[B-Greek] Top Ten Reasons to avoid the term "Attic Reduplication"

Mark Lightman lightmanmark at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 17 00:23:29 EDT 2009

Top Ten Reasons to avoid the term “Attic Reduplication:”
10.  It won’t help you get any dates.
9.    Attic Reduplication is actually more common
 in Homer than in Attic.
8.  Why mess with a category for which there are only
 two N.T. examples (HGAGON and AKHKOA?)
7.  People will say, “Why would I want two attics?”
6.  How do you RE-duplicate something?  Duplicate means
 to double, right?  So reduplication would mean to quadruple,
 wouldn’t it?  Under Attic reduplication, wouldn’t the form be
 ἠγαγαγαγον HGAGAGAGON? 
5.  Why are we using a Latin word when perfectly good
 Greek (DIDUMHSIS) and English (doubling) words are available?
For a fine discussion of the damage caused by applying a Latin 
term to Greek, check out the b-greek archives under “Top Ten 
Reasons to avoid the term ‘Deponent.’”
4.  Mounce calls what happens in AGAPAW—HGAPHKA
 “vocalic reduplication.”  But then he says “Vocalic reduplication
 is identical in form to the augment.”  So why not just say that verbs
 that begin with vowels normally augment in the perfect instead of 
reduplicating?  If anything should be called “vocalic reduplication,"
 it is what we now call Attic reduplication.  Then you should talk
 about “iota consonantal reduplication”, which makes verbs
 progressive, and “epsilon consonantal reduplication” which
 makes verbs perfect.  But this is the easy part.
 Mounce  (p.220) in a footnote to HGAGON refers
 his readers to the term Attic reduplication.  Mounce is great,
 I love every word of his book, but in his third edition I think
 he should replace this footnote with something like this: 
 [“HGAGON is a strange form.  If you don’t like it, you should
 read some Homer.  Homer never met a verb he did not want 
to reduplicate.  He reduplicates anything, for any reason, in 
any way he wants.  SUNECW becomes SUNOCWKA. 
 XAIRW becomes KEXAPOIOMHN.  EIPON becomes
 ENEPW, future ENIPSW, which is also the future of a 
totally different word ENIPTW, (“I rebuke”) which itself 
is reduplicated at the END of the word, thus HNIPAPON. 
 FURW (“I mix”) is reduplicated, not to form a perfect or
 aorist, but to form a new verb, PORFURW, “I gleam 
darkly” (of waves), from which we get the NT word 
PORFUROUS, “purple” (mixed up waves are
 purple, get it?  Neither do I.)  You can imagine Homer
 sitting at home, talking his wife, ‘Honey, what would 
you think if I reduplicated ERUKW to HRUKAKON?’”] 
If we need a term for this madness we ought
 to call it “Ionic Doubling.” 
3.  People will think you are talking about
 an Alternative Rock band from the early 1990’s.
2.  Because, to quote Christophe Rico (p. 288) in his
 terrific new book “Polis:  Parler Le Grec Ancien Comme
 Une Langue Vivante,” our purpose in teaching Greek
 should be  ̔ίνα πυλῶσιν ἐισέλθωσιν εἰς τήν πόλιν
  Rico makes the case that Greek is a living Polis, and 
we ought to enter it the way ancient Greek citizens did,
through the gates of living speech.  Nobody ever 
entered the Polis carrying the term “Attic Reduplication”
 in their PHRA.  And, no, the term is not found in Rico’s book.
And the number one reason to avoid the term “Attic Reduplication:”
1.  It is my e-trade password.
Mark L.        


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