No Greek words beginning with σλ-?

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Brian Gould
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No Greek words beginning with σλ-?

Post by Brian Gould » May 27th, 2019, 5:40 am

There seem to be no Greek words beginning with σλ-. Is that correct? Would it have been regarded as an unacceptable consonant cluster? If so, it seems odd in a language that has no objection to σκ-, σμ-, and others. And might it explain the α inserted in the biblical name Σαλωμὼν, where “Σλωμὼν” would be closer to the Hebrew?
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Daniel Semler
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Re: No Greek words beginning with σλ-?

Post by Daniel Semler » May 27th, 2019, 12:55 pm

Hi Brian,

It's certainly really rare if it does exist. BDAG lists no entry. LSJ has this one, though noted as dubious :
σλιφομαχος, ὁ, weigher of silphium (?), dub. in Schwyzer 230 (Cyrenaic vase, vi B.C.).


“σλιφομαχος, ὁ,” LSJ, 1619.
https://accordance.bible/link/read/LSJ#147195
It's odd given silphium itself is
σίλφιον, τό, laserwort, Ferula tingitana, the juice of which was used in food and medicine

“σίλφιον, τό,” LSJ, 1599.
https://accordance.bible/link/read/LSJ#145432
Spicq notes a word I cannot find in a lexical entry, in a footnote :
6 Hippocrates, Carn. 3.7: “these bones are harder and more solid”; 15.1: “a hard and dry bone”; 12.1: “the teeth become harder than the bones”; Acut. 45.2: the body; Aph. 5.20; Liqu. 1.1; Carn. 5.1; Acut. append. 49 = hardened skin; Aph. 5.52–53: firm breasts (cf. Genit. 2.1); VM 18: the nose; Acut. append. 26.3: a hard inflammation of the eye; Liqu. 6.4: dry part; P.Mert. 12.21, letter to a physician: dry plasters (AD 58). A papyrus prescribing the diet for patients suffering from chronic constipation: τοῖς μὲν σληρὰν ἰσχυρῶς καὶ δυσήκεστον ἔχουσι τὴν κοιλίαν (in L. C. Youtie, H. C. Youtie, “A Medical Papyrus,” in Scritti in onore O. Montevecchi, Bologne, 1981, p. 432, line 5). Aristotle, HA 3.10: “the hair is stiffer”; Part. An. 3.3.4: the skin is hard; cf. Plato, Tht. 162 b: “I am already stiff at my age” (contrasted to young); Plutarch, Ages. 13.4: “big and strong athlete”; 59275, 9: bitter dishes.

“σκληροκαρδία, σκληρός, σκληρότης, σκληροτράχηλος, σκληρύνω,” TLNT, 3:262.
https://accordance.bible/link/read/Spicq#10132
And there is a possible (rather, probable) typo in another footnote:
3 P.Leid. X, 1: “To get lead to harden, melt it, sprinkle it with flaked alum and vitriol, ground fine and mixed together; and it will be hard” (καὶ ἔσται σλκηρός); c

“σκληροκαρδία, σκληρός, σκληρότης, σκληροτράχηλος, σκληρύνω,” TLNT, 3:262.
https://accordance.bible/link/read/Spicq#10128
Thx
D
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Daniel Semler
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Re: No Greek words beginning with σλ-?

Post by Daniel Semler » May 27th, 2019, 1:43 pm

One other thought occurred. It's worth looking at *σλ* forms and see where the letters fall. It appears the blend itself may not exist in Greek. I'm no phonologist but it appears the σ marks the end of a syllable, and the λ the beginning of the next where they are adjacent, at least in main.

Thx
D
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Brian Gould
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Re: No Greek words beginning with σλ-?

Post by Brian Gould » May 27th, 2019, 2:40 pm

Daniel Semler wrote:
May 27th, 2019, 12:55 pm
And there is a possible (rather, probable) typo in another footnote:
3 P.Leid. X, 1: “To get lead to harden, melt it, sprinkle it with flaked alum and vitriol, ground fine and mixed together; and it will be hard” (καὶ ἔσται σλκηρός); c

“σκληροκαρδία, σκληρός, σκληρότης, σκληροτράχηλος, σκληρύνω,” TLNT, 3:262.
https://accordance.bible/link/read/Spicq#10128
Thank you, Daniel. I’m an absolute beginner as far as Greek is concerned, but commonsense surely dictates that σλκηρός can only be a typesetter’s accidental transposition that the proofreader missed. Apart from any other consideration, the author translates it as “hard” without adding a comment of any kind.

And as you say, the other ones look a bit suspicious, too!
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: No Greek words beginning with σλ-?

Post by Stephen Carlson » May 27th, 2019, 7:54 pm

In general, Greek has lost the initial *s- of its Proto-Indo-European (PIE) ancestor before the resonants *l, *m, and *n. This is probably connected to Greek's general loss of *s in other places, e.g., between vowels. As far as I'm aware, no word beginning with σλ-, σμ-, and σν- has a secure PIE etymology (there a couple of possibilities, though, like σμάω 'smear') and usually indicates some kind of borrowing. There are quite a few words beginning with σμ- but not the others, which probably indicates that this cluster in particular had some currency in whatever language(s) Greek borrowed them from.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: No Greek words beginning with σλ-?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » May 28th, 2019, 9:27 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
May 27th, 2019, 7:54 pm
In general, Greek has lost the initial *s- of its Proto-Indo-European (PIE) ancestor before the resonants *l, *m, and *n. This is probably connected to Greek's general loss of *s in other places, e.g., between vowels. As far as I'm aware, no word beginning with σλ-, σμ-, and σν- has a secure PIE etymology (there a couple of possibilities, though, like σμάω 'smear') and usually indicates some kind of borrowing. There are quite a few words beginning with σμ- but not the others, which probably indicates that this cluster in particular had some currency in whatever language(s) Greek borrowed them from.
Yes, poor sigma just didn't get it's share of the pie in such contexts (ba-da-boom). As for the typos referenced above, nothing suspicious about them, they are clearly typos, no need to worry about them otherwise.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Brian Gould
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Re: No Greek words beginning with σλ-?

Post by Brian Gould » May 28th, 2019, 2:50 pm

Thank you, Barry. Would you say it's a plausible conjecture, then, that that explains why the LXX translators slipped an extra vowel into Σαλωμὼν?
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: No Greek words beginning with σλ-?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » May 28th, 2019, 3:49 pm

Brian Gould wrote:
May 28th, 2019, 2:50 pm
Thank you, Barry. Would you say it's a plausible conjecture, then, that that explains why the LXX translators slipped an extra vowel into Σαλωμὼν?
It's as good an explanation as any. Borrowing usually end up being pronounced with the phonology of the borrowing language, and that sometimes involves spelling changes.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: No Greek words beginning with σλ-?

Post by Stephen Carlson » May 28th, 2019, 5:04 pm

Brian Gould wrote:
May 28th, 2019, 2:50 pm
Thank you, Barry. Would you say it's a plausible conjecture, then, that that explains why the LXX translators slipped an extra vowel into Σαλωμὼν?
There’s that, or there’s also the possibility that they perceived the schwa in the name.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

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