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date: 20 January 2021

analogy and anomalylocked

  • R. H. Robins

Extract

Analogy and anomaly were the titles of two themes in the investigation of the Greek and Latin languages in the classical era. They turned on the question, to what extent can regularity (analogia, analogy) be recognized in rules and classes (e.g. scribo:scribens (I write, writing); lego:legens (I read, reading); equus (one horse), equi (more than one)) and how far must exceptions (anomalia, anomaly) be accepted (e.g. bonus, melior, optimus (good, better, best); Zeús, Zēnós (Zeus, of Zeus); Athēnai, formally plural, the city of Athens). In part this related to the contemporaneous discussion on the natural or the conventional origin of language.The topic arose in the Greek world in Hellenistic times, and was part of the context in which grammatical science itself developed. The Stoics (see stoicism), especially *Chrysippus and *Crates (3), favoured anomaly, and the Alexandrian scholars argued for analogy in the establishing of correct texts in the Homeric poems and in the teaching of Greek. Only on the evidence of analogies could the apparent disorderliness of language be brought into order. In an early statement on the objectives of grammar (c.

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