Adventures in Etymology 16 – Book

Today we are looking at the word book [bʊk].

Library

Definition
– a handwritten or printed work of fiction or nonfiction, usually on sheets of paper fastened or bound together within covers
– a work of fiction or nonfiction in an electronic format [source]

It comes from the Middle English word booke [boːk] (book), from the Old English bōc [boːk] (book, writing. document), from the Proto-Germanic *bōks [bɔːks] (letter, written message, inscriptions carved into a flat object pressed together) [source].

In Middle English another word for book was livret, from the Old French livret (book, booklet) from livre (book), from the Latin liber (book, the inner bark of a tree, paper, parchment), from the PIE *lewbʰ- (to peel, cut off, harm).

English words from the same root include leaf, lobby, lodge, libel, library, which in Middle and Old English was bōchūs [ˈboːkˌhuːs] or “bookhouse” [source] or bōchord (“bookhoard”) [source]. Incidentally, there’s a post on the Omniglot blog about words for library in various languages.

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog.

Adventures in Etymology 10 – Enigmatic

Today we are looking at the word enigmatic [ˌen.ɪɡˈmæt.ɪk/ˌɛnɪɡˈmætɪk], a mysterious, puzzling, perplexing and inscrutable word that defies description.

Definition: “mysterious and impossible to understand completely” [source]. Or,“resembling an enigma, or a puzzling occurrence, situation, statement, person, etc.; perplexing; mysterious” [source].

enigmatic ayam

It comes from enigma (riddle; sth/sb puzzling, mysterious or inexplicable), from the Latin aenigma [ae̯ˈniɡ.ma] (riddle, allegory), from the Ancient Greek αἴνιγμα [ˈɛ.niɣ.ma] (riddle, taunt, ambush) from αἶνος [ˈɛ.nos] (story, fable, praise) [source], which is posibly the root of the name Αἰνείας / Aenēās, the trojan hero of the Aeneid, and legendary ancestor of Romans [source].

In Modern Greek αίνιγμα [ˈɛniɣma] means a riddle, puzzle or enigma, αινιγματικός [ɛniɣmatiˈkɔs] means enigmatic, mysterious, inscrutable, and αινιγματικότητα (ainigmatikótita) means obscurity.

Greek recordings made with: https://ttsfree.com/

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology on the Omniglot Blog.

Episode 43 – Punctuation

In this episode I talk about punctuation, focusing particularly on the history and development of punctuation, and some of the people involved.

Here is Victor Borge demonstrating his Phonetic Punctuation:

Music featured in this episode

Hedge Cats / Cathod y Gwyrch

See the score for this tune.

Frolicing Ferrets / Ffuredau sy’n Prancio

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM, podtail and or via this RSS feed.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Adventures in Etymology 9 – Window

Today we are looking at the word window [ˈwɪndəʊ / ˈwɪndoʊ].

Definition: an opening in the wall of a building, the side of a vehicle, etc., for the admission of air or light, or both, commonly fitted with a frame in which are set movable sashes containing panes of glass [source].

Windows

Window comes from the Middle English windowe/windohe/windoge, from the Old Norse vindauga (window) or literally “wind-eye/wind-hole”, as windows were originally unglazed holes in walls or roofs that allowed the wind to pass through [source].

Another word for window in Middle English was fenestre/fenester, which was used in parallel with windowe/windohe/windoge until the mid 16th century. It comes from the Old French fenestre (window), from the Latin fenestra (window, breach, loophole, orifice, inlet), which possibly came from Etruscan.

In Old English a window was known as an eagþyrel [ˈæ͜ɑːɣˌθyː.rel] (“eye-hole”) or ēagduru [ˈæ͜ɑːɣˌdu.ru] (“eye-door”). This fell out of use by about 1200 AD [source].

Words for window in some other Germanic languages are similar to window, including vindue [ˈvend̥u] in Danish, vindu in Norwegian, vindeyga [ˈvɪntˌɛiːja] in Faroese, and vindöga in Swedish, although that is no longer used, and fönster is used instead.

Words for window in the Goidelic languages were borrowed from Old Norse: fuinneog [ˈfˠɪn̠ʲoːɡ] in Irish, uinneag [ɯn̪ʲag] in Scottish Gaelic and uinnag [onˈjaɡ] in Manx [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology on the Omniglot Blog.

Adventures in Etymology 8 – Mother

As today is Mother’s Day in many countries around the world, though not here in the UK, we are looking at the origins of the word mother.

