Greek and Indo-European Etymology in Action

Proto-Indo-European <i>*ag&#769;-</i>

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This study resurrects the genre of Wortstudien contributions or lexilogus treatments, the core of historical lexical semantics. Such studies used to be quite popular, and interest in lexical matters is again rising. The word family around the Indo-European root <i>*ag&#769;-</i> ‘drive’ is placed against its Germanic replacement <i>drive</i> as a typological parallel. Many long-standing problems can now be solved, and new hypotheses emerge. Starting with the still important sports and games aspect of social life, new morphology is resurrected (<i>ag&#333;&#769;n</i> ‘games’ as an original plural; §2), and a strongly social meaning for ‘good’ (<i>agathós</i>; §3). <i>Aganós</i> finds its solution that combines the ‘mild’ and plant readings in a natural way (§4). Hunting-and-gathering considerations establish new possibilities or certainties for some ‘wealth’ words (§6), and all around religion is involved (§7). Comparable Baltic Finnic evidence is drawn in (§8), and such evidence is used to discuss cases on both sides. This way explanations for the Indo-European material are strengthened, or even made possible in the first place, and scores of Baltic Finnic words find attractive (driving) loan hypotheses as their etymologies.

Subjects: Semantics; Uralic languages; Historical linguistics; Germanic linguistics

  • Affiliations: 1: University of California, Los Angeles

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