greek and latin roots

as pride month slowly winds to a close, this is your fun daily reminder that hyperspecific identity labels are like fine if you want to use them to personally try to understand your relationships with sex and gender, but to pretend even for a second that they provide coherent commentary about whether/how you’re affected by oppression such as homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny is woefully misinformed and potentially detrimental to the process of learning which power structures you benefit from and which ones you’re oppressed by

additionally, it’s potentially harmful to others (especially younger people!) bc it can a] prevent them from working through internalized shit to figure out their own identities b] trivialize the oppression faced by gay/bi/trans folks and c] further useless identity politics and respectability politics at the hands of people who don’t want to admit they receive sociopolitical benefits over others, which d] takes away from the community goals of, say, helping homeless lgbt people, helping lgbt addicts, helping lgbt hiv+ folks, helping to educate communities about what it means to be lgbt to reduce homophobia and transphobia, etc

when political coalitions such as the lgbt community, formed from the blood, sweat, and tears of lesbians, gay men, bi people, and trans people (and notably trans women, especially twoc) to combat violent oppression, are watered down to “this is a nice place where every single person can be included if they say so” it’s spitting in the faces of those who fought for us, for our rights, for our futures. making this an all-inclusive, “just grab some latin or greek roots and make up your own identity!” free-for-all (which also ignores that every single person has their own distinct and unique experience with gender and sex, btw) shows blatant disregard and disrespect to those who built this community for us. it needs to stop.

Q: I feel like every time he [Brandon] needs a “magic word” he just takes two regular words and jams them together. Dreamshard, Shardblade, Shardplate, Lightweaving, Mistborn, Coinshot, Pewterarm, Coppercloud, Surgebinder, Soulcaster, etc etc etc

A: It’s done intentionally. Let’s look at our options.

I can create all-out fantasy words for terms like this. (Lait or crem from Stormlight are examples.) Problem is, the more you do this, the more you pile a difficult linguistics on top of a reader. The more words like this they have to learn, the more difficult it is to get into a story. If you were doing it, perhaps you’d go this direction. I feel that overloading on these terms is dangerous. Already, the main reason new readers put down my books is that they feel overwhelmed by the worldbuilding.

So we have the second option. Use a latin, germatic, or greek root and create a word that FEELS right, has some mental connection for the reader, but which isn’t a real word.

Allomancy/Feruchemy/Hemalurgy. Veristitalian. To a lesser extent, Elantris.

This so called “Harry Potter Spells” method gives some familiarity to the naming, makes them stick a little better in people’s heads, which makes the books a little easier to get into. But they’re also distracting to some readers who say, “Wait. There’s no Latin in this world, so where did Latin root words come from?” And for others (particularly in translation) those roots mean nothing, and so these all end up lumped into the first group.

The final method is the pure Germanic method–creating compound words. It works in English very well because of our Germanic roots–and is one of the main ways (other than turning nouns into verbs or the other direction) that we create new words. Supermarket. Masterpiece. Newspaper. Thunderstorm. Footprint. Firework. Heartbeat. Yourself. None of those look odd to you because they are words that are “meant” to go together in your head.

I use some of batch one, some of batch two, but I do favor batch three–it does what I want it to. Works in the language, has an “otherworld” feel but is also very quickly understood by someone new to the series. There are arguments for all three methods, however.
Gender Identity in Displaced Fiction

So you want to write a nonbinary character.

The problem? Your story takes place thousands of years ago, before the names of many genders were coined, or centuries into the future, after all previous knowledge of mankind was lost. Or maybe, even in an alternate universe where the words we know and use to describe nonbinary people today don’t, never have, and never will exist. 

What do you do? You don’t want to be inconsistent or culturally appropriative by using genders heavily based in religions and nonwhite ethnicities. Fortunately, this is a question that has more than one right answer. 

Option 1: Forget labels. As long as you fully (and respectfully) acknowledge that your character isn’t binary or cis, which can be done through using gender neutral pronouns and/or neopronouns, have the evidence of their identity stem from their own dialogue (e.g. “I’m not a boy or a girl,” “sometimes I’m one, sometimes I’m the other). 

