Greek question

George Hinge oldgh at
Fri Jan 29 10:50:49 UTC 1999

Wayles Browne:
> Nyx has stem nykt-os. So why do some derivatives have nykh- as
> in nykhios, pannykhis etc? Frisk's etym.dict. just says one
> stem is 'neben' the other. Has anyone figured out anything
> more informative?

Chantraine, Dictionnaire etymologique de la langue grec, s.v.:

"L'aspiree de ennychios, pannychios, etc., est propre au grec et
reste mal expliquee. M. Lejeune, Phonetique, p. 37, n. 1, suppose
qu'elle peut representer eun gwh- modifie sous l'action de u, ou un
gh. Voir encore Pokorny 762 pour d'autres donnees plus ou moins
sures. Selon une hypothese plausible de Panagl, KZ 85, 1971, 49 sq.
l'aspiree serait issue par fausse interpretation du nom. nyx ou le t
n'apparait pas et ou le x comportait une prononciation aspiree, dans
des hypostases comme ennychios, etc."

I am not satisfied with either of the explications cited in
Chantraine (I don't have a Pokorny); Lejeune does not solve the
problem, he just transplant it to the PIE phase. And I don't see how
the native speaker would make a false interpretation of nyx,
when he had -kt- in all the oblique cases (except the dative plural,
of course).

 George Hinge
 The Department of Greek and Latin
 The University of Aarhus, Denmark
 oldgh at

More information about the Indo-european mailing list