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Discussion in 'Ελληνικά (Greek)' started by Juan del Acebo, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. Juan del Acebo New Member

    Cambridge, UK
    Dear Greek friends,
    I am trying to ascertain the origin of the word ὀρθοπραξία. It looks to me as a mere parallelism with ὀρθοδοξία, where one would etymologically expect ὀρθοπραξις.
    Any thoughts on this? What would be the authoritative Greek etymological dictionary or some sort of OED comprising all words ever used from medieval times?

    Ευχαριστώ πολύ,
  2. sotos Senior Member

    I didn't know this word. It seems that is a complement or "sister" of ortho-doxy. The one means "correct thinking" and the other "correct acting". The etymology is obvious. The question is why ορθοπραξία and not ορθόπραξις. Let's say it is a Greekism. Compare to ευταξία instead of εύταξις, αταξία and not α-τάξις. A possible ορθόπραξις would give the notion of "correct action", while ορθοπραξία has the notion of a "system of thought, a theory about acting correctly".
  3. Αγγελος Senior Member

    It is certainly a rare word, which, I would suspect, has reentered Greek from French or some other Western European language. Its formation, however, is perfectly normal. Compound nouns whose first element is NOT a preposition and whose second element is a verbal noun regularly end in -ία. Compare αυτογνωσία vs. διάγνωσις, μυθοπλασία vs. διάπλασις, αρτοκλασία, λιθοτριψία... (not to mention examples like ορθογραφία or ανυποληψία, which could arguably be considered derivatives of ορθογράφος or ανυπόληπτος rather than compound nouns).
  4. Juan del Acebo New Member

    Cambridge, UK
    Thanks to both for the comments and the examples. The semantic nuance mentioned by sotos is very interesting. I wonder, can you recommend an etymological dictionary of modern Greek? What authority would you yourselves use for the history of a modern word?
    Thanks again,
  5. Αγγελος Senior Member

    1. I don't think I agree with the semantic nuance mentioned by sotos. ορθόπραξις simply does not exist. ορθοπραξία definitely makes one think of religion: I would understand it as "the correct performance of rites".

    2. Babiniotis' dictionary includes etymologies (though not for ορθοπραξία, or, for that matter, for ορθοδοξία), going back, when possible, all the way to IndoEuropean.
    The Λεξικό της κοινής νεοελληνικής also includes etymologies and has the advantage of being available on line for free (http://www.greek-language.gr/greekLang/modern_greek/tools/lexica/triantafyllides/index.html) -- BUT it lacks the word ορθοπραξία, and even for ορθοδοξία gives the rather meager etymology "[λόγ. < ελνστ. ὀρθοδοξία `σωστή γνώμη, ορθοδοξία΄]", which wouldn't be of much help to one who didn't already know that δόξα used to mean 'opinion' as well as 'glory'!
  6. sotos Senior Member

    Certainly ορθόπραξις does not exist. I only explained what it would mean if was existing. But my "theory" applies in (at least some) of the examples you displayed. e.g. διάγνωσις (diagnosis) is an act, while αυτογνωσία is "knowing yourshelf" which is a way of thinking or living. Ορθογραφία is "the art or knowledge of correctly spelling", while δια-γραφή, συγ-γραφή, περι-γραφή, κατα-γραφή etc are actions.

    I looked a religious text using ορθοπραξία, and I see that they mean something like "living correctly, as a good orthodox", not perform rites correctly. Here it is:
    "το δόγμα και το ήθος, η πίστι και η ζωή, η ορθοδοξία και η ορθοπραξία, ή ακόμη απλούστερα το τί πιστεύει και το πώς ζη ο ορθόδοξος Χριστιανός."

    I believe Babiniotis' etymological dictionary is good.

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