Posts Tagged ‘Modern Greek’

Eating verbs

January 18th, 2010
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Recently, I’ve been looking a bit at the development of Vulgar Latin into modern Romance languages, including how words changed meanings.

So, for example, the word for “head” in some languages derives from a word for “pot”; the word for “liver” from “figgy” or “fig-stuffed”; and so on.

One of those changes is “to eat”, which in some languages (e.g. French manger, Italian mangiare, Romansh mangiar) derives from manducare, which (I gather) originally meant something along the lines of “chew” or perhaps “gnaw”.

So I thought that for Engadinese, I might derive the basic “eating” verb from an Ancient Greek meaning “chew”.

So I turned to my trusty Langenscheidt German–Greek dictionary, looked up “kauen”, and found—τρώγω.

Imagine my disappointed when I saw that Modern Greek had beat me to the punch! (Because that’s the basic verb for “eat” nowadays, either in that form or, perhaps more commonly, in the shortened form τρώω. Its aorist stem is φαγ-, though, which harkens back to the suppletive aorist 2 stem  of the basic Ancient Greek verb εσθίω.)

Ah well 🙂