Penelope’s (Greek Passage) (σ 201). Very old or very young?

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The Homeric hapax (Greek Passage) ‘terribly suffering’ has been adduced as evidence for ancient processes of Indo-European word-formation. In particular, the vocalism of the root, α of -παθ-, would derive from *n an ablaut grade conditioned by the accent on the ending -(Greek Passage) (a “hysterokinetic” s-stem adjective). I reexamine the passage where the word is found and argue the vocalism of -(Greek Passage) reflects not an archaism but an innovation in Homeric Greek. Using this reanalysis as a point of departure, I review recent literature on s-stem adjectives in Greek, Vedic, and Proto-Indo-European, disputing that the evidence suffices for a hysterokinetic reconstruction. I propose that the PIE accent was borne on the first member of these exocentric compounds as we find it in earliest Old Indic, in the prehistory of Greek, and in certain Greek archaisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-223
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Greek Linguistics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


  • Ablaut
  • Accent
  • Compounds
  • Homer
  • Internal derivation


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