Prepositions and prefixes - why are they different?

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Mason Barge
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Prepositions and prefixes - why are they different?

Post by Mason Barge » August 19th, 2014, 10:04 am

First off, am I even correct? I have noticed that, apparently, prefixes taken from prepositions will seem to have a meaning in koine Greek that the preposition itself does not have. This is causing me problems learning vocabulary!

Case is point is ἄνα. BDAG and other sources give the preposition one basic meaning, generally indicating direction or position in the middle, and a secondary meaning of "each" or "apiece" when used with numbers, especially.

But as a prefix, I have noticed that ανα- or αν- usually indicates "upwards" in the more common words, and I am starting to see compounds where it indicates "return" or "again" or something close to that, e.g. ἀνοικοδομέω, "rebuild". Another example seems to be "μετα-" which (as far as I can tell) indicates change as a prefix but not as a preposition.

Does this come from a meaning lost to koine that the morpheme had in some Classical period? And more practically, where can I find a list of prefix meanings. Words beginning with "kata" especially seem to give me trouble.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Prepositions and prefixes - why are they different?

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 19th, 2014, 1:34 pm

Permit me to avoid answering your question by saying that the rules and meanings that you're trying to understand once you have memorised a fair number of words and their various meanings.

The rules seem overwhelming taken by themselves, unless you can call to mind some examples. In like manner, mastering the mass of vocabulary seems daunting without some guidance by some rules.

I think it is best approached by shuffling forward left-right-vocab-rules-left-right, rather than striding.

Let me answer what I believe to be the question behind your question, and forgive me I'm wrong...

Play with your memory a little, moving between hard-wiring words to meanings and logical scaffolding to support the learning. People who learn language by using tend to forget it when they stop using, during the time of using it can be grasped in a different way to retain the words. Look at the different ways you use for remembering day-to-day things now compared to 50 years ago, perhaps those ways are more appropriate now. For example, when I was a primary school student, I used to keep what I needed to remember in short term memory by repeating it all the way to the supermarket. Now in middle age, that doesn't work, because I have so many other things to think about. Now I look at the process of need and fulfillment to prompt me. Imagining someone eating reminds me I need to buy noodles, pork and vegetables. Remembering that I hungry while travelling in the taxi reminds me I need to buy beef and bread rolls for sandwiches. I apply that same sort of thought process now to my vocabulary learning. I encourage you to find your way in that too, appropriate to your capabilities.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Prepositions and prefixes - why are they different?

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 19th, 2014, 2:04 pm

Mason Barge wrote:First off, am I even correct? I have noticed that, apparently, prefixes taken from prepositions will seem to have a meaning in koine Greek that the preposition itself does not have. This is causing me problems learning vocabulary!
If you combine a preposition and a word to create a new word, then leave the new word in the language for a long period of time, it may well change meaning. And the nice logical use the prefix once had may no longer be apparent. Why exactly do flammable and inflammable mean the same thing?

Have you read How I met my wife? Some of the examples in that involve prefixes.
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Mason Barge
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Re: Prepositions and prefixes - why are they different?

Post by Mason Barge » August 19th, 2014, 6:43 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
Mason Barge wrote:First off, am I even correct? I have noticed that, apparently, prefixes taken from prepositions will seem to have a meaning in koine Greek that the preposition itself does not have. This is causing me problems learning vocabulary!
If you combine a preposition and a word to create a new word, then leave the new word in the language for a long period of time, it may well change meaning. And the nice logical use the prefix once had may no longer be apparent. Why exactly do flammable and inflammable mean the same thing?

Have you read How I met my wife? Some of the examples in that involve prefixes.
I understand, but in the case of "ανα-", used as a prefix, it indicates "up" time and time again. I was just wondering if this was a lost meaning of the preposition.
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Wes Wood
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Re: Prepositions and prefixes - why are they different?

