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The Worlds of Aulus Gellius$
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Leofranc Holford-Strevens and Amiel Vardi

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199264827

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199264827.001.0001

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Gellius the Etymologist

Gellius the Etymologist

Gellius' Etymologies and Modern Etymology

(p.65) 3 Gellius the Etymologist
The Worlds of Aulus Gellius

Franco Cavazza

Oxford University Press

Gellius often discusses questions of etymology, sometimes following other writers' work, sometimes apparently offering suggestions of his own. This chapter employs source-criticism to isolate etymologies that seem to be his own (while acknowledging the possibility that they may not be), compares them with the findings of modern linguistics, and relates them to the etymological principles current amongst ancient grammarians, in particular borrowing from Greek, suffixation, composition out of two words, or use by antiphrasis to mean the opposite of the expected sense. He makes intelligent and informed use of these principles, proving himself an expert in the ars grammatica. Most of his derivations by suffixation or composition are correct, as are most derivations from Greek if the category is extended to include the common Indo-European descent of which antiquity had no notion.

Keywords:   etymology, source-criticism, linguistics, borrowing, Greek, suffixation, composition, antiphrasis, ars grammatica, Indo-European

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