Tuesday, May 31, 2011

If a Greenlander had a Greek dictionary but did not know the grammar ...

  • µεγaλoπoλιc ...

    In Greenlandic as in Greek there is a possibility to compose words with adjectives meaning big. In Greenlandic this is even compulsory in such a case, since in Greenlandic big is not a word but a suffix, meaning also it comes out on the other side as compared to Greek:

  • polimegale

    But actually a concept as city would also be composed in Greenlandic, as in "many households" and "many" also is an ending: oikiopolys. And since "big" also is an ending we would get:

  • oikiopolymegale

    But on top of that a word like household might be composed as "place to inhabit" and "inhabit" is "oikein" and place "topos" but unlike Greek, "place for-" would be an ending too in Greenlandic:

  • oikeotopopolymegalos

    or with haplology:

  • oikeotopolymegalos.

    Going back to Greek we could make a phrase like "to have a megalopolis":

  • µεγaλoπoλιv εχειv

    But of course "to have ..." is also a suffix in Greenlandic:

  • oikeotopolymegalechein.

  • µεγaλoπoλιv εχει o τυραvvoc

    So what would Greenlandic make out of that?

  • tyrannos
  • basileukakos

    You have guessed it, Greenlandic has an ending meaning bad and since a tyrant is a bad ruler, tyrant would be replaced by "bad-ruler" of course not dysbasileus but basileukakos, or even ...

    You have guessed it! Greenlandic has an ending meaning "someone who is doing something" and so we would start with the verb to rule, "archein" and hence "to rule badly" "archikakein" and hence to the person doing that:

  • archeikákôn

    Which is really pretty close to a real Greek word árchôn (archont). Except it includes a suffix meaning bad. So where Greek says in so many words:

  • µεγaλoπoλιv εχει o τυραvvoc

    Greenlandic adjusted with Greek morphemes would make it:

  • oikéotopòlymègaléchei ho àrcheikákoon.

    Guess why I find Greenlandic less likely to learn at age 42, especially in its real morphemes, which are not Greek ones? Anyone who finds this interesting can try his hand at real Greenlandic.

    Hans-Georg Lundahl
    Feast of St Petronilla

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