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Headword: *ma/
Adler number: mu,1
Translated headword: by
Vetting Status: high
Homer uses this as having the status of a syllable. Sometimes however he uses nai/ instead of ma/, as in "yea by this scepter," when [someone] swears.[1] But when [someone] makes a denial on oath, he adds the [particle] of negation, as "no by Apollo."[2] And in Odyssey: "no by Zeus, Agelaos."[3] But we take ma/ as a part of speech when we say "by Zeus." It is also a precatory adverb.
Greek Original:
*ma/: tou=to *(/omhros w(s sullabh=s ta/cin e)/xon ti/qhsi. pote\ me/ntoi a)nti\ tou= ma\ tw=| nai\ xrh=tai: w(s, nai\ ma\ to/de skh=ptron: o(/te o)/mnusin. o(/te de\ a)po/mnusi/ ti, suzeu/gnusi to\ th=s a)pofa/sews: oi(=on, ou) ma\ ga\r *)apo/llwna. kai\ e)n *)odussei/a|: ou) ma\ *zh=n', *)age/lae. h(mei=s de\ to\ ma\ w(s me/ros lo/gou a)pomnu/ntes paralamba/nomen ma\ to\n *di/a le/gontes. e)/sti de\ kai\ e)pi/rrhma e)peuktiko/n.
Essentially the same entry (but with an initial 'meaning ou) ma/') in Photius mu1 Theodoridis; similar ones elsewhere.
The difference between ma/ and nai/ seems to be that ma/ is used without a definite article in the epic -- not surprisingly considering that the definite article was not yet fully developed. *ma/ is usually used in negative sentences, except when nai/ is added. The accusative with these particles was originally the object of a verb of swearing; but later the particle came to be felt as a preposition governing the accusative (which may be what the lexicographer means by calling it a "part of speech"). See Smyth ยง2894 (web address 1) and 1596.
cf. mu 12, mu 31, nu 96, nu 97, nu 98, nu 350.
[1] Homer, Iliad 1.234 (web address 2).
[2] Homer, Iliad 1.86 (web address 3).
[3] Homer, Odyssey 20.339 (web address 4).
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3,
Web address 4
Keywords: dialects, grammar, and etymology; epic; religion
Translated by: Catharine Roth on 30 November 2003@01:16:39.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (more x-refs; cosmetics) on 30 November 2003@05:01:37.
Catharine Roth (augmented note, added link) on 3 December 2003@00:41:11.
David Whitehead (augmented notes; tweaks; raised status) on 17 June 2011@05:06:58.
Catharine Roth (upgraded links) on 18 June 2011@01:38:38.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 24 April 2013@08:29:14.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 15 August 2019@19:54:34.


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