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From:R A Brown <ray@...>
Date:Thursday, September 13, 2007, 20:00
Eugene Oh wrote:
> 2007/9/13, R A Brown <ray@...>: > >>Isn't the modern Hebrew for 'electricity' derived from a Biblical Hebrew >>word for _amber_? And the Chinese is certainly non-Greek-based, namely >>dian4 (which IIRC is also the word for 'lightning'). >> > > Technically wouldn't the mod. Hebrew word be counted then as sort of > "Greek-based",
It depends how loosely you define the term, I guess. I understood John Vertical's question to refer to derivations from the actual Greek language, i.e. from _electron_ (amber).
> given that presumably it was one of those words that > Eliezer Ben-Yehuda or one of the Haskalah-ites (what do you call the > people of the Haskalah?) calqued from the major European tongues of > the time?
Oh, yes, if I've remembered it correctly, it is certainly a calque.
> Or I may just be thinking too much. :-p
Not at all. It's worth pointing out. We have, in fact, three categories of language, so to speak, i.e.: (a) Those like the majority of European languages that derive the word for 'electricity' etc. from the Greek ήλεκτον (e:lektron) "amber." (b) Those that are calqued from the major European languages, i.e. derive their words from their own (possibly archaic) word for "amber", e.g. Icelandic and IIRC modern Hebrew. (c) Those which derive their word for electricity from a quite different source, e.g. Finnish & Chinese and ..... Welsh: trydan <-- tân "fire" with the prefix _try-_ (plus soft mutation) "through, inner". Thus 'electricity' is, so to speak, 'the fire within things.' Breton similarly has _tredan_. -- Ray ================================== ================================== Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu. There's none too old to learn. [WELSH PROVERB]


ROGER MILLS <rfmilly@...>
Dr. Peter E. Tarlow <tourism@...>chashmal