Mother

Mother comes from the Middle English moder [ˈmoːdər/ˈmoːðər], from the Old English mōdor [ˈmoː.dor], from the Proto-Germanic *mōdēr [ˈmɔː.ðɛːr], from Proto-Indo-European *méh₂tēr [source].

Words for mother in most Indo-European languages come from the same root, including moeder [ˈmu.dər] in Dutch, Mutter [ˈmʊtɐ] in German, and móðir [ˈmouːðɪr] in Icelandic [source].

Some related words include matriarch, matron, maternal, matrimony, material, matriculate, matrix and matter, all of which come ultimately from the Latin māter (mother, matron, woman, nurse) via French [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology on the Omniglot Blog.

Adventures in Etymology 5 – Music

Today we are looking at the origins of the word music, which is something that is quite important to me as I like to sing, play various musical instruments, and to write songs and tunes.

Music comes from the Middle English word musyke [ˈmiu̯ziːk], which was borrowed from the Anglo-Norman musik/musike, which came from the Old French musique [myˈzikə], from the Latin mūsica [ˈmuː.si.ka].

This was borrowed from the Ancient Greek μουσική (mousikḗ) [moː.si.kɛ̌ː], which means ‘music, poetry or art’, and comes from Μοῦσα (Moûs – Muse), inspirational Ancient Greek goddesses of literature, science, and the arts. Of uncertain origin, possibly from the Proto-Indo-European root *men- (to think).

Other words from the same Greek root include Muse, museum and mosaic.

In Old English the word for music (and also joy, frenzy and ecstasy) was drēam [dræ͜ɑːm], from the Proto-West Germanic *draum (dream), from the Proto-Germanic *draumaz [ˈdrɑu̯.mɑz] (dream), from the Proto-Indo-European *dʰrewgʰ- (to deceive, injure, damage). The word dream comes from the same root.

Sources: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/music
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muses
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euterpe

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly? – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology on the Omniglot Blog.

Here’s my latest song – Distraction – I was planning to write a song about owls, but got distracted and wrote this instead:

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Adventures in Etymology 4 – April

As we are in the month of April, I thought I’d look at the origins of that word.

Spring blossom / Blodau'r Gwanyn

April comes from the Middle English apprile, which was originally aueril, from the Old French avrill, but was re-Latinised to make it like the Latin word Aprīlis (of the month of the goddess Venus), which possibly came from the Etruscan 𐌀𐌐𐌓𐌖 (apru), from the Ancient Greek Ἀφροδίτη (Aphrodítē), the goddess of love and beauty [source].

The originally Old English word for April was ēastermōnaþ, or “Eastermonth”, named after the goddess Ēastre, whose name is related to a Proto-Indo-European word for dawn and east (*h₂ews-). The word Eastermonth also exists in modern English, but is only used in poetry [source].

Words for April, and other months, in many languages.

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly​ – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology on the Omniglot Blog.

Here’s a Spring-related tune I wrote: Spring at Last / Gwanwyn o’r Diwedd

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

Blubrry podcast hosting

Adventures in Etymology 2 – Clocks

On today’s adventure we are looking at the origins of the word clock, as today is the day when clocks are put forward an hour, at least here in the UK.

Clock

So as we leave Greenwich Mean Time and sail off into British Summer time – appropriately it’s lovely wet and windy day – let us consider the clock, a device for measuring and indicating the time.

The word clock comes from the Middle Dutch clocke (bell, clock), from the Old Northern French cloque (bell), from the Medieval Latin clocca (bell), probably from a Gaulish word, from the Proto-Celtic *klokkos (bell), which is either onomatopeic, or from the Proto-Indo-European *klek (to laugh or cackle). From the same root we get the Welsh cloch (bell, prize, feat, clock) and related words in other Celtic languages.

Etymology from: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/clock#English

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly​ – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology on the Omniglot Blog.

I haven’t written any tunes or songs about clocks yet, but heres one about bells:

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

Blubrry podcast hosting

Adventures in Etymology 1 – Shanty

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 the Waterfront - Zebu

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.

Etymology from: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/shanty

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly​ – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology on the Omniglot Blog.

Here are a couple of shanty-like songs I wrote, and a shanty like tune:

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Episode 41 – Words

In this episode I talk about words – what they are and where they come from. This is losely based on a talk I gave at the Polyglot Gathering in Bratislava in 2018 entitled “Deconstructing Language“.

Videos and slides from other presentations I have given at language-related events.

Music featured in this episode

Hedge Cats / Cathod y Gwyrch

See the score for this tune.

Y Delyn Newydd (The New Harp)

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM, podtail and or via this RSS feed.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

Blubrry podcast hosting