I actually still don't understand it.Shirley Rollinson wrote:The dumb kid is the one who doesn't ask the question.Stephen Hughes wrote:Just a question from the dumb kid at the back of the class...cwconrad wrote:elimination of any ghost-word
What is a "ghost-word"?
The smart kid is the one who realizes that he doesn't know, and has the guts to ask.
cwconrad wrote:In terms of this definition, one of the most common ancient Greek "ghost words" is ποιέω -- it's in the dictionaries and word-lists, it's taught as ποιέω, but that uncontracted form is not found in Greek literature. Many of us think that we should indeed eliminate it and use the contracted infinitive ποιεῖν as a lemma instead of using a ghost word.
There must be a lot of words that either do not occur in their first person singular present indicative(/subjective) active form in the extant literature, or perhaps not in the corresponding infinitival form either. I don't have search capabilities, but I would guess the most common form in the Gospels and Acts is third person singular aorist indicatives, and in the epistles it would be the same, but with second person forms making up a little ground. A lexicographer becomes a creator of language, who follows the grammatical rules of the language to arrive at the "dictionary form" of a word. In the same way, a grammarian applies what they know about the language to fill in forms in a table. At a learner's level that doesn't really phase anyone, but for some research purposes, I could conceive that it would be misleading to rely on conjectured forms uncritically. Building on the scholarship of others is, of course, "progress". On the other hand, it seems regressive to reject forms, when knowing the language we supply the "missing" forms.RandallButh wrote:Not sure that I would call ποιέω a ghost word in the light of Ionic (and we won't forget Lucian's syrian Goddess).
In terms of other scholarly reconstructions, dictionaries refer to conjectured forms with digamma, and conjectured P.I.E. forms for cognates.
If all non-extant forms are technically ghost words, and are thought fit to be eliminated, then I think scholarship is in retrograde. Why? Because, now having the technology to search for all forms of a word, that technology displaces our human ability to apply our natural language skills to a language, we lose something. I mean, what is more intelligent, to point out that neither of the forms λύω nor λύειν occur in the New Testament, or to be able to create them as word-forms, using our language skills?
If we were to be honest about which forms have been found in literature, then I would guess that 85% percent of the forms of words in grammatical tables should be asterixed, and greater then 90% of head-words in dictionaries should be bracketed (in either pres.ind or inf.). But we are using (researching, learning, teaching) a language, not a set of discrete forms. "Analysis" can not easily answer the question, "What would ... ?", but that doesn't make it any less valuable a question.
Having further dumbed myself, I still don't understand what "ghost-words" are?