Another lexical entry question

Semantic Range, Lexicography, and other approaches to word meaning - in general, or for particular words.
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Alan Bunning
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Another lexical entry question

Post by Alan Bunning » December 9th, 2016, 2:56 pm

I am having trouble figuring out what form to use for lexical entries involving compound words beginning with prepositions such as εν and συν. Some may not be aware that critical texts and lexicons display the spellings of some words in sanitized forms that do not appear in the wild. The rules of consonant transformations that I learned in Greek class such as εν becoming εγ or εμ, and συν becoming συγ, συλ, or συμ are applied inconsistently in real manuscripts, and in some cases are non-existent (at least up to 400 AD). The problem I am having is that lexicons such as BDAG always show the sanitized forms, even when no such words exist. For example, words such as ενκατυκεω, ενκρινω, ενβαπτιζω, συνκατανευω, συνχωρεω, συνπεριβαλλω, συνποσια, etc. only appear in these forms in the NT. Perhaps it is just me, but it does not seem right to display these words in a form that never occurs.

There are more examples than these, and a lot more examples where both forms occur but the most common spelling is without those transformations. It would be nice to be able to show all the words with one convention because then they would appear together in sorted order. But if I had to choose an all-or-nothing approach, I would show them without the transformations because that is the most prevalent way they appear in the NT in most cases. It would also help a novice find the augmented forms easier because they also begin with εν and συν. Yet, there are some cases where the transformation is the most common spelling so I am not sure what to do. Do you have any advice?

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Another lexical entry question

Post by Stephen Hughes » December 9th, 2016, 9:24 pm

D'ya wanna 'elp the styudnent read 'loud or use a dic'shenry?

Some details of spelling either reflects historical norms or how words were pronounced in practice.

I think that the spelling issue in the case of ενκατυκεω, is a slightly different one. The homophony (ie. in pronunciation) of the former diphthong οι, and the vowel υ leads to some such spellings. BDAG uses the historically (pior and after) conventional spelling ἐγκατοικέω, despite that that would have been pronounced identically as ενκατυκεω during the period when the NT was commited to papyrus.

Just how many of the unconventional tricks of a language does someone have to learn till they are no longer considered a no-vice? The situational modification of consonants, such as you have described would be more unfamiliar to people who read the GNT visually, than to those who read it aloud. For example, while this phrase may be written ἐφανέρωσεν ἑαυτὸν πάλιν (John 21:1), when pronounced, it is orally assimilated to ἐφανέρωσεν ἑαυτὸμ πάλιν, because they are orally contiguous (spoken together within the same phrase). In the case of the dialogue and narration Λέγει αὐτοῖς Σίμων Πέτρος, Ὑπάγω ἁλιεύειν. Λέγουσιν αὐτῷ, Ἐρχόμεθα καὶ ἡμεῖς σὺν σοί., there may be no modification of ἁλιεύειν. Λέγουσιν to ἁλιεύειλ. Λέγουσιν, because they are neither in the same phrase, nor in the same voice - one being the narrator, and the other being a character. Another example in that chapter is the spoken τὸμ μαθητὴν for the graphically conventional τὸν μαθητὴν (John 21:20). For someone, who read Greek aloud, or better yet spoke Greek as a language, the issues that you are discussing here about spelling vs. pronunciation of the ν (nu) may seem rather "yeah, and?".
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Alan Bunning
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Re: Another lexical entry question

Post by Alan Bunning » December 10th, 2016, 9:34 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:For someone, who read Greek aloud, or better yet spoke Greek as a language, the issues that you are discussing here about spelling vs. pronunciation of the ν (nu) may seem rather "yeah, and?".
The precise form of the word matters in areas such as textual criticism. Even worse, in addition to the spelling of different scribes, the different authors of the NT may have spelled a word differently, and may not have been consistent themselves. In any case, when I list a word, I will show all of the various spellings. But I still have to pick one form to serve as the lexical entry. So far it seems that my options are:

1. Always show the spelling with the transformation
2. Always show the spelling without the transformation
3. Show the spelling that was the most prevalent (but there are several different ways this could measured statistically)

I guess there also could be,

4. Subjectively show the spelling that I think was the most original?

There are things I don't like about each option. Does anyone have a preference? Or better yet, what do you think would be the most correct way to handle this?

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Another lexical entry question

Post by Stephen Hughes » December 10th, 2016, 3:05 pm

How about choosing the assimilated form (my preference), and also using a vide supra hyperlink, or using the theoretical form, and using a vide infra hyperlink
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Another lexical entry question

Post by Jonathan Robie » December 12th, 2016, 10:44 am

I think the central issue is this: most lexicons are designed for people who read modern critical editions, not the original manuscripts. When you ask this kind of question, my default answer is to rely on the decisions of some existing lexicon, but I'm beginning to see why that's not a good answer for your needs.

Perhaps your real goal is to create a lexicon for readers of the papyrii? If so, perhaps it would make sense to formulate some consistent set of rules that might well be different from those used in most common lexicons. In this particular case, that would mean not using the assimilated forms if they are not the ones usually found in the papyrii, but listing all forms that do occur (perhaps including the ones found in critical editions) with a cross reference to the main entry.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stephen Hughes
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Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: Another lexical entry question

Post by Stephen Hughes » December 13th, 2016, 12:34 am

So long as you have have your augmented Strongs numbers that cover all the words in the manuscripts (as mentioned in the project documentation), the actual form that you take as a lemma could be a matter of preference. If all the words in your text are hyperlinked to the lexicon, there won't be a problem finding the lemma.

Within a broader context of the variations in morphology, something like the NT forms of ἀνοίγνυμι (ἀνοίγω) or ἵστημι (ἱστάνω/ἱστάω) are much more taxing for a reader than whether the velar nasal [ŋ] is represented in Greek orthography by ν (nu) as we regularly find in Latin ("angelus") and English ("anchor") or as γ (gamma) as we find in the Greek (classical) spellings ἄγγελος and ἄγκυρα.

Off topic: The pronunciation of the γ (gamma) as a nasal [ŋ] before μ (mu) has been suggested too.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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