Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Ethiopia et al. (was NATLANGS: What's that writing system?)

From:R A Brown <ray@...>
Date:Monday, July 10, 2006, 19:42
Roger Mills wrote:
> Mark J. Reed wrote: > > > >>On 7/10/06, Philip Newton <philip.newton@...> wrote: >> >>>And they say "Echiopia de wa", or roughly, "In Ethiopia, ..." >> >>...and "chi" is phonemically "ti". And the Ethiopians I know refer to >>it as something like /i:'tjo.pi.ja/. So why does it have a /T/ in >>English? > > > Latin had aethiop/s, -is, adj. "Ethiopian" (my little dict. adds "fig., > stupid" but let that pass). Most likely adapted from Greek...
Yes, it is derived from Greek, via Latin. It was at one time written Aethiopia, but now almost always Ethiopia. English normally pronounces the Greek derived |th| as /T/, e.h. theatre/theater, thermos, cathode, etc., etc.
> ??ai(th)io:ps?? IIRC that simply referred to (black?) Africans in general. > > (Wikipedia says: "derived from Greek terms meaning "of burnt (αιθ-) visage > (ὄψ)". However, this etymology is disputed.")
Correct. The ancient Greek is Αἰθίοψ (aithiops), gen. Αἰθίοπος (aithiopos) = an 'Ethiopian', a sub-Saharan African. The ancient folk etymology did indeed derive it from αιθ(ι)- "burn" + ὄψ (face). But the presence of the -i- between aith- and -ops is unexplained, and there was in fact a properly formed word αἶθοψ (aithops), gen. αἶθοπος (aithops) = 'fiery-looking'. The Greek Αἰθίοψ was probably derived from some now lost (African?) source, perhaps modified by folk etymology.
> >>Is that a spelling pronunciation, like the way we used to >>pronounce "Neanderthal"....
Nope. -- Ray ================================== ================================== "Ein Kopf, der auf seine eigene Kosten denkt, wird immer Eingriffe in die Sprache thun." "A mind that thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language". J.G. Hamann, 1760