This is probably the best option if you’re not nonbinary and want to play it safe. 

Option 2: Consult a nonbinary person. Listening to the people you’re writing about is very important, especially when they belong to a marginalized group. If a nonbinary person says the way a nonbinary character is being portrayed is okay, it usually is, although it’s always nice to get a second opinion. But also, try not to bog them down during your every conversation with questions; they don’t exist just to help you figure out how to write about them.

Option 3: Come up with your own terms. This is where things can get a little touchy. For example, if you’re cis or binary trans, you might not realize how extensive our terminology is. There are many genders that describe abstract experiences which nearly always correlate to the individual’s relationship with the concept of gender as a whole, which widens your horizons considerably. 

A common theme in the nonbinary community is comparing ourselves to stars, in both protest to and solidarity with applying binary genders to the moon and sun. You might look up the Greek or Latin root word for stars, or pronouns related to a suffix that implies space travel, and incorporate that into your story. Do some research into terminology that already exists and decide what formatting would fit best in the context–would noungenders be more common in a futuristic sci-fi world? Would more ancient gender identities in your universe have the word ‘gender’ in them, or is that too out of place? 

There are plenty of other ways to sidestep linguistic technicalities, but these should at least help you get started. 


Despite the ancient origins of the Greek [and later, via French, Latin] suffix -logia, and eventually -ology, the addition of -ology to mean “the study of” a subject didn’t begin in earnest until the mid-1800s. A few related words (such as theology) existed before then, but it was not a commonly-used root in the sciences before that period.

Today, though, it’s a ubiquitous root, used in science and nonce words alike. Want to study some animal -ologies? Here are a few of those fields!

[Of course, many of these fields of study don’t universally use the Latin/Greek name, but it’s fun to know!]

Biology: The study of organic life. The root bio- is from the Greek bios, meaning “the way of life, the way one lives” (properly-formed example: biography), so “biology” takes some liberties with its modern definition.

Zoology: The study of animals. From Greek zoion (animal, living being).

  • Birds! Ornithology
    Extinct birds! Paleornithology
    - Bird nests! Caliology
    - Bird eggs! Oology- Nestlings! Neossology
    - Bird feathers! Pteryolology

  • Bugs! Entomology
    - Honeybees! Apiology
    All bees! Mellitology
    - Wasps! Vespology
    - Beetles! Coleopterology
    Grasshoppers! Orthopterology [rare alt. Acridilogy]
    - Flies! Dipterology
    - Ants! Myrmecology
    - Bugs on dead people! Forensic entomology
    - Pollination! Anthecology

  • Arachnids! Arachnology
    Spiders! Araneology
    - Ticks and mites! Acarology

  • Other Arthropods! Arthropodology
    Crabs! Carcinology
    - Centipedes and millipedes! Myriapodology
    Squids, octopi, and other molluscs! Malacology 
    - Shells! Conchology

  • Fish! Ichthyology
    Sharks and rays! Elasmobranchology
    - Freshwater fish! Limnobiology [full freshwater ecosystem]
    - Plankton! Planktology
    Extinct fishes! Palaeichthyology

  • Amphibians and reptiles! Herpetology [amphibians only - Amphibiology]
    - Snakes! Ophiology
    - Frogs! Batrachology
    Turtles! Cheloniology
    - Lizards and geckos! Squamatology or Saurology
    - Salamanders! Caudatology

  • Mammals! Mammology [alt. Mastology, Theriology]
    - Platypuses and echidnas! Monotreme mammalogy
    - Placental mammals! Eutheriology
    Marsupials! Metatheriology
    - Whales! Cetology
    Horses! Hippology
    - Horses but also tapirs and rhinos! Perissodactology
    - Dogs! Cynology
    Cats! Felinology
    - Primates! Primatology

I’m just imagining alien translators having a hard time with our languages, especially English, because so frequently they are just mish-mashed messes of other languages. Like I can just see some poor language bot having the hardest time translating English because half of our words are either Latin/Greek roots or the odd French or Spanish words thrown in. It’s not too hard for me to imagine an alien society where the primary language has few to no ancestral roots to their words.

