DS08 - Sociétés innovantes, intégrantes et adaptatives

Linguistic analysis of ancient Greek personal names: electronic and printed dictionary – LGPN-Ling

LGPN-Ling

Linguistic analysis of ancient Greek personal names: <br />electronic and printed dictionary

Giving meaning to ancient Greek personal names

Our project is to provide the prosopographic searchable database of the Lexicon of Greek Personal Names of Oxford (http://clas-lgpn2.classics.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/lgpn_search.cgi) with a linguistic extension and to extract a printed dictionary to replace the book of F. Bechtel 1917 Die historischen Personennamen des Griechischen bis zur Kaiserzeit (about 15,000 names), which is now out of date since philology and linguistics have made significant progress and the quantity of data has increased greatly: of the 35,000 names known thanks to the around 350,000 persons who bore them, about 30,000 would be considered as definitely Greek personal names. <br />To give meaning to these names or anthroponyms, the objective is to make their particular linguistic analysis, that is to say, to search in particular for their etymology and to deduce their morphology (exact form of derivation or composition bases, and suffixes added). This analysis must be done directly online, where each name must be duly segmented into bases and suffixes, distinguishing suffixes lexicalizing the bases and suffixes converting them into anthroponyms. <br />It should also lead to a printed product, in the form of an etymological dictionary of names of people organized as the Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque of P. Chantraine: by etymological families classified in alphabetical order. This volume is intended to replace the Historische Personennamen des Griechischen by Fr. Bechtel (1917), a book which has become obsolete by the increase of data and the progress made in linguistics. <br />The scientific assumption is the close connection between lexicon and personal names onomastics, so that the project was also conceived as an extension to the Dictionnaire of P. Chantraine who, well aware of the contribution of onomastic knowledge to the history of the words of the lexicon, had already begun to include personal names.

Semantic analysis is intended to make clear the meaning of these names, researching especially their etymology and morphology. For each name, whatever its structure (mainly mono- or di-thematic), the analysis protocol yields the following data — some already available in the current prosopographical LGPN database: (1-6) transliterated and Greek form of the name; number of occurrences; grammatical gender; dialectal areas and period. (7-13): etymological analysis to make clear its morphology, by division into its roots and suffixes. (14-16): grammatical and, except for simple names, syntactical-semantical structure, to help identify the head of the different types of compounds; semantics of the root(s) of the simple or compound name; connection of the name with words of the lexicon or collocations found in the ancient sources of whatever type (epigraphical, papyrological and literary), and lexicographic bibliography. (17): connection of the name of the person with other relevant onomastics of his individual environment (the-onyms, top-onyms, hydr-onyms etc.), and relevant bibliography in onomastics.

1. One of the major results already observable is the following: - the names inscribed in the Greek alphabet, even met on the borders of the Greek world, are mainly of the Greek language rather than the minority language; Even the hybridization between bases of compounds, especially in areas of interlinguistic contact, is only weakly represented.
2. It is striking, even if typologically expected, to see how much any lexicon word is likely to have been simply converted or derived into an anthroponym: almost half of the names of people consist of nicknames most often made on single-base words.
3. The range of suffixes employed is then decisive since it alone makes it possible to effectively distinguish the personal name from the word: it is sometimes the suffix that creates the person.
4. The nominal composition is the other central topic in the development of our project. This is the other mode of formation, complementary to the suffixal derivation, by which personal names are distinguished from the words of the lexicon. This aspect has not yet given rise to publication on the theoretical level, but the richness of the nominal composition, more important than in the lexicon, is obvious.
5. Working in partnership with the Oxford LGPN team made us understand, from the launch presentation of the ANR project in November 2017 in Oxford, that the study of the name of person had to be as much onomastic as etymological and morphological: at the current stage, it has indeed appeared, for a quarter perhaps of our corpus, that the ecological context in the etymological sense of the term (the living milieu of each individual bearer of the name who is necessarily in interaction with its environment, what is deductible thanks to the study of political, economic, social, religious and cultural history, and geography mainly) illuminated, at least as much as the etymology, semantics and pragmatics of the personal denomination.

The 4 years of funding corresponds to the successive stages of the research, whose program mainly follows the alphabetical order of names, beginning with those in Bechtel's HPN. Thus, the 1st year was devoted to names beginning with the letters A-E (about 7,500 names left); the 2nd year, with Z-L (about 7,500); the 3rd year will be devoted to names beginning with M-S (about 8,000) and the last, with T-O (about 7,000). This progression is possible because, once the root of a name has been analysed, data are automatically input when it re-appears either in another simple name combining the root and another suffix, or in another compound combining the root with another.
The major work that will be carried out from now on will consist, along with the editions of the names of the last lots mentioned, to write the printed dictionary, that is to say to organize the names analyzed under their etymological lemma, in accordance with the spirit of the Dictionnaire of P. Chantraine.
In addition, a final colloquium will take place in the summer of 2021. Two subjects are envisaged: one, more central, in the framework of this project, on nominal composition and personal names onomastics; the other, more marginal since it concerns especially the interlinguistic names, which could take the form of a study day, on the acculturation by the name in zones of intercultural contacts.