Post by Wes Wood » August 19th, 2014, 8:33 pm

Let me first say that there are others who are far more qualified than I am to comment here and that I may well be wrong about what I am going to say. Having said that, I don't recall seeing "ana" as a naked preposition in the New Testament with the meaning of "up." My gut tells me that "kata" was in the process of overtaking several of the uses of "ana" during that time. I am offering this primarily as fodder for further discussion. (You can tell from other threads that I am certainly no expert. :) )
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Wes Wood
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Re: Prepositions and prefixes - why are they different?

Post by Wes Wood » August 19th, 2014, 8:39 pm

I should say that I am certain that "kata" and "ana" overlap (see Smyth 1677) and oppose each other (Smyth 1682) in certain usages.
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Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Prepositions and prefixes - why are they different?

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 20th, 2014, 12:14 am

Mason Barge wrote: in the case of "ανα-", used as a prefix, it indicates "up" time and time again. I was just wondering if this was a lost meaning of the preposition.
Prepositions are used with nouns, while prefixes are used with verbs.

Which type of verbs are you looking at? If they are verbs of motion, then they are good candidates for the sense of "up", or "time and time again" (and the less intense "again" - "once more"). If they are not verbs of motion, then the sense of "up" might be difficult.

For preposition with nouns, if used with a verb of motion in the very early period of recorded Greek, might have indicated not only the upward direction of the motion, but also explicated the destination.

Have a look at the dictionary entry here.

In our texts that sense that used to expressed a milenium (or so) earlier with ἀνά (+ acc) with a (un-compounded) verb of motion is expressed by εἰς (+acc) following a verb of motion with ἀνα- prefixed.
John 6:3 wrote:Ἀνῆλθεν δὲ εἰς τὸ ὄρος ὁ Ἰησοῦς, καὶ ἐκεῖ ἐκάθητο μετὰ τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ.
He went up onto the mountain.
Mark 5:1 wrote:Ἰδὼν δὲ τοὺς ὄχλους, ἀνέβη εἰς τὸ ὄρος· καὶ καθίσαντος αὐτοῦ, προσῆλθον αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ·
He went up (step by step) on(to) the mountain...
Mark 4:12 wrote:Ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι Ἰωάννης παρεδόθη, ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν·
He withdrew to Galilee.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Prepositions and prefixes - why are they different?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » August 20th, 2014, 11:00 am

Mason Barge wrote:
I understand, but in the case of "ανα-", used as a prefix, it indicates "up" time and time again. I was just wondering if this was a lost meaning of the preposition.
Here is the entry from the LSJ, always good for the historical usages of the word up until the fall of the Roman empires:

ἀνά [ᾰνᾰ], Aeol., Thess., Arc., Cypr. ὀν, Prep. governing gen., dat., and acc. By apocope ἀνά becomes ἄν before dentals, as ἂν τὸν ὀδελόν; ἄγ before gutturals, as ἂγ γύαλα; ἄμ before labials, as ἂμ βωμοῖσι, ἂμ πέτραις, etc.;
ἀμπεπλεγμένας IG5(2).514.10 (Arc.).
WITH GEN., three times in Od., in phrase ἀνὰ νηὸς βαίνειν go on board ship, 2.416, 9.177, 15.284; ἂν τοῦ τοίχου, τᾶς ὁδοῦ, τοῦ ῥοειδίου, IG14.352i40, ii 15,83 (Halaesa).
WITH DAT., on, upon, without any notion of motion, Ep., Lyr., and Trag. (only lyr.), ἀνὰ σκήπτρῳ upon the sceptre, Il.1.15, Pi.P. 1.6; ἂμ βωμοῖσι Il.8.441; ἀνὰ σκολόπεσσι 18.177; ἀνὰ Γαργάρῳ ἄκρῳ 15.152; ἀνὰ ὤμῳ upon the shoulder, Od.11.128; ἀν ἵπποις, i. e. in a chariot, Pi.O.1.41; ἂμ πέτραις A.Supp.351 (lyr.); ἀνά τε ναυσὶν καὶ σὺν ὅπλοις E.IA754; ἂγ Κόσσῳ GDI1365 (Epirus).
WITH ACCUS., the comm. usage, implying motion upwards:
of Place, up, from bottom to top, up along, κίον' ἀν' ὑψηλὴν ἐρύσαι Od.22.176; ἀνὰ μέλαθρον up to, ib.239; [φλὲψ] ἀνὰ νῶτα θέουσα διαμπερὲς αὐχέν' ἱκάνει Il.13.547; ἀνὰ τὸν ποταμόν Hdt.2.96; ἂν ῥόον up-stream, GDI5016.11 (Gortyn); κρῆς ἂν τὸν ὀδελὸν ἐμπεπαρμένον Ar.Ach.796 (Megarian); simply, along, ἂν τὼς ὄρως Tab.Heracl.2.32.
up and down, throughout, ἀνὰ δῶμα Il.1.570; ἀνὰ στρατόν, ἄστυ, ὅμιλον, ib.384, Od.8.173, etc.; ἂγ γύαλα A.Supp.550 (lyr.); ἀνὰ πᾶσαν τὴν Μηδικήν, ἀνὰ τὴν Ἑλλάδα, Hdt.1.96, 2.135, etc.; ὀν τὸ μέσσον Alc. 18.3; ἀνὰ τὸ σκοτεινόν in the darkness, Th.3.22.
metaph., ἀνὰ θυμὸν φρονέειν, ἀνὰ στόμα ἔχειν, to have continually in the mind, in the mouth, Il.2.36,250; ἀν' Αἰγυπτίους ἄνδρας among them, Od.14.286; ἀνὰ πρώτους εἶναι to be among the first, Hdt.9.86.
of Time, throughout, ἀνὰ νύκτα all night through, Il.14.80; ἀνὰ τὰς προτέρας ἡμέρας Hdt.7.223; ἀνὰ τὸν πόλεμον 8.123; ἀνὰ χρόνον in course of time, 1.173, 2.151, 5.27; ἀνὰ μέσσαν ἀκτῖνα (i. e. in the south) S.OC1247.
distributively, ἀνὰ πᾶσαν ἡμέραν day by day, Hdt.2.37,130, etc.; ἀνὰ πᾶν ἔτος 1.136, etc.; ἀνὰ πάντα ἔτεα 8.65: also ἀνὰ πρεσβύτᾱτα in order of age, Test.Epict.4.28.
distributively with Numerals, κρέα εἴκοσιν ἀν' ἡμιωβολιαῖα 20 pieces of meat at half an obol each, Ar.Ra.554; τῶν ἀν' ὀκτὼ τὠβολοῦ that sell 8 for the obol, Timocl. 18; ἀνὰ πέντε παρασάγγας τῆς ἡμέρας [they marched] at the rate of 5 parasangs a day, X.An.4.6.4; ἔστησαν ἀνὰ ἑκατόν μάλιστα ὥσπερ χοροί they stood in bodies of about 100 men each. ib.5.4.12; κλισίας ἀνὰ πεντήκοντα companies at the rate of 50 in each, Ev.Luc.9.14; ἔλαβον ἀνὰ δηνάριον a denarius apiece, Ev. Matt.20.10; in doctor's prescriptions, ἀνὰ ὀβολὼ β Sor.1.63, etc.: also ἀνὰ δύο ἥμισυ ζῳδίων amounting to 2 1/2 signs, Autol.1.10; multiplied by, PPetr.3p.198.
Phrases: ἀνὰ κράτος up to the full strength, i. e. vigorously, ἀνὰ κράτος φεύγειν, ἀπομάχεσθαι, X.Cyr.4.2.30, 5.3.12; ἀνὰ τὸν αὐτὸν λόγον and ἀνὰ λόγον proportionately, Pl.Phd. 110d; esp. in math. sense, Id.Ti.37a, Arist.APo.85a38, etc.; ἀνὰ μέσον in the midst, Antiph.13, Men.531.19; ἀνὰ μέρος by turns, Arist.Pol.1287n17.
WITH NOM. of Numerals, etc., distributively, Apoc.21.21, v. l. in Sor.1.11, 12, cf. Orib.Fr.50,54.
WITHOUT CASE as Adv., thereupon, Hom. and other Poets:— and with the notion of spreading all over a space, throughout, all over, μέλανες δ' ἀνὰ βότρυες ἦσαν all over there were clusters, Il.18.562, cf. Od.24.343:—but ἀνά often looks like an Adv. in Hom., where really it is only parted from its Verb by tmesis, ἀνὰ δ' ἔσχετο; ἀνὰ δ' ὦρτο (for ἀνῶρτο δέ); ἀνὰ τεύχε' ἀείρας (for τεύχεα ἀναείρας), etc.
IN COMPOS.
as in C. 1, up to, upwards, up, opp. κατά, as ἀνα-βαίνω, -βλέπω, ἀν-αιρέω, -ίστημι: poet. sts. doubled, ἀν' ὀρσοθύρην ἀναβαίνειν Od.22.132.
hence flows the sense of increase or strengthening, as in ἀνακρίνω; though it cannot always be translated, as in Homer's ἀνείρομαι:—in this case opp. ὑπό.
from the notion throughout (E), comes that of repetition and improvement, as in ἀνα-βλαστάνω, -βιόω, -γεννάω.
the notion of back, backwards, in ἀναχωρέω, ἀνανεύω, etc., seems to come from such phrases as ἀνὰ ῥόον up, i. e. against, the stream.
ἄνα, written with anastr. as Adv., up! arise! ἀλλ' ἄνα Il.6.331, Od.18.13:—in this sense the ult. is never elided; cf. ἀλλ' ἄνα, εἰ μέμονάς γε Il.9.247; ἀλλ' ἄνα ἐξ ἑδράνων S.Aj.194.
apocop. ἄν after ὤρνυτο, ὦρτο, and up stood . . arose, Il.3.268, 23.837, etc.
when used as Prep. ἀνά never suffers anastrophe.
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Mason Barge
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Re: Prepositions and prefixes - why are they different?