Fruit Basket

As the place where I live has basically turned into a living cornucopia with the coming of summer, here are a few fruit etymologies to celebrate abundance. (And apples, as it turns out. All fruits are apples. Everything is apples.) 

Apple: Perhaps a boring start, but I’ve always been fond of apples. Apple comes from Old English aeppel, from Proto-Germanic aplaz and PIE abel. There are similar words across most Indo-European languages, most of which also mean “apple” or just “fruit” in general. Apple started this way in English as well: it was a term for all fruit (except for berries) and also for nuts. Often other fruits would have “apple” in their names, like fingeraeppla, the Old English word for “dates”. Because “apple” was a generic term for fruit, it is often mistakenly referred to as the “fruit of the forbidden tree” in the Bible, though the text of Genesis does not name any particular fruit. 

Melon: As much as apples were the generic fruit in English and many other languages, “melon” is the generic term for unknown fruits in Greek. (It means apple.) However, it was the root of melopeponem, the Latin word for several varieties of sweet gourds, from whence it wandered into English via Old French in the 1300s. 

Peach: Another fruit that is actually just an apple, “peach” comes from Latin malum persicum, translated from the fruit’s Greek name and literally meaning “Persian apple”. The name probably came about because the Persians introduced Europe to the peach, having gotten them from China.

Grape: In a shocking turn of events, grapes are not apples. “Grape” comes from Old French, probably a back-formation from the verb graper, meaning “to steal, to pluck”. (A back-formation is when a noun is created out of an adjective or verb. This is “backwards” because usually, verbs and adjectives are derived from nouns.) The French word replaced the Old English word, which was literally “wineberry.” 

cosmofex  asked:

There's something i've been curious about: How do you come up with the magic-scientific terminology? Because I have previously looked up "claudication" and it turns out it's a medical term for leg cramps which, unless i'm missing steps in the logic chain, doesn't lead to "worldgate" easily. Is it just what sounds nice and sciency or is it based on actual terminology? (also confusing is online dictionaries "use in a sentence" using YW quotes, which don't match meanings, so it's not super helpful)

I really have to find a little time in the next little while to get the new installation of the Errantry Concordance kickstarted. (The old one had to be removed because it was constantly under attack by hackbots of various kinds trying to use it to house links to counterfeit Viagra.) (sigh)

Anyway: Most wizardly terminology in the YW universe is derived either from (broadly) scientific terminology or (more narrowly) medical terminology twisted slightly out of shape and/or subverted to my own purposes. Almost all terms are derived from Latin or Greek roots and assembled in ways consistent with the ways in which scientific terms are formed. (I took Latin in high school because I knew it to be a primary language of science and felt sure I’d be wanting it in college. The Greek came along with that more as a gateway into the ancient classics than anything else, but it too gets used routinely in scientific terminology.) I prefer to use genuine scientific concepts and terms to generate wizardly ones, because (a) I enjoy it and (b) I am lazy. Why waste time and energy making terms up when so many real ones are  lying around just waiting to be used? …But also: wizardly terms constructed using valid scientific usage sound more real. And the more truth you add to a lie, the stronger it gets. :)

Re claudication: The word goes back, originally, to the Latin claudo- root that means to shut or block something up. It also later came to mean a limp or lameness secondary to what was seen in ancient times as a blockage of local blood supply. This is also where the Emperor Claudius got his common appellation, by the way: Claudius is a second name, almost more a nickname than anything else – and too easily translatable as “Gimpy”. He limped from childhood, secondary to a dystonic / movement disorder from which he suffered his whole life and which caused some members of his family (and the public in general) to think of him, and treat him, as if he was mentally deficient – which he definitely was not. (The forensic medical people are still arguing over what was responsible for this disorder: possibly cerebral palsy or a childhood neurological insult via something like infectious encephalitis. See this article for what look like the best conjectures so far.)

…Whatever: where were we? When I was studying nursing, the term claudication was in general use to describe a narrowing or constriction of blood vessels (up to the point of obstruction, anyway, at which point other terminology cuts in). So when I started thinking about the concept of giving wizards a little portable pocket in spacetime, the word “claudication” naturally suggested itself, and “temporospatial” seemed an unavoidable add-on.