Books:
1. La suffixation des anthroponymes grecs antiques (770p.), 2017, éd. A. Alonso, L. Dubois, Cl. Le Feuvre, S. Minon, avec la collaboration d'Ed. Chiricat
2. Changing Names. Tradition and Innovation in Ancient Greek Onomastics, éd. R. Parker, Oxford, 2019 (with papers from Jean-Sébastien Balzat, LGPN, and Dan Dana, ANHIMA).
Published papers:
1. Nieto, « Macédonien Agerros », REG 130, 2017, 723-728
2. Dana, « Sur quelques noms daces de Tyras et d’Olbia du Pont », Voprosy Onomastiki 14 (3), 2017, p. 35-51.
3. Dana: annual supplements online (http://www.anhima.fr/spip.php?article1078) of his book: Onomasticon Thracicum, Athènes, 2014 (MELETHMATA 70).
4. Minon, « Amphidios Charillideo (Thasos, VIe s. a. C.) : un nom dérivé en -id-ios, un composé en -dios ou -idios ou un composé tronqué en -i-d-ios?», REG 131, 2018, 733-754.
5. Onomastics notices of the annual Bulletin épigraphique of the Revue des études grecques: 2017 and 2018.
Forthcoming Papers:
1. Minon, « D’Arsinoé à Theudagoras en passant par Akestokypros. Le projet LGPN-Ling de réfection de Die historischen Personennamen des Griechischen bis zur Kaiserzeit de Friedrich Bechtel (HPN 1917) » (VIIe congrès de dialectologie grecque, Bâle, Lausanne, juin 2017; given in September 2017).
2. Minon, « De eschatia au neutre echtar, en passant par ek(s)tasis: béot. Echthatios et cyrén. Echthatian(?), deux noms ‘border-line’ » (given in January 2019 for the Ch. de Lamberterie, éd. D. Petit et Cl. Le Feuvre; forthcoming 2019).
3. Minon, « De Babylone à l’Occident méditerranéen : le nom d’homme hellénisé sous la forme Zôpyros » (given in March 2019 for a volume in honour of R. Wachter, éd. F. dell Oro, M. de Vaan et A.Viredaz, forthcoming 2020).
4. Minon, «Dérivation en -a:- ou en -o- : critères distributionnels. Le cas des anthroponymes en Agora- vs -agoras, -êgoros », (Conference Dérivation nominale et innovations dans les langues indo-européennes anciennes, Rouen, 11-12 octobre 2018; given in April 2019).

Our project is to provide the prosopographic searchable database of the Lexicon of Greek Personal Names of Oxford with a linguistic extension and to extract a printed dictionary to replace the book of F. Bechtel 1917 Die historischen Personennamen des Griechischen bis zur Kaiserzeit (= ?PN, about 15,000 names), which is now out of date since philology and linguistics have made significant progress and the quantity of data has increased greatly: of the 35,000 names currently known thanks to the around 350,000 persons who bore them, about 30,000 would be considered as definitely Greek personal names.

Linguistic analysis is intended to make clear the morphology, etymology and semantics of these names. For each name, whatever its structure (mainly mono- or di-thematic), the analysis protocol will yield the following data — some already available in the current prosopographical LGPN database: (1-6) transliterated and Greek form of the name; number of occurrences; grammatical gender; dialectal areas and period. (7-13): etymological analysis to make clear its morphology, by division into its roots and suffixes. (14-16): grammatical and, except for simple names, syntactical-semantical structure, to help identify the head of the different types of compounds; semantics of the root(s) of the simple or compound name; comparison of the name with words of the lexicon or collocations found in the ancient sources of whatever type (epigraphical, papyrological and literary), and lexicographic bibliography. (17): relevant onomastic bibliography.

The programme will be carried out at three inseparable and complementary levels: 1. entirely new and innovative basic research, important in terms of scholarship and cultural heritage 2. training of students for research by means of research in the context of collaboration between three institutions and research centres of international standing in the field of classical studies: the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, section des sciences historiques et philologiques, where the Project director is directeur d'études, the Université Paris-Sorbonne, Faculty of Greek, the Faculty of Classics of the University of Oxford; and the UMR 8210 Anthropologie et histoire des mondes antiques, the UMR 8167 Orient et Méditerranée and The Stelios Ioannou School for Research in Classical and Byzantine Studies, Lexicon of Greek Personal Names 3. a twofold exploitation of the results by putting active data on line, searchable via the language XML and the international encoding standard of TEI, and the extraction of a printed dictionary.

The 4 years of funding which we are applying for correspond to the successive stages of the research, whose program will mainly follow the alphabetical order of names, beginning with those in Bechtel's HPN. Thus, the 1st year will be devoted to names beginning with the letters A-E (about 7,000 names left); the 2nd year, with Z-? (about 7,500); the 3rd, with M-? (about 7,500) and the last, with ?-O (about 8,000). This exponential progression is possible because, once the root of a name has been analysed, data are automatically input when it re-appears either in another simple name combining the root and another suffix, or in another compound combining the root with another.

This project was endorsed by the IUF in 2014, with the appointment of its coordinator as a member and 5 years of little annual support. It has also received the support of the Oxford team, in the form of a year’s funding (2015-2016) to employ a scholar responsible for creating the linguistic interface, testing it with 1,500 names beginning with A- and preparing the interconnection of the two databases and interoperability of the data. The two tools, one digital and one printed, will be useful both to the scientific community and the general public, whose interest in the origin and meaning of names relates to our cultural heritage.

Project coordinator

Madame Sophie Minon (Anthropologie et histoire des mondes antiques)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

ANHIMA Anthropologie et histoire des mondes antiques
ANHIMA Anthropologie et histoire des mondes antiques
Orient et Méditerranée Orient et Méditerranée, textes - archéologie - histoire
LGPN Lexicon of Greek Personal Names
Orient et Méditerranée, textes - archéologie - histoire

Help of the ANR 289,410 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2017 - 48 Months

Useful links

Explorez notre base de projets financés

 

 

ANR makes available its datasets on funded projects, click here to find more.

Sign up for the latest news:
Subscribe to our newsletter