Lost consonant(s) affecting alpha-privative

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

Lost consonant(s) affecting alpha-privative

Post by Stephen Hughes » December 14th, 2015, 12:53 pm

Barry Hofstetter in [url=http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/viewtopic.php?f=61&t=3468&p=23201#p23185]another thread[/url] wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:
If you are wanting to prefix an alpha-privative to the beginning of a word itself beginning with a vowel, there is a high likelihood that the form of the alpha-privative will be ὰν-. Depending on how you think about it or postulate an argument to explain it, the ἀ-/ἀν- could be described as adding (or dropping) the ν before a vowel (or before a consonant), or as deriving from a nasalised vowel "ạ", which resolves into either an ἀ- or an ἀν- depending on whether the word it was prefixed to begins with (or previously began with) a consonant or a vowel. The word you ought to have been using, before getting the suggestion given, is a derivative of ἄνορθος "leaning", "not upright". An example of a word where the alpha-privative before a vowel is written without the ν is ἀόρατος -ον "unseen".
You allude to the reason above. Historically, there was a digamma, so that the root was ϝορ-. Remembering what words began with a digamma originally is also important for doing proper scansion in Homeric Greek... :?
Is the "h" itself (cf. ὁρᾶν) strong enough to require the ἀ- form of the alpha-privative, rather than the ἀν-?
Colossians 1:16 wrote:τὰ ὁρατὰ καὶ τὰ ἀόρατα,
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1145
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: Lost consonant(s) affecting alpha-privative

Post by Barry Hofstetter » December 15th, 2015, 10:44 am

I don't think so. It certainly doesn't affect scansion, and wasn't considered a consonant.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
ἐγὼ δὲ διδάσκω τε καὶ γράφω ἵνα τὰ ἀξιώτερα μανθάνω

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