Therefore the entry in the Concordance defines claudication as:

A pinching or obstruction in some structure or medium through which another medium is normally meant to pass or flow freely. In wizardly usage, a constriction – normally artificial, but occasionally natural – in the structure of space, or (in the case of temporospatial claudications) of spacetime.

The most frequent casual usage for the term describes a small, “pinched-off” volume of space. Since space is already amenable to this kind of pinching (a much gentler version of which manifests itself as gravity), many wizards use one of these to keep personal belongings in. A claudication can be “hooked to” or associated with a specific mass – usually the wizard’s own body – so that it permanently follows the wizard around and is always within reach.

The definition for temporospatial claudication is a bit more specific:

Any pinching or constriction that affects both a volume of space and a segment of time or timeflow. Usually a temporospatial claudication is artificially induced, but there are occasional incidences of the effect in nature. (Black holes, for example, can sometimes have temporospatial claudications associated with them.)

The term is also used to describe a small pinched-off volume of spacetime kept for wizardly purposes. (SYWTBAW, et al)

So there you have it. Thanks for asking!


Newest installment of my medical meta series, medical language, a lot of which is rooted in Greek and Latin. Still not a doctor, nor do I speak either of these. (does anyone tbh?)

Previous medical metas can be found here.

apologies for the sheer amount of text, but it’s super hard to find corresponding images

Okay but what if there was PBSTeens?

Not PBS, not PBSKids/Go. PBSTeens. And while there are some new shows, what if old ones came back in a new way? Think about it, teenaged Cybersquad is helping you solve Algebra and Geometry, teenaged Wordgirl is teaching a higher vocabulary, Greek and Latin roots, and translating Shakespeare, and Arthur and the gang are going through highschool, facing and overcoming/coping with several of the same problems you are going through.

New Orientation/Sexuality?

Hello! Due to the seemingly ongoing debate as to which definition of pansexuality is right– attraction to all genders vs. attraction irregardless of gender; I thought I’d try my hand at coining a new term to fix that! I ID as pansexual myself but have began to feel increasingly that the label no longer accurately represents me in what it currently means and, I’m sure others (might) feel the same. So, to avoid the headaches and confusion I thought it best.

To lay out some ideas, here are my label suggestions all pulled from Greek/Latin roots/prefixes respectively:

  • Iso/Para/Equisexual- These mean equal or on the same level and since pansexuals love indiscriminately of gender, I thought it’d make sense.
  • Idesexual- Ide means idea, thought, shape or picture so I thought this might be a good way to describe how pansexuals are attracted to the idea of someone or their “personality.”
  • Disexual- Di means throughout, between, apart or detached; basically it’s kind of abstract which, the concept of how pansexuals experience attraction kind of is as well. Can conveniently be shortened to “di” like bi.

I also saw a post about possibly creating a new term to describe feelings detached from gender, or not really having a solid concept of preferences/not liking any one gender more than another which I think it describes.

The Flag:

The colors don’t mean anything in particular. I had trouble enough finding a color scheme that didn’t look like an eyesore or too closely like an already existing flag. I tried to retain the light and “happy” feel of the original pan flag while still having noticeable differences. Now, I’m by no means a linguist nor do I have much experience designing anything. Nothing is set in stone so, if you have any suggestions or comments, please, I’d love to hear your thoughts and get some feedback! My inbox is open or you could shoot me a message and discuss person to person. For now, I will be tagging these posts as #idesexual. If you see this, could you like if it sounds appealing or reblog and help spread?

-Thank you!

anonymous asked:

how do u respond to someone who says your gender is a made up word??? i know it's bullshit but idk how to reply to it!

Hello anon, thanks for the question.

