Douglas G Kilday acnasvers at
Mon Mar 26 07:37:44 UTC 2001

X99Lynx at (28 Feb 2001) wrote:

>There is something in all this however that must have to do with the
>phonotactics of these languages or something like that.  Clearly there are
>a good many forms in Greek, some relatively early, that show some serious

><dusapaleiptos> means hard to wipe out in Sophocles.

This is transparently dus-ap-aleiptos and has nothing to do with *sap-. If
memory serves, Hesychius referred <aleipho:> to Pelasgian, but the verb has
IE ablaut with zero-grade 2nd perf. and 2nd aor. pass. forms.

><anapsao:> is cited early for wipe up, clean out.

><psao:> crumble away, vanish, disappear (L&S write that "psao:, psaio:,
>psauo:, psairo:, pse:cho:, pso:cho:, and perh. psio:, pso:mos, seem to be
>different enlargements of ps-")


><pse:phos> Doric <psaphos>, Aeol. <psaphax>, a worn stone or pebble, precious
>stone, polished gem. (Doric has a tendency to look like the Germanic from
>time to time.)

Could you explain how "Doric looks like Germanic"?


><psapharos> powdery, crumbling, of loose texture, thin, watery

>(All the above definitions are from Lewis & Short)

>I would not even pretend to understand how <psa-> might
>travel to <sap->.

As a working hypothesis I take <psao:> and some of the other Greek words
with initial "psi" as based on Pelasgian stems. For "psi" representing a
Psg. sound (affricate?) cf. <apsinthos> 'wormwood'. OTOH we have IE ablaut
in <psego:> 'I blame' ~ <psogos> 'blame', so not all of these words are from
substrate. Watkins has rather lame etymologies for some of the words in
terms of metathesis, others as extended zero-grade forms from PIE *bhes-. It
is very odd that Greek would preserve no forms in *phes- or *phos- connected
with these.

If my view on <psao:> is correct, some of the words referring to 'rubbing,
crumbling, erosion' etc. might illustrate processes of Pelasgian
word-formation, not merely Greek processes.

I see no connection between <psa-> and <sap->, but it is very tempting to
relate Gk. <psa:r> 'starling' to OE <st&r>, OHG <stara>, Lat. <sturnus>
(from PIE *stor-). Other than this I have no plausible comparanda for words
with initial "psi".


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