Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Fri Mar 15 12:50:24 EST 2002


QARSOS and QRASOS as alternative forms of the same noun won't work? ETARPON
and ETRAPON as alternative forms of the same verb stem won't work? Then
Smyth will do you no good and you're actually looking for a very
narrowly-defined conception of METATHESIS.

At 11:06 AM -0500 3/15/02, Randy Leedy  wrote:
>Well, Carl, I'll have to go to the library to get a look at Smyth. The
>one classical grammar I have on my shelf, which I hardly ever consult,
>is Goodwin, not Smyth. I thought sure I had Smyth. Maybe it was at
>home and got misplaced when we moved a year ago? Anyway, if the
>further examples you cite are representative of what Smyth discusses,
>it's STILL not what I'm looking for. Yes, the formations of various
>principal parts of a verb, or stem modifications within a noun
>declension involve metathesis. But that's not the kind of metathesis
>I'm looking for. I think we're getting wavelengths crossed over a
>definition. I'm working with a sense of the word broad enough to
>include any transposition of letters at all, not limited to the inner
>morphological workings involved in various inflectional patterns. I'm
>looking for the kind of thing where a given word would be listed in a
>dictionary under two different lemma forms, where the difference in
>the lemmas is a transposition of letters. Again, my theoretical
>example: PROBATON and PROTABON would be listed in the lexicon
>separately. One article would note the variant forms of the same word,
>and the other article would probably be a simple "see" reference
>pointing to the other one.
>Based on a rhyme with PROBATON, I did dig out of the mental archives
>a word with a somewhat similar phenomenon: KRABATTOS / KRABBATOS. But
>that's not metathesis, because the issue is not a transposition of
>letters but rather a question of which consonant is geminated

No that is different--a matter of pronunciation. But what you want, it
seems to me, is what a dictionary (LSJ at least) will list separately ONLY
if it's not expected that a reader can make an intelligent guess.

>I will try to get to Smyth soon to see his examples, but, again, if
>your examples reflect the whole range of what Smyth has, he won't have
>what I'm looking for. I hope I've finally been adequately clear about
>what it is I'm trying to find. If not, I guess I'll just give up
>before I get further behind!  (I envy people with the foresight to
>give up while they're still ahead.)

Yes, it's obvious you're looking for a needle in a haystack!

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months:: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at OR cwconrad at

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