You may want to remind them that literally every single word in every single language is made up (including the word ‘jackass’ which was first 'made up’ in 1727 but is still apparently relevant even now in 2017) and that the only difference between one word and another is that some are older and more widely used than others. Examples of words that are ALSO made up:

that - Generally more specific or emphatic than the, but in some cases they are interchangeable. From c. 1200 opposed to this as indicating something farther off. In adverbial use (“I’m that old”), in reference to something implied or previously said, c. 1200, an abbreviation of the notion of “to that extent,” “to that degree.”

is - “third person singular present indicative of be, Old English is, from Germanic stem *es- (source also of Old High German, German, Gothic ist, Old Norse es, er), from PIE *es-ti- (source also of Sanskrit asti, Greek esti, Latin est, Lithuanian esti, Old Church Slavonic jesti), from PIE root *es- "to be.” Old English lost the final -t-.“

a - indefinite article, form of an used before consonants, mid-12c., a weakened form of Old English an "one” (see an). The disappearance of the -n- before consonants was mostly complete by mid-14c. After c. 1600 the -n- also began to vanish before words beginning with a sounded -h-; it still is retained by many writers before unaccented syllables in h- or (e)u- but is now no longer normally spoken as such. The -n- also lingered (especially in southern England dialect) before -w- and -y- through 15c.

made up - late 14c., from Middle English maked, from Old English macod “made,” past participle of macian “to make” (see make). Made up “invented” is from 1789; of minds, “settled, decided,” from 1873. To be a made man is in Marlowe’s “Faust” (1590). To have it made (1955) is American English colloquial. Grose’s dictionary of slang and cant (1785) has for this word what might be the shortest and most cynical definition ever penned: “MADE. Stolen. Cant.”

word - Old English word “speech, talk, utterance, sentence, statement, news, report, word,” from Proto-Germanic *wurdan (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian word, Dutch woord, Old High German, German wort, Old Norse orð, Gothic waurd), from PIE *were- (3) “speak, say”

All words, anon. Every single one of them is made up. There’s a reason Miriam Webster adds new terms to the dictionary every year and it’s not because language is a static, never changing force–language has NEVER been that, and the validity of a word is not determined by how new it is or where it originated or how many people use it. If a word has a purpose, if it puts a label to something that exists in the world, it is a real word because language does not dictate reality, rather our reality dictates our language. 

So, really simple, not only is some jerk (a “tedious and ineffectual person”, first used in 1935) scowling over “made up words” giving you a very weak argument for why it’s cool for them to invalidate your gender identity, unless they express it to you via cave painting it’s also a hypocritical one. 

(All definitons from - etymology, just fyi, being an entire area of study dedicated to just when certain words were 'made up’ and how they’ve evolved throughout history)

anonymous asked:

I'm having a lot of trouble thinking of names for places in the novel I'm working on, and I obviously don't want to leave them with names like the desert and the capitol. Do you have any methods or tricks for naming places? Any help would be greatly appreciated

So, when I’m stuck, I usually go to name generators. For towns, if it’s just a normal town and I’m looking for some inspiration, I’ll play around with generators like this one to help come up with something I like. Names too - I look at lists of baby names. Based on the age of the character, I’ll pick from the top 100 baby names the year they were born (only if no name is coming to mind and I’m not looking for anything special anyways). I particularly like this website.  

If I’m trying to come up with a name with meaning for an important place - I’m a bit of a Classics geek - I turn to Latin and Greek roots and play around with what might make it sound more like the name of a city. For a capital, I might pick something that feels titanic or domineering, but it depends on what I’m going for. A lot of the time I don’t think too hard on it. I just make something up on the spot so that I can keep writing. I always will play around with the name while I’m procrastinating, but more often than not, the name I made up on the spot usually sticks - there’s usually a reason why it came to mind and the more I try to pick something new, the more I end up preferring the spur of the moment name. 

Seventh Sanctum is also a great resource. I can’t say I ever really use any of the names in the generators, but it usually prompts some kind of inspiration that with help me come up with a name on my own that I’ll use instead. For that reason, it’s pretty helpful. I hope this helps! Happy writing! 

“Crane”, “Geranium”

The word crane is descended from the Old English cran, from Proto-Germanic *kranô from Proto-Indo-European *gerh₂- “crane” or “to cry hoarsely”, that double-meaning presumably being from the sound of a crane’s cry, with a suffixed -n- added.  The laryngeal *h2 regularly changed *e to *a, and Grimm’s Law regularly change *g to *k, and an irregular metathesis thus switched the expected *ar to *ra.

