Monday, November 30, 2009

Another form bites the dust

On pages 36, 88, and 405 I quote the supposed Pamphylian Greek form ϝεχέτω ‘let one bring’. I should have followed my normal practice and double-checked the original context. In fact, according to Claude Brixhe, there is no such Pamphylian form. Brixhe reads the third letter as a "trident", i.e. a letter normally used in Pamphylian to represent the reflex of *-k(h)j-. This makes it unlikely that this form has anything to do with Latin vehō, and certainly is not directly superimposable on the thematic present reflected by Latin and Indo-Iranian. Still, true cognates of vehō are found in Greek, e.g. ὄχος 'carriage' and ὀχέομαι 'am carried, ride'. In the first two contexts (pp. 36 and 88) these forms can be substituted since the question at hand is the Greek reflex of the root-final consonant. In the third context the supposed ϝεχέτω is cited to support the e-grade simple thematic, but this it obviously cannot do. Greek has no clear evidence to support that particular present-stem formation, which, of course, is abundantly supported elsewhere—though some uses of ἔχω in Homer in the sense 'guide' have been alleged to reflect the w-initial root. So ϝεχέτω joins the long list of forms that are just a little too good to be true.

On the Pamphylian trident letter see: Brixhe, Claude. 2005. Le psi et le "trident" dans l'alphabet grec de pamphylie. In F. Poli and G. Vottéro (eds.), De Cyrène à Catherine: Trois mille ans de Libyennes. Études grecques et latines offertes à Catherine Dobias-Lalou. Paris: De Boccard, 59–65.

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