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CALL. 30.10.2017: 2nd International Conference on Etymological Theories and Practice in Greek - Beau




LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Villa Kérylos, Beaulieu-sur-Mer (France)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Arnaud Zucker (CEPAM-UMR7264, Univ. Nice Sophia Antipolis, France); Richard Faure (Univ. Nice Sophia Antipolis, France); Vassiliki Mavroidakou-Castellana (Villa Kérylos)

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This international conference, to be held in the Villa Kerylos in September 2018 aims to attract researchers, mainly philologists, linguists and philosophers interested in the ancient practice of etymologizing in Ancient Greek and Byzantine literature. It is promoted by the International Association ETYGRAM ( devoted to the study of “emic” ancient Greek etymologies and follows a first edition in 2016 (ETYGR-2016). The ancient Greek conception of etymology is fundamentally different from our modern one and has a much broader meaning. To start with, it allows a rather exceptional plasticity (see, e.g., Plato’s Cratylus) as far as semantic paronomasia is concerned. As ancient scholars understood it, etymology is chiefly a dynamic process aiming at suggesting semantic correlations between words based on phonetic similarities, with a momentous heuristic power. This intellectual game, a very serious one at that, deserves to be investigated since it is neither scientific in character (as modern linguists would describe it), nor labellable as “folk” etymology. It is rather a cultural construction, which is both an art of punning and an attempt to uncover deep semantic motivations. From Homeric epos onwards (see Porph. ad Il. 9.1.160 : Ὁμηρικοῦ ὄντος τοῦ παρετυμολογεῖν), where it appears to be a major concern, a tendency to cluster together words from the same putative root or origin seems to become more and more widespread. Some of this spirit is still present in modern practice, although it receives undeserved discredit. The phonetic proximity of words in a language have an unquestionable effect on the unconscious representation of the world and interconnecting paronymic words has ever had intense attractiveness and heuristic and intellectual interest, either in linguistic theories or in puns or wordplay practices.

The organizers welcome proposals (in French, English, Greek, German, Spanish or Italian.) on ancient and medieval Greek texts. Conference papers will be 30 minutes, with 15 minutes for discussion. Interested scholars from all academic levels are invited to send an abstract of no more than 500 words to and by October 30, 2017. Participants will be notified in early December, 2017. Accepted papers will be presented on an equal footing with invited speakers. Accommodation and meals expenses will be covered by the organization.

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