This PIE root developed into Greek géranos “crane”.   Linnaeus added the Latin suffix -ium to the Greek word to create the genus name Geranium.  This name, like the alternate English common name cranesbill, referred to the shape of the flower’s fruit capsule, which resembled a crane’s bill.

The word cranberry is also closely related to crane, having been borrowed from the Low German Kraanbeere, literally “crane berry”, from a perceived resemblance of the flower structure to a crane’s head, neck, and bill, borrowed around 1640 by American colonists from the Dutch, who applied the name to a North American relative of a berry they already knew from Europe.

The term cranberry morpheme is used in linguistics to refer to a situation such as cranberry itself where a word is transparently a compound, but only one part can be readily identified, while the other part has no meaning outside the compound.

uniwhale vs. biwhale: etymology

so because people have a problem with the uniwhale being called an uniwhale when it has two horns, i thought i’d take a look at a similar case with an unicorn and a bicorn.

unicorn comes from the latin “unus cornus” or one horned, which in of itself comes from the greek “monokeros“(also one-horned). in fact, “ker” or horn/head, is indo-european root for greek, latin, and hebrew.

when shortened to a prefix/suffix in latin, it becomes a compound of uni-cornu (one horn). by the time it carried over to french during the middle ages, “unicorn” became the “modern” spelling of the word (of which was used as early as the 1500s).

now, concerning bicorn - the bicorn is mentioned as early as the fifteenth century in a poem by john lydgate (a la his poem, “Bycorne and Chychevache”). in this instance, his “bycorne” is a creature with two parts - a panther and a cow (with a human face). this is not surprising since he used the definition of “by-” as two (or having two), and corne as “heads.”

however, bicorn in and of itself has its roots in latin. “duis” or “duo,” which means “two.” in latin, it is not uncommon for d’s to be substituted with b’s, which led to “bis,” which led to the word “twice.” when making compound words, bis was shortened to bi- (ex. bicep). thusly, bi- roughly translates to “having two” or “occurring twice,” hence lydgate’s usage (having two).

when french integrated more latin words, “bicorn” in this spelling, made an appearance in the 1750s. in fact, the french used it in the 1700′s as the “bicorne” hat - a hat with two pointed ends - derivative of the “tricorne.”

in modern culture, the “bicorn” made an appearance in Harry Potter, as a two-horned mythical horse resembling the unicorn (but with two horns instead of one). it is explicitly stated that one of the two horns is required for the polyjuice potion.

tl:dr: “uniwhale” means one whale, which isn’t inherently wrong. “biwhale” however, is incorrect as it refers to the number of whales, not the whales’ horns. you can call the whale a “bicorn” or, if you want to be more correct, it’d be something akin to “bicorn cete” or two-horned whale. the “corn” is important, since that literally means horn. otherwise, “uniwhale” is most correct.

I’m currently writing (stalling) a paper about herbalism for my Greek and Latin medicine class. I came across the mandrake root and thought of @thebeastpeddler so I roughly doodled some mandrake breeds (species?) in relation to the other plants.

Wormwood: known for its hallucinogenic properties the wormwood mandrake has a third eye. This third eye can peer into the future…for a price. Because the door between the future and the unreal is so close sometimes visions will really just be false hallucinations. They are very embarrassed by this. Still this species is know for mad geniuses.

Sweet Alyssum: because they bloom from a flower they are born on their backs, making them seem like they were born asleep. Golden footed alyssum is a wise and caring creature, they will help keep you calm through panic attacks. They tend to overthink things and make themselves worry. These roots help you sleep through the difficult nights but will sometimes need your help sleeping too. They come in many shades besides just white.

Belladonna: aka nightshade. They poisonous roots have many names, one meaning “beautiful woman” and they never forget it. Full of confidence these roots are little divas that end up getting into some trouble because they think “nothing can stop me!”. While the inner side of their petals is a lovely purple the back side is a silver that they believe goes with the gold sees on its head. They will often adore themselves with makeup after helping you with yours. A personal bratty cheerleader.

