Today we’re looking at the various origins of the word veranda.
A veranda [vəˈɹæn.də] is:
A porch or balcony, usually roofed and often partly enclosed, extending along the outside of a building.
It comes from Hindi बरामदा [bə.ɾɑːm.d̪ɑː] (barāmdā – porch, veranda, gallery, balcony), from Portuguese varanda [vɐˈɾɐ̃.dɐ] (balcony, veranda, terrace, porch), possibly from Latin vāra (fork, tripod, easel), from vārus (bent outwards, bandy) from PIE *h₁weh₂- (separate) [source].
Alternatively veranda might be related to the Sanskrit word वरण्ड (varaṇḍa – barrier, partition) [source], and/or the Spanish word baranda (railing, banister, handrail, balustrade) [source].
English words that probably come from the same Latin root (vārus), include various, vary and variety [source].
It comes from the Latin word distractus (divided, scattered; sold), from the distrahō (I draw, pull, drag asunder), from dis- (asunder, apart, in two), and *trahō (I drag, pull), from the PIE *dʰregʰ- (to pull, draw, drag) [source].
From the same Latin root come such words as traire (to milk) in French, traer (to bring, fetch, attract, pull) in Spanish, trazer [tɾɐ.ˈzeɾ/tɾa.ˈze(ʁ)] (to bring) in Portuguese, and tractor, tract and traction in English [source].
From the same PIE root, via Proto-Germanic draganą [ˈdrɑ.ɣɑ.nɑ̃] (to draw, pull, carry) and the Old English dragan [ˈdrɑ.ɣɑn] (to draw, drag), we get the English words drawdrag [source].
As I mentioned in this episode, I often get distracted. I even wrote a song about this, called Distraction – I was planning to write one about owls, but got distracted and wrote this one instead. Later I did write an owl-related song called The Little Green Owl.
In this episode I talk about Japanese, giving an overview of the history of the language, its vocabulary and grammar, and how and why I learnt it.
日本語 (nihongo/nippongo) = Japanese
日 (nichi, jitsu, hi, bi, ka) = day, sun, Japan, counter for days. E.g. 日曜日 (nichiyōbi – Sunday), 日々 (hibi / nichinichi – daily), 日陰 (hikage – shade, shadow, sunlight), 日外 (jitsugai – once, some time ago)
本 (moto, hon) = origin, source, base, foundation, root, cause, ingredient, material; book, volume, script; counter for long cylindrical things. e.g. 本木 (motoki – original stock
語 (go) = word, language, speech
語る (kataru) = to talk about, speak of, tell, narate, recite, chant, indicate, show
日本 (nihon/nippon) = Japan (“sun’s origin”) – nippon is used in official uses, such as on banknotes and stamps, while nihon is used in everyday speech.
Japan used to be called 倭 (wa) or 倭國 (wakoku) in Chinese – a name first used in the 3rd century AD. 倭 means “dwarf” or “submissive”. Later the Japanese changed the character 倭 to 和 (peaceful, harmonious) and combined it with 大 (big, great) to form 大和 (yamato) or “Great Wa”, which possibly originally referred to a place in Japan – 山戸 (yamato) or “Mountain Gate”.
絵文字 (emoji) = pictorial symbol, pictograph or pictogram. Also written 絵もじ or エモジ.
絵 (e, kai) = picture, drawing, painting
文 (fumi, aya, bun, mon) = sentence, text, letter
字 (aze, azana, na, ji) = character, letter, written text
Today we are endeavouring to maintain a state of equilibrium by looking at the word balance [ˈbæləns].
– a state in which opposing forces harmonise; equilibrium.
– something of equal weight used to provide equilibrium; counterweight
– awareness of both viewpoints or matters; neutrality; rationality; objectivity.
It comes from the Middle English word balaunce [baˈlantsə] (a set of scales), from the Middle French balance (scales), from the Latin Latin *bilancia from the Latin *bilanx [ˈbɪɫ̪äŋks̠] ((of a balance) having two scales) from bi- (twice) and lanx [ɫ̪äŋks̠] (dish, plate, scalepan) [source].
In Latin the word for a pair of scales or balance was libra, which was also a unit of measure equal to twelve ounces or a pound (lb). This is the root of words for weight and currency in various languages, including livre (pound) in French, lira in Italian, and libra (pound) in Portuguese and Spanish [source].
On today’s adventure we are looking at the origins of the word session, because this afternoon I took part in a music session in a friend’s garden, and I thought I’d find out where the word comes from.
Session comes from the Old French session (sitting, (court) session), from the Latin sessiō (a sitting, a seat, loitering), from sedeō (I sit), from the Proto-Indo-European *sed- (to sit) [source].
Words for to sit in Romance languages, such as sentar in Spanish and Portuguese, asseoir in French, come from the same Latin root [source], and from same the Proto-Indo-European root we get English like assess, dissident, insidious, obsess, possess, reside, seat, sedentary, sedate, sit and siege [source].
Adventures in Etymology is a new series on Radio Omniglot that I started in March 2021. Each week I explore the origins of a word and find out which other words it’s related to. I make a short video each Sunday, and thought I’d post the audio and the script here.
On today’s adventure we are following the word shanty down the etymological rabbit hole. Sea shanties seem to be quite popular at the moment, and the word shanty, as in a rhythmical work song original sung by sailors, comes from the French word chantez (sing), the imperative form of the verb chanter (to sing), from the Old French chanter (to pray, sing, retell or recount), from the Latin cantāre (to enchant, bewitch, forwarn, play (music, roles), recite, sing), from canō (I crow, foretell, play, sing, celebrate, chant), from the Proto-Italic *kanō (to sing), from the Proto-Indo-European *keh₂n- (to sing).
Words in many European languages for to sing come from the same root, including cantar (to sing) in Spanish and Portuguese, cantare (to sing) in Italian, canu (to sing) in Welsh and canadh (to sing) in Irish, and such English words as accent, chant, enchant, incantation, recant.
In this episode I discuss which languages are easiest to learn for native speakers of English, and what factors make languages easy or difficult to learn, including grammar, spelling, pronunciation, vocabulary, the availablity of resources, and so on.
If you’re good at languages, does it follow that you’re good at music, and vice versa? In this episode I talk about links between languages and music. I explore similarities and differences between learning and using languages, and learning and playing music, based mainly on my own experiences.