[B-Greek] Synonym study

Randall Buth randallbuth at gmail.com
Mon Oct 12 13:06:06 EDT 2009

shalom Iver,

On Mon, Oct 12, 2009 at 6:02 PM, Iver Larsen <iver_larsen at sil.org> wrote:
>> Iver egrapse
>>> As I studied the occurrences in the GNT where MIMNHSKOMAI occurs 23 times
>>> (0 in
>> LXX) and MNHMONEUW occurs 21 times (26 in the LXX), I suggest that there
>> is a
>> slight difference. Whether that holds up to closer scrutiny, I don't know,
>> but
>> it is worth looking into.>
>>> MNHMONEUW is basically, I think, "keep in mind" or "retain in memory"
>>> (you'll
>> find these glosses in BAGD). The idea is that you should not forget what
>> you
>> already know. (I remember the good old days.)>
>>> MIMNHSKOMAI is basically "come to mind, realize". The Middle/Passive
>>> forms
>> correspond somewhat to English "it occurred to me". Some event or thought
>> made
>> me realize something. If an imperative is used it is "put to mind, think
>> about
>> it." (When I had closed the car door, I remembered that I had left the
>> keys
>> inside.)>
>> When looking at words with different lemma in a dictionary one must be
>> careful to
>> see how they pattern in usage of the language. There are many verbs
>> that function
>> as 'suppletives' or "near suppletives". For example, most NT students
>> link BLEPEIN
>> to IDEIN 'see', though in older Greek it is more common to link ORAN
>> to IDEIN. Both
>> linkages are 'suppletives', pieces of older words that recombine to
>> form newer verbs.
>> MNHMONEYEIN and MNHSQHNAI are two such words that are near suppletives in
>> Koine.
>> Your statistics on the verbs above could mention that MNHSQHNAI is
>> 21/23 (aorist
>> while MNHMONEYEIN is 19/21 (present/PARATATIKH).
> If one ONLY occurred in the aorist and the other ONLY occurred in the
> present, I would happily buy your thesis of suppletives.

So BLEPEIN wouldn't be a suppletive with IDEIN because BLEPSAI occurs?
Or would you teach a student to say ORW TO DENDRON?
I find ORAN somewhat restricted in KOINH and use BLEPEIN as plain vanilla

Many things in language allow newer configurations to occur along
with older forms and usages. So there should be room for inconsistencies
or usage that is outside the common pattern.

> When this is not the case, I am a bit sceptical. An alternative explanation
> could be that the semantic differences between the two verbs result in one
> naturally being used mainly in aorist and the other mainly in present. (In
> the LXX, you have future and imperfective of MNHMONEYEIN in addition to
> present, but aorist is rare there as in the NT - 2 of 26).
> I accept that the subtle distinction in meaning may not be maintained in the
> portions of the GNT most influenced by Hebrew, such as Revelation and Luke
> 1. As I mentioned only one of the words appear in the LXX.
> Iver Larsen

In principle I would agree that one always wants to look for differences when
the morphology is different. But there is a lot of collapsing and
overlap in the
Greek system.
Sometimes there is more than people are aware of in Hebrew, too.
Like when niggashti 'I came' (nif`al past) forms a pair with eggash 'I will
come' (qal future). I've heard people try to "exegete" the difference, but the
difference is just tense (TAM), not semantic vocab/binyan.
I don't think that MNHSQHNAI and MNHMONEYEIN relate to either Hebraisms
or Aramaisms, it's a Greek phenomenon. MNHSQHTI KAI MEMNHSO TOYTO.
That distinction doesn't exist in Hebrew. It's Greek.
For  MNHMONEYE in Mishnaic Hebrew we do have "hve zoxer", and the
above could all be "zxor".
I could check when nizkar li 'it was remembered to me' entered the language,
morphologically close to EMNHSQHN (passive-formed middle), but I think it's

hve shalom

Randall Buth, PhD
randallbuth at gmail.com
Biblical Language Center
Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life

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