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08/03/2017 / Sanghwan A. Lee

Does History Matter?

I have been revisiting several unusual forms of Greek vocabularies in order to gain greater understanding, instead of simply memorizing them. The research process was painful but the result has been somewhat rewarding. Here is an example.
The genitive singular form of βασιλεύς is βασιλέως. When I encountered this noun in my first year of Greek, I wondered about where the genitive form actually came from. According to my limited knowledge, I thought that the form should have been βασίλους (βασιλε+ος). Lo and behold, my historical research revealed the following process:
1. The original form of βασιλεύω was βασιληϝος.
2. ϝ was dropped: βασιλη_ος.
3. Quantitative Metathesis occurred, turning βασιλη_ος into βασιλε_ως.
4. So, we have βασιλέως.
This simple research revealed that the study of the history of words is rewarding. Now, I not only know the form but also understand where it came from. This tremendously helped me memorize the paradigm. I know that there is more to discover as the research unfolds, and I am really excited about it!



Does history matter? Of course it does! 🙂

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