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Nova tellus

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MENDEZ DOSUNA, Julián. The Polysemy of gr. ργός ('White', 'Fast'). Nova tellus [online]. 2012, vol.30, n.2, pp.11-37. ISSN 0185-3058.

Since Homer, ἀργός means both 'white' and 'quick'. According to prevalent doctrine, 'quick' is the original meaning. Allegedly, it is attested for the cognates of ἀργός in Indo-Iranian. The change of meaning from 'quick' to 'white' is attributed to synesthesia. However, the original meaning must have been 'white', since there is no compelling evidence for 'quick' outside Greek and synesthesia between motion and shine / colour is unlikely. So, we are not dealing with a natural semantic shift, but with a case of irrational resemantization.

Keywords : irregular semantic change; synesthesia; irrational polysemy; ἀργός.

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