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On the Use of Iconic Elements in Etymological Investigation: Some Case Studies from Greek

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Iconic elements are generally held to be problematic for the purposes of etymological investigation, for they often show synchronic oddities and behave irregularly from a diachronic standpoint. However, it is possible, under the appropriate circumstances, to use such elements to advantage in etymologizing. Three examples of this nature are presented from Greek. In each of these, it is shown that a recognition of a phonosemantic value for the Modern Greek affricate [t8] (graphic ) enables one to make a principled decision regarding otherwise controversial etymologies. [t8] is argued to hold a special place functionally in the Modern Greek phonological system, participating in an extensive network of sound-symbols, for instance, and from that observation.a case can be built for the etymologies of three morphemes--the diminutive suffix - itsa the verb tsimpoo "I pinch" and the substantive tsiggouves "stingy, miserly"--that participate in the network too.


Les éléments iconiques posent souvent des problèmes pour letymologie, à cause de leurs irregularités du point de vue syn chronique et diachronique. Ici, cependant, on présente trois cas pris du grecque post-classique où une valeur phonosémantique pour le son [ts] (en grec) permet à arriver à une décision concernant des choix difficiles pour létymologie du suffix diminutive -itsa du verbe tsimpoo "je pince", et du substantif tsiggouves "avare, chiche". On notera que la participation du [t8] dans un réseau des mots expressifs est très important pour cette démonstration de l'utilité des éléments iconiques dans les investigations étymologiques.


Lautsymbolische und ikonische Elemente sind oft problematisch in der Etymologieforschung, veil sie synchronische und diachronische Unregelma ßigkeiten aufweisen. Hier verden drei Fallstudien aus dem postklassischen Griechischen aufgezeigt, vo die Anerkennung eines phonosemantischen Wertes fur den Laut [t8] ( in griechischen Buchstaben) die Entscheidung zvischen einigen möglichen Etymologien für das Suffix "-itsa lein, -chen", das Verbum tsimpoo "ich kneife", und das Substantiv tsiggouves "Geizhals; geizig", erlaubt. Es erveist sich, daß die Teilnahme des [ts] in einem Gefüge affektiver Wörter sehr wichtig ist, venn es darum geht. die Etymologien lautsymbolischer Ausdrucke zu erfassen.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1987-01-01

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