8 de janeiro de 2012

"Indiana Jones and The Power of Linguistics"


Understanding the origin of words is a key to power

By Allen Quetone

TheAndrewMeyer.com Contributor

Dusty catacombs crawling with vermin and concealing mysterious treasures. Hidden passages unlocked to reveal certain death or immense fortune. Ancient myths and legends leading to all the secrets of the human race. The study of linguistics has always been dangerous. Many would have you believe it’s study will lead to death by boredom. The benefits of linguistics are definitely not emphasized enough in our profit driven world.

The average citizen is driven to study languages like political rhetoric, popular jargon, and financial nomenclature in order to stay afloat in a highly competitive workforce. Many lose their frame of mind and become virtual clones by thinking in these languages of “mass communication.” As billionaire Karl Albrecht puts it, “change your language and you change your thoughts.” In addition to the bombardment of these evolving pseudo-languages, students at an earlier age also face the pragmatic pressures of pursuing fields of study that yield better salaries. Pay for Engineering, Science, Finance, and Business is thought to trump the “softer” liberal arts, whose study often conjures the image of coffee barista at the end of its path. While it may seem an impractical, outdated, and archaic field of study, linguistics opens the locks to treasures in every field that attempts to discredit it.

The emphasis on linguistics in the Indiana Jones saga seems a fitting tribute to the power this tool can bring to its user. While Indiana Jones’ heroics and knowledge of history play key roles in his success, his understanding of language and the origin of words allow his adventures to end at the source of the treasures he seeks. The knowledge of the origins and etymology of words is indeed a treasure map to meanings and the power they possess.

English is one of the richest sources of wisdom and knowledge in the world. Prior to its rise to the most popular language in the world, English was influenced by almost every spoken and written word. The verdant and fertile island in which it originally took root was always the target of invasion and war. The Romans, Francs, Norse, and Germanic Tribes all took their shots at dominance over the isle. Along with their swords these conquerors brought their language, cultures, and previous conquests. Far from domination, these invaders instead enriched the land and people with almost all of the combined knowledge of the ancient world. For this reason, English’s primary contributors are Latin, French, and the early Germanic Languages. The story of English is actually quite universal. The roots and keys to understanding every language in existence can be found by looking to the ancient empires that sought to subjugate them. For this reason Latin, Greek, Chinese, Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit are the principle contributors to all thoughts in the world.

Exploration of these roots can yield forgotten truths even in everyday life. Words and actions we take for granted often reveal their true purpose when we mind their origins. The word chair is derived from the Old French word chaiere and the modern French chaire meaning “throne or pulpit”. This draws light on the importance of the object and words such as Chairman and even explains why those who sit when they work often make more than those who must stand. Even our terms for recent inventions and innovations have their roots in the ancient past. The word car is derived from the Latin carrum “two wheeled chariot”. Even the trending word on the American mind, job has a telling past. Originally from the French gob meaning “mouthful”, it was coined as a reference to obtaining enough work to feed oneself. Money is derived from the Latin moneta meaning “mint or coined” referring to the location of their primary mint near the temple of Moneta or Juno. Even the word bank derives it’s meaning from the Germanic word bank meaning “bench or table”, referring to the table or bench where the original modern bankers did their business in Renaissance Italy.

Even the days of the week reveal our connection to the ancient world and the gods they revered. The English words for the days of the week are derived from the Germanic gods that they were devoted to. Interestingly the Germanic gods corresponding with each day almost perfectly align themselves with the gods the Roman’s equated with each day. Sunday and Monday are devoted to the Sun and Moon respectively with those being the most important heavenly bodies to the ancient world. Tuesday is Tiu’s day, the Germanic god of war. Wednesday is Woden’s day, the leader of the hunt. Thursday is Thor’s day, the Norse god of thunder. Friday is Freya’s day the Norse god of Love. Saturday is Saturn’s day, this is actually unchanged from the Roman equivalent and is devoted to Saturn the roman god of agriculture and the ruler of earth during the golden age. A look at the Spanish (Latinized) days of the week reveals the same.

English Spanish Relevant Information
Sunday Domingo The Latin word for lord is dominus

Monday Llunes The Spanish word for moon is luna

Tuesday Martes The Spanish word for Mars is Marte
Wednesday Miercoles The Spanish word for Mercury is Mercurio

Thursday Jueves The Spanish word for Jupiter is Jupiter

Friday Viernes The Latin word for Venus is Veneris
Saturday Sabado The Latin word for Sabbath is sabbato

The scientific field of medicine also shrouds many of it’s secrets in Latin nomenclature. Almost all of the technical terms in medicine are verbatim Latin words for the parts of the body they define. Scapula means “shoulder” in Latin. Femur means “thigh” in Latin. Fibula means “fasten with a clasp” in Latin. Anatomy Class is basic Latin vocabulary. The law profession uses the same Latin inspired nomenclature for it’s terms. Habeas corpus means “To Possess a body,” jurisprudence means “prudence of law”, Per diem means “per day”.

The study of languages and their roots can yield instant understand of terms in fields foreign to you and even to in languages never you’ve never encountered. It can reveal truths behind those you thought we just discovered. It will show you what you were looking for and it will show you things you didn’t know you were looking for. Thinking past the words that you are bombarded with and understanding every word you come across lets you play by your rules, not by the words manufactured for you. Choose your words, and you can control your thoughts. Control your thoughts, and you determine your own reality. Choose wisely.


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