Over the next couple of weeks(1 May 2017–17 May 2017), I have my final exams. During that time, my account will be deactivated. Fear not; I will be back!
Because Greek didn’t have an ŋ letter, although they knew that the sound existed.
Phonetically, the final -n in prefixes was often assimilated phonetically to the following letter:
- syn ‘with’ + pathos ‘passion’ > sym-patheia ‘sympathy, compassion’
- syn ‘with’ + labē ‘taking’ > syl-labē ‘syllable: sounds “taken together”’
- syn ‘with’ + rhaphē ‘sewing’ > syr-raphē ‘sewing together’
Now if you put syn- in front of a velar, and the -n- undergoes assimilation to a velar just as it did to a bilabial or a liquid, then you would expect the n to go to an ŋ:
- syn ‘with’ + kopē ‘cutting’ > syŋ-kopē ‘syncope, cutting off’
- syn ‘with’ + grapheus ‘writer’ > syŋ-grapheus ‘author’
- syn ‘with’ + khysis ‘pouring’ > syŋ-khysis ‘confusion’
Those forms show up in Greek alright, but they’re written with a gamma where you’d expect the ŋ: <sygkopē>, <syggrapheus>, <sygkhysis>.
But we do have evidence that the gamma in that position stood for an ŋ after all.
- In Latin, that first <g> was transliterated as an <n>: sygkopē = syncope.
- There was no ŋ letter in Greek, so you would expect ŋ to be written down as a letter that sounded like ŋ—either <n> (same manner of articulation, not same place) or <g> (same place of articulation, not same manner).
- The Greeks themselves said that that first <g> had a different sound, which they called agma; a fragment of Marcus Terentius Varro says that a grammarian called Ion had suggested agma should have been the 25th letter of the Greek alphabet. AGMA, A FORGOTTEN GREEK LETTER
ut Ion scribit, quinta uicesima est littera, quam uocant agma, cuius forma nulla est et uox communis est Graecis et Latinis, ut his uerbis: aggulus, aggens, agguilla, iggerunt. in eius modi Graeci et Accius noster bina G scribunt, alii N et G, quod in hoc ueritatem uidere facile non est. similiter agceps, agcora.
As Ion writes, there is a 25th letter, which is called ‘agma’, which has no shape, but a phonetic value that is the same in Greek and Latin, as in the following words: aggulus, aggens, agguilla, iggerunt. In words of this type, the Greeks and our Accius write a geminate GG, while others write NG, because it is difficult to recognize the real sound in the former; similarly agceps, agcora.
So let me tell you an anecdote.
I have a relative in Greece of roughly my age, who was studying at university away from home, 20-odd years ago. (Since “home” is a town of 7000 people with only a nursing school, that’s not hard to imagine.)
Said relative at some stage took a job distributing junk mail. Not an uncommon thing, you’d think, for a uni student wanting to earn a bit of pocket money.
Said relative kept their part time job secret from their parents, and begged me not to tell.
It would have been humiliating to them, if it had got out: it would have implied that they were incapable of supporting their child.
It is, as John Carrick says, a cultural thing. There are different notions between Greek and “Western” society on how important the family is vs the individual, how important it is for an individual to be independent vs interdependent, and how important the family’s face is.
In the case you raise of count, this is simply Assimilation (phonology). It’s not that the m and the n are interchangeable, it’s that nt is easier to pronounce that mt, because both the n and the t are alveolar, so you do not have to move your tongue and lips between the two sounds; m and t on the other hand have different places of articulation.
A lot of sound change involves assimilation, since a lot of sound change is driven by ease of pronunciation; e.g. computare > compter > conter > count. The reverse change, Dissimilation, is rarer, and usually involves removing repetition of the identical sound, rather than making two different sounds less similar.
- Clear my head
- No, really clear my head
- Have a vague idea of what the argument is that I’m going to write
- Have a concrete idea of what the form is that I’m going to write in
- Start thinking up phrases in iambic pentameter
- Keep thinking up phrases in iambic pentameter
- Wait till my heart beats in iambic pentameter
- Optional: have access to a rhyming dictionary, to use as emergency backup
- Start writing, keeping in mind the vague idea of what the argument is
- Scrub lines if they’re not going in the right direction
- The first quatrain is the hardest. Once that falls into place, the form does too.
I wasn’t familiar with this user. All I can tell from searching is, he’s deleted his account in the last few months.
I’ve just written an answer about Pāṇini. I know what a macron is, and I know what a retroflex nasal is. I also know that the Sanskrit grammarian is not to be confused with an Italian sandwich.
Nevertheless, in my answer I referred to him as Panini. And I do not feel guilty for doing so.
Diacritics for other languages are appropriate in scholarly writing, and when you are writing for a bilingual audience, which will wince to see them missing. In a more casual context, on the other hand, it does come across in English as pretentious.
There is also a long standing convention that we are not as fastidious about diacritics on proper names. Proper names are embedded in otherwise purely English text. There is a strong driver to nativise them orthographically, since they are effectively used as part of English. The same goes for loan words. I pronounce jalapeno with a velar fricative and palatal nasal, because I’m pretentious like that, but I would still hesitate to use a tilde.
Language is full of contradictory pressures, and this is yet another instance: assimilation versus fidelity, nativisation vs exoticisation. The pendulum swings, as a matter of fashion, but the drivers behind each are legitimate. Dropping the tilde in a loanword is not disrespect to Spanish: it demonstrates how thorough the influence of Spanish has been in English, to have produced a nativised loanword.
Γένεσις /ɡénesis/ “Genesis, origin” consists of the verb root gen- “to originate”, and the ending -esis.
