How do you call a pig in Greek?

How do you call a pig in Greek?

Postby MGV Hoffman » January 18th, 2013, 4:46 pm

Yes, somewhat of an odd question, but I'm trying to figure out what the vocative forms for pig are in Greek and how you would pronounce it. I.e., how would you call a pig or pigs in Greek?
Behind my question is the suspicion that "sooey" (however you spell it), the traditional American way of calling a pig, comes from the Greek. My suspicion is strengthened in that (I do believe that this is correct) in England, one says "hooey."
This would match precisely with the two forms of the word in classical Greek. Here is the Liddell-Scott entry:

ὟΣ, ὗν, gen. ὑός [υ²], or σῦς, σῦν, gen. συ²ός, ὁ and ἡ: pl., nom. ὕες (Att. ὗς) , σύες, acc. ὕας, σύας (Att. σῦς); gen. συῶν; dat. ὑσί, συσί, Ep. also ὕεσσι, σύεσσι:

That "ee" ending doesn't seem to fit as a 3rd declension vocative ending, but I'm trying to figure out a way that it does. ;)
The English dictionaries I have been able to consult (cf: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sooey) note that the English "sow" does derive from the Latin sus and the Greek sus and hus, and suggest it's just a 'deformed' way of calling out "sow."
Does anyone have other evidence for the etymology of "soo-ee" or "hoo-ee" that might link it back to a proper vocative Greek word?
Thanks!
Mark Hoffman
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Re: How do you call a pig in Greek?

Postby Stephen Carlson » January 23rd, 2013, 5:47 am

MGV Hoffman wrote:Does anyone have other evidence for the etymology of "soo-ee" or "hoo-ee" that might link it back to a proper vocative Greek word?


Well, there are two basic ways words can be related between different languages. One is by borrowing; another is by common inheritance.

In this case, I don't think borrowing is a viable hypothesis for the relationship between classical Greek ὕς, σύς (vocative singular ὗ, σῦ) and sooey. The Greek term is a classical term and already by Koine times (when the Romans conquered Britain) it has become out of date with the common term for pig became χοῖρος as we see in the New Testament. (Analogously in English, the term pig is a replacement of the older word swine.)

So, one would have to suppose that illiterate pig farmers in England or American somehow managed to borrow a literary term for a non-literary purpose, and that's just not plausible at all. Sure, some Greek words are borrowed into English, but usually they relate to the Christian religion (like church or bishop) or they involve a higher literary register.

Rather, the standard etymological resources, e.g. the Oxford English Dictionary, suggest that the sooey might be a call based on English sow, which used to be pronounced like "soo." This word sow and the sw- in swine do appear to be related to Greek ὕς and Latin sus by a common inheritance from their ancestral language, Proto-Indo-European. But common descent from Greek's ancestor does not mean it goes back to Greek. It just means that they are cognates. Cousins, not mother-daughter.

Another possibility is that sooey is simply an onomatopoeic word without an etymology, like shoo, to ward off flies.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke)
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Faculty of Theology, Uppsala
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Re: How do you call a pig in Greek?

Postby MGV Hoffman » January 24th, 2013, 2:08 am

Thanks, Stephen,
As you indicate, it seems more of a common inheritance than a direct borrowing... Kind of what I figured, but it still sort of works as a mnemonic.
I had checked, and, as you also noted, χοῖρος becomes the preferred term for a pig/sow/boar in the NT, but we do have an examples of ὕς in Lev 11:7; Deu 14:8; 2Sa 17:8; 1Ki 20:19; 22:38; Pro 11:22; 2Pe 2:22
and σύς in Ps 79/80.14.

Thanks again.
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Re: How do you call a pig in Greek?

Postby Mark Lightman » January 28th, 2013, 9:32 am

How do you call a pig in Greek?


χαῖρε, χοῖρε! :lol:
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Re: How do you call a pig in Greek?

Postby MGV Hoffman » January 28th, 2013, 12:11 pm

Mark Lightman wrote:χαῖρε, χοῖρε! :lol:

καλος! ὁδος ἐλθειν!
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Re: How do you call a pig in Greek?

Postby Penelope Kappa » October 13th, 2013, 4:33 pm

Mark Lightman wrote:
How do you call a pig in Greek?


χαῖρε, χοῖρε! :lol:


:lol: :lol: :lol:
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