Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics

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Movable s
(818 words)


Among the movable consonants in Ancient Greek a special case is word-initial s-, due to the fact that in etymologically cognate word sets some items have this s- and others lack it. Despite the various explanations offered so far none seems to be entirely satisfactory.

The phonotactics of root structure of Indo-European allows roots of the shape sCV, e.g. PIE *speḱ-/*spoḱ- ‘to see, watch’, as in Lat. speciō ‘I look at’, Av. spasiieiti ‘(s)he/it looks at’, Skt. causative spāśáyate ‘(s)he/it shows’, OHG spehōn ‘watcher’ (cf. Eng. spy) and …

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Georgios K. Giannakis, “Movable s”, in: Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics, General Editor: Georgios K. Giannakis. Consulted online on 21 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2214-448X_eagll_SIM_000023>
First published online: 2013

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