lykanthropos (was: Weekly Vocab #1.1.1 (repost #1))
|From:||R A Brown <ray@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, September 16, 2006, 15:21|
Henrik Theiling wrote:
> Philip Newton writes:[snip]
>>"Lycanthrope" is a counter-example :) (lykos, wolf; anthropos, human)
> Funny -- I even (though I) had considered this when I stated the
> above. Confusion.
Certainly it is a counter example to 'man+wolf' *order*; but Henrik has
since explained: "By writing 'man-wolf', I meant 'man' modifying 'wolf'
in whatever order the particular language implements this."
I am not sure that in this respect Greek _lykanthropos_ is a counter
example. It is one of the less common (for ancient Greek) type of
compound where both parts are nouns. There are a few others. for example:
_iatromantis_ <-- iatros "physician, doctor" + mantis "prophet, seer'.
The noun is used as a name for both Apollo and Asklepios (Aesculapius).
As a name for Asklepios, it might be argued that "physician' is the head
noun, but for Apollo surely "seer" is more likely. In fact that compound
is surely a dvandva (or copulative) compound in which both elements have
equal claim to be the head, i.e. "physician and seer".
_ksiphomakhaira_ "sabre" <-- ksiphos "sword" + makhaira "dagger; sabre
(curved sword)". This is a different sort of compounding wherein each
elements acts as attribute to the other (there must be a name for this,
but I don not recall what it is). _ksiphos_ is a sword (which may be
straight or curved) and _makhaira_ has two meanings: "a short dagger",
"a sabre". Prefixing _ksipho-_ makes it clear which meaning of
_makhaira_ is intended; likewise, suffixing _-makhaira_ makes it clear
what shape sword we are talking about.
_theotauros_ <-- theos "god" + tauros "bull". A name given to Zeus. Is
this "god and bull"? As Zeus is always a god and only occasionally
assumes bull shape does it mean "bull-god" (i.e. "bull" is attribute of
It could be argued that _lykanthropos_ is of the same type as
_theotauros_, i.e. _lykanthropos_ means a wolf who may assume human
form. Or it could be a dvandva compound like _iatromantis_, i.e. "wolf
But, of course, we also find compounds like _andropais_ "boy with the
mind of a man" <-- andr- (oblique stem of _ane:r_ 'man, adult male) +
_pais_ "child" (male or female). Here _pais_ is certainly the head, and
andro- the attribute, defining both the sex of the child and that the
child thinks like an adult. So _lykanthropos_ could be a human with
Thus _lykanthropos_ could be 'wolf-man' (as Henrick finds werewolf is in
other languages), or 'man-wolf', or 'wolf and man' - darned Greeks ;-)
Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu.
There's none too old to learn.