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Couple of queries......
by Guest User - Friday, 19 August 2005, 06:05 AM
  Two words in Greek that have caused me to ponder, does anyone know the answers ?
1. Why is the place Delfi plural Oi Delfoi. Can't find a singular meaning in my dictionaries which might give a clue is the word of ancient origin and not carried through to Demotic. Most other place names I have come across seem to be singular, although my knowledge of Greek geography isn't brilliant.
2. Similar sounding word and the query only came to light looking for the answer to the above. Why in my older Greek dictionary is Dolphin masculine and in the later one Nueter. I thought I heard both forms while out on a sailing ship in the Aegean this year. Thought I may have been mistaken as I thought the nueter form was the correct one - 'till I started looking into the query at 1 above. mixed
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Re: Couple of queries......
by Guest User - Friday, 19 August 2005, 01:03 PM
  Hmmm tricky question. Let’s see what I can do.
1. According to one of the best dictionaries of Modern Greek (by professor Bambiniotis (sp?) ) the most popular and well- founded theory claims that the original name of the areas was “*DELFYS” which means womb, belly, either because of the shape of the place or because in the Mycenaean times it was a place of worship of Mother-goddess Earth. In this case OI DELFOI were the denizens of the place
There is a singular "Delphos" in ancient Greek but that is the name of a local hero and his name probably derived from DELFOI and not the other way around
As for other place names; the majority is in singular though few (like Chania in Crete i.e) are in plural. There are cases like Athens were the city name was plural in ancient times (because the city was composed of formerly independent neighboring settlements) and are singular in Demotic

2. In ancient times the word was masculine . I suppose –from what I remember from my studies- that this was due to the fact that the word fish is masculine in ancient Greek . The origin of the ancient Greek word (DEPFIN) is masculine too anyway.
In KATHAREVOUSA (Sp?) the same type was kept but in Demotic is Neuter (DELFINI).
In Demotic there is a masculine, similar word; it’s the word “DELPHINOS” which is the translation from the French “Dauphin” (also ultimately deriving from the word DELFIN)
Hope that helps
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Re: Couple of queries......
by Guest User - Monday, 22 August 2005, 04:42 AM
  Thank you Irene that is very interesting and helpful.