GR 1162          EIPON

H 0683            ה פ

Concept of root : mouth, saying

Hebrew word


English meanings

ה פ

mouth, speech, saying

Related English words


Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ה פ

mouth, speech, saying

p .




I said

. p

New Greek



(that) I say

I (will) say

p .



Proto-Semitic *PĒ, *PŪ --- PŌ Greek



In English the verb "to mouth" is used to say that somebody speaks, in a declamatory way with perhaps insufficient content. What interests us is that the noun that in English says "mouth" is also used as a verb that says "to speak". Because this is the phenomenon we meet here. The word that in Hebrew says "mouth" can be recognized in Greek words that say "to speak, say".


Possibly also the Hebrew meanings, so similar to Greek, of "speech" and "saying" have been later developments on basis of the concept "use of the mouth", but that is uncertain.


  • Greek. The verb "λεγω , lego = to say" is one of those that use different roots for different tenses. The consequence is that often little attention is given to the etymology of the root that is considered secondary. This root is the basis for amongst other the form "ειπον , eipon" that conveys "I said" in the past tense called "aorist". This tense expresses past action that is not continuous and it is very important. In Modern Greek it also gives forms for subjunctive and future with that same criterium of actions that are more momentaneous, not continuous. Today the word "eipon" has become "ειπα , eipa". And important are here the subjunctive and future .


    They are respectively "πω να , na po" and "θα πω , tha po" that show us a very brief one-consonant root : "P".


  • Greek and Hebrew have the same one-consonant root "P" to express respectively "mouth" and "to say". This justifies the supposition of a common origin.



  • Proto-Semitic. Scholars agree that in this case the Proto-Semitic root is hard to define. Aramaic had "PUM", southern languages "AF" (which in Hebrew says "nose") for "mouth, language" and Arabic "FUM-" and "FAM-.


    The mouth has two very basic functions: speaking and eating. The "M" found in some languages may refer to the function of "eating", as we see roots with "P" and "M" express concepts like "to take a mouthful", "morsel" and "fill one's mouth".


    The speaking function is seen expressed without an M in the root, as seen in the similarity between Hebrew and Ugaritic, where the concept of "mouth" as such is expressed with a single "P" and a vowel for pronunciation. Specially interesting as a support for the thesis of similarity wih Greek is Phoenician that with the root "P Y" says "mouth, word"! Examples are also Akkadian and Arabic . Interesting is further Ethiopian , that has the vowel in front of the consonant : 'af. The meanings of both "word" and "speech"are found. The conclusion should be that for "mouth" the roots of Proto-Semitic and Hebrew are the same , as in many cases : "* פ , P + vowel". In our comparison we have left the vowel as used in Hebrew together with an alternative as present in Akkadian and Arabic.





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 16/11/2012 at 10.14.38