted by rogermue View Post
    I think I made it clear enough that I don't consider such questions as 'borrowed from' - I don't talk about things I can't know.
    You made it clear enough that you think those words were taken by one language from another
    Quote Originally Posted by rogermue View Post
    In the end the source might be a semitic word,
    the Greeks may have borrowed it reading it in its original direction, the Romans may have borrowed it as well from a Semitic language changing the direction.
    Just a hypothesis to show what possibilities would be to consider. All that is far to complicated. So I only say: this pair belongs together, no more.
    The Issue with cognates is that they aren't taken at all. The had always been there ("always" of course means "since common proto-language of the languages concerned" ).

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    Re: Greek morf-ae and Latin form-a: consonants: MRF - FRM

    By mere chance I have just found an interesting entry in Etymological dictionary of the Latin Language by Francis Valpy, 1828:

    forma, a shape, figure, form. Transposed from μορφά.

    I hope I understand 'transposed' right as to swap, e.g. to swap numbers.
    So I think Valpy says the same as I do. Or am I mistaken?
    Last edited by rogermue; 2nd February 2013 at 7:22 PM.

  20. #40
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    Re: Greek morf-ae and Latin form-a: consonants: MRF - FRM

    In 1828 the principles of Indo-European comparative linguistics had not yet been discovered. If you want to know what modern scholars have to say do take a look at no. 24.

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