13th International Cognitive Linguistics – University of Copenhagen

13th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference

Dr Maria Papadopoulou presented a talk at the 13th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference (ICLC-13) 20-25 July 2015 in Northumbria University, Newcastle, England.


The Role of Prepositional Locatives in the Greek Garb Vocabulary Cluster

What is 'to dress' (or 'to clothe') in ancient Greek? The words that denote 'to wear' or 'dress in' and 'garment' are often compounds with the following prepositional locatives:

  • ἀμφὶ (on either side, οn both sides), e.g. ἀμφι-καλύπτω (to wear, lit. to cover both sides of the body), ἀμπέχω (< ἀμφὶ + ἔχω = to put on, lit. to have around)
  • ἀνὰ (up, upward), e.g. ἀνα-χλαινόω (to clothe with a mantle), ἀνα-βολή (that which is thrown back over the shoulder, mantle), ἀνα-βολάδιον (mantle)
  • ἐν (in), e.g. ἐγχλαμυδόομαι (to be wrapped in a cloak), ἔναμμα (< ἐνάπτω; garment, covering), ἐνθετταλίζομαι (to be wrapped in a cloak)
  • ἐπὶ (on, upon); e.g. ἐπί-βλημα, ἐπι-βολή, ἐπι-πόρπημα, ἐφ-άπλωμα, ἐφ-απτίς, ἐφ-εστρίς --all denote 'cloth, garment' or a kind of garment
  • περὶ (around); e.g. περι-έν-νυμι (wear), περι-βάλλω (wear), περι-βολή (garment)

It is no news to experts in ancient textiles that Greek clothing consisted of lengths of linen or wool fabric, which was usually rectangular in shape. Outfits were usually not tight-fitting. They composed of outer and inner garments. Inner garments were shaped, folded and altered by belting at the waist, or chest.
Outer garments came in a variety of shapes and lengths and were fixed by brooches for travel or other activities that required free use of the arms.
The most common styles of outer outfits were: the simple wrap-around type of garment, the open-front type of garment, the fixed-by means-of-a-brooch type of garment. The fabric was placed around the body, wrapping or surrounding it; thus, it was draped, not tailored and little or no stitching or sewing was required; it was fixed by fibulae, not tied. This wrapping around the body type of wearing is, Ι argue, an element that reflects on an important aspect of the Greek language.

This paper will examine the use of prepositional locatives as prefixes of garment terms (nouns e.g. ἔν-δυμα, verbs e.g. ἀναβάλλω, and multi-word constructions due to tmesis, e.g. εἵματα ἕσσε περὶ χροΐ Od. 16. 457).
Whereas lexicography often categorizes linguistic items in a way which implies a box or file-like 'storage', cognitive semantic analysis can help tease apart things that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Embodied cognition and image-schema theory can help explain how language conveys meaning through situated body practices. Ιn this paper I suggest a way to examine this dress-related vocabulary cluster and show that the spatial conceptualization of the act of dressing is construed as 'around-ness' and 'containment' in Greek.
What I ultimately hope to show is that the Greek textile and garb terms are “good to think with” as they illustrate, in the most immediate way, the extricate connections and analogies that human languages make between corporeal experience and patterns of thought.

Key words

Prepositions, garment vocabulary, Greek, aroundness

Select Bibliography

[Author] forth. Dismantling the mantle or unweaving the chlamys? A semantically oriented gaze at ancient Greek garment terms designating 'cloak'. In: S. Gaspa S., M. - L.Nosch, M. Harlow eds. Textile Terminologies from the Orient to the Mediterranean and Europe 1000BC-1000 A.D. Oxford: Oxbow

Bortone P. 2010. Greek Prepositions From Antiquity to the Present. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Luraghi, S. 2003. On the Meaning of Prepositions and Cases. Amsterdam: John Benjamins

Short, W. 2013. Latin De: A View From Cognitive Semantics. Classical Antiquity 32 (2): 37