Metathesis

Randy Leedy Rleedy at bju.edu
Mon Mar 18 08:56:45 EST 2002


Thanks for the note, Dennis. And thanks to both you and Carl Conrad
for correcting my etymologies. The one for TRAPEZA was especially
embarrassing. I was chatting with my daughter Friday evening, and
suddenly I stopped what I was saying and stared off into space. I
imagine my face went somewhat white, then somewhat red, and she asked
what was wrong. I didn't think she'd understand if I said that I had
just remembered a Greek word that I'm pretty sure is in Mark, PEZHi,
an adverb meaning "on foot." And I figured she'd be less than
enthralled with the amount of explanation it would take to get her to
understand. So I just said, "I just realized that something I wrote on
an email discussion list was really stupid." I think she enjoyed
seeing me admit an instance of something that she's probably been
quite aware of for a good many years now! I didn't know exactly how to
get "TRA" out of TETRA, but it seemed close enough to be pretty clear
that "four-footed" would provide a much clearer etymology for TRAPEZA
than a derivation from TREFW/TROFH. 

Must run now. Discussion topic closed as far as I'm concerned. Thanks
for the help.

Randy Leedy

>>> "Dennis Hukel" <hukel at bhiinc.com> 03/16/02 02:17PM >>>
Dear Randy,

I looked through my old notes this morning and found only one type of
metathesis. Just as a -Y- suffix was usually
joined to the root's vowel (such as AT + Y became AIT), this involves
a root and suffixes:

KERAMEUS (potter), KERAMION (clay jar), and KERAMOS (clay roof tile)
are all from the root KAM (vault-shaped) which had
E and R suffixes attached. For some reason Greeks at some stage did
not like the sound of KAMER-, so they changed it to
KERAM- by metathesis. The word KAMINOS (furnace, oven, kiln) has I
and N suffixes which escaped the metathesis. I have
not checked LSJ for when this metathesis took place, but the Latin
word CAMERA is no doubt from the same root and
suffixes.

That's all I could find.

Dennis Hukel
hukel at bhiinc.com 




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