The -εσις ending of Greek genesis has two components. The –sis component is a nominalisation, indicating the result of a verb. Cf. ly-sis ‘solution’ < lyō ‘solve’; gennē-sis ‘birth’ < gennaō ‘give birth’; pep-sis ‘digestion’ < peptō ‘digest’; theōsis ‘becoming God’ < theoō ‘make a God’.
The vowel before the –sis, if any, depends on the conjugation of the verb.
- A normal thematic verb (with a thematic vowel connecting inflections to the verb stem) does not use a vowel: ly-sis; pep-sis < *pept-sis.
- A contracted thematic verb (verb stem already ends in a vowel) often lengthens the vowel: the-ō-sis < the-o-ō; genn-ē-sis, Doric genn-ā-sis < genn-a-ō.
- A contracted thematic verb in –eō may or may not lengthen the e; this usually correlates with whether the e is lengthened in the aorist passive. blasteō ‘to sprout’, aor.pass. eblastē-thēn, blastē-sis ‘sprouting’; haireō ‘to choose’, aor.pass. haire-thēn, haire-sis ‘choice’.
- An athematic verb (with no thematic vowel: an archaic class of verbs) has a short vowel before the ending. hi-stē-mi ‘stand’, Doric hi-stā-mi > sta-sis. di-dō-mi ‘give’ > do-sis. ti-thē-mi ‘put’ > thesis.
And here I get stuck, I’m afraid. I can’t work out why the vowel in genesis is an epsilon instead of a zero, *gen-sis > *gessis, or an a which corresponded to the Indo-European schwa, cf. teinō ‘stretch’ > tn-sis > ta-sis ‘tension’. I think somehow this is a pattern with second aorists, e-gen-omēn ‘I became’ > gene-sis ~ e-sch-omēn ‘I was had’ > sche-sis ‘relation’.
But in any case: the vowel is not part of the suffix, but a connector.
EDIT: the actual answer is Neeraj Mathur’s answer to The Greek word genesis (γένεσις) has the root gen, but where does the suffix -esis come from? I’m leaving this up because it takes you halfway there, and Neeraj resolves the -e- issue where I got stuck; and this is good information to know for less archaic verbs anyway.
, MA in Linguistics from BYU, 8 years working in research for language pedagogy.
-ής, -ές is a suffix used to form adjectives. The entry on -ής, -ές in Smyth’s Grammar §858, reads (Herbert Weir Smyth, A Greek Grammar for Colleges):
5. ες (nom. –ής, –ές): primitive: ψευδ-ής false (ψεύδ-ω deceive), σαφ-ής clear, πρην-ής prone, ὑγι-ής healthy. Very common in compounds, as ἀ-σφαλ-ής unharmed, secure (ἀ-priv. + σφαλ- in σφάλλω trip).
So the compound adjective εὐ-γεν-ής ‘good + breed’-ής for ‘noble’ is analogous to ἁ-σφαλ-ής ‘un-tripping’-ής for ‘secureʼ.
Last answered 2011, eh?
Quora, as Kelly Erickson said, is far from “just” a site where shills ask Dorothy Dixers of themselves. But even in 2017, such a practice continues.
From my Upwork feed for the past 8 days:
Hourly – Entry Level ($)
Est. Time: Less than 1 month, 10-30 hrs/week – Posted 1 day ago
Hi, I own three fairly sizeable ecommerce companies and we’re looking for people to post on Quora with questions and answers that lead back to our products. Thank you. Josh
Looking for a Quora Expert to help me find questions to answer
Hourly – Intermediate ($$)
– Est. Time: 3 to 6 months, Less than 10 hrs/week – Posted 2 days ago
Hi, I am looking for someone who is well versed with Quora and can help me find suitable questions to answer that are related to my business. I simply do no have the time to do the research and may need you to help me answer a few questions when I am running low on time. I’ll be asking you to present your finding in a google spreadsheet that can be updated as and when I see fit. You must be able to speak with me. I do not want to hear that you do not have a microphone or your laptop is not working. I find it very hard when I can not speak with you.
Write Quora Answers – Based on Content from my Website
Fixed-Price – Intermediate ($$) – Est. Budget: $25
– Posted 3 days ago
I have a content website about home improvement topics. I need a person that is a native English speaker (born in USA/Canada/England/Austraila etc.). To write quality Answers for Quora question. I will post the answers myself from my profile. You will need to search for questions that have at least 3,000 views, and then come up with a good answer. I will pay $5 for each answer.
Sports Fans Needed to Answer Questions on Quora
Fixed-Price – Entry Level ($) – Est. Budget: $10
– Posted 10 days ago
I’m looking for someone to search for technical questions about sports on Quora and to post answers related to the questions by referring to what a company’s online solutions can offer. A Quora account and sample of answers shall be provided. Answers should contain links and images. Pay Rate: 20 answers for $10. NOTE: You must be familiar with sports as in how to play/train or coach a sport, not the spectator part of it (news, teams, views, etc). We’re looking for those that know the following sports. The more sports you know, the better. Badminton Baseball Basketball Bowling Cricket Cycling eSports Football (American) Golf Health & Fitness Hockey Lacrosse Martial Arts Mixed Martial Arts Rugby Running Skateboarding Soccer (Football) Swimming Table Tennis Tennis Track & Field Volleyball Yoga
There’s also this, which isn’t shilling, but is clearly a mockery of Quora’s Real Name policy, if answers are going to be ghostwritten…
Malaysia/Asia Tech startup writer
Hourly – Expert ($$$)
– Est. Time: More than 6 months, 10-30 hrs/week – Posted 8 days ago
Looking for a tech startup blogger to write analytical tech startup blogs and answer questions for me on quora. Here are some of my answers so far… [Quora profile redacted] I am also looking for insightful blog posts on [Quora user’s external blog redacted]