Post by Mason Barge » August 20th, 2014, 6:44 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
Mason Barge wrote:
I understand, but in the case of "ανα-", used as a prefix, it indicates "up" time and time again. I was just wondering if this was a lost meaning of the preposition.
Here is the entry from the LSJ, always good for the historical usages of the word up until the fall of the Roman empires:
* * *
the notion of back, backwards, in ἀναχωρέω, ἀνανεύω, etc., seems to come from such phrases as ἀνὰ ῥόον up, i. e. against, the stream.
Thanks, that's a huge help. I'll be sure to consult it in the future.

I did especially enjoy the bit I quoted. It must be that the sense of "back" or "again" appeared later. I'm looking forward to reading Classical Greek someday, but I do tend to get ahead of myself.

I noticed today that at least one verb carries both meanings. There is a little paragraph at the end of the BDAG article on ἀνάγω giving the meaning "restore, bring back". But only one citation and that in 2 Clement.
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Mason Barge
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Re: Prepositions and prefixes - why are they different?

Post by Mason Barge » August 26th, 2014, 5:23 pm

Wes Wood wrote:Let me first say that there are others who are far more qualified than I am to comment here and that I may well be wrong about what I am going to say. Having said that, I don't recall seeing "ana" as a naked preposition in the New Testament with the meaning of "up." My gut tells me that "kata" was in the process of overtaking several of the uses of "ana" during that time. I am offering this primarily as fodder for further discussion. (You can tell from other threads that I am certainly no expert. :) )
Yes, that was what was making me wonder about it. I.e., was there once a meaning of the preposition that corresponded to the meaning of the prefix in koine?
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