Re: A Semitic etymology for Odisseus?

From: Peter Whale
Message: 69301
Date: 2012-04-11

The variations you speak off are known in other words as well, and they may simply be dialectal or other variants.  It is wrong to say that they compel us to see a foreign origin.  Alternation of d and l, for example, is seen in the "tear" word, dakruma / lacruma, the "smell" word olor/odor, and a few others.  Within a Latin context, the patterns fits dialect borrowing.  The same is true of Odysseus / Ulysses.


On Tue, Apr 10, 2012 at 1:19 AM, piervantrink <piervantrink@...> wrote:


What strikes when analyzing this word is the instability of both of the initial vowel (o/ou) and the other 2 consonants (l/d as well as s/x) [assuming that eus is a case marker]
Such dichotmy points to a foreign origin of this word and we should not be surprised with such assumption since we already know that many of the central figures of Greek mythology and legends (legend contrary to myth reposes on real historical events colored with fantasist aspects) such as Agenor, Cadmus, Europe and maybe also Poseidon (fits perfectly with a Semitic etymology of the mouth of fishing or the father of fishing) are explicitly described as being Egyptian or Syrian and bear clear Semitic names

Also we may underline the unexpected? similarity between Iliada (wich is retracing the subduing by the Hellenes of the Indo-European Anatolic speaking Hittite empire of Anatolia) as well as the Odysseia (wich retraces the Greek colonization of the mediterranean) with the Arab epic of Sirat
Bani-hilal (wich narrates the wars between the migrant Arab tribes of Bani-hilal, Banu-sulaym and Banu-assad against the autochtonous Lwata, Masmuda and Zenata Berber tribes of northern Africa) and the Arab epic of taghribat Bani-hilal (wich narrates the Arab migrations and consequent colonization of Egypt and North Afica)

Of course such war+migration epics exist in many cultures from all over the world and does not constitude per se a milestone of my argument wich rather focuses on pure linguistic considerations:
1/The instability of this word (odysseus, oulixes, olysseus) may be considered as a clue of this word being a loan (this saying, there does exist crystal clear Greek words coming in different variants)
My 2cents is that the binarity d/l points strongly to a (unsuccessful) local Hellene rendition of the Semitic voicless (or the emphatic) alveolar lateral affricative *&#7779;&#769; [t&#620;&#700;], as for the the binarity x/s I am hesitant between the voiced and the emphatic versions of the alveolar central affricative
2/I also share the view of Professor Fournet about the instability of the first vowel (o/u) being a consequence of a later addition of a prothetic vowel in order to make that word fitting into Greek phonetical patterns. As a matter of fact we end with the biradical Semitic root &#7779;&#769; &#7779;

I would try tackling this stem from an Arabic perspective (Arabic being the most conservative living Semitic language) and interestingly there is an Arabic word &#1590;&#1614;&#1575;&#1587;&#1614; (there is no Arabic &#1590;&#1571;&#1589;since Arabic does never tolerate i.e does not allow a &#1589; in a word that contains &#1590; since it automatically
softens &#1589; to an s &#1587;) that means "furious plant" (in the sense of plant being grown and spread) that may be an answer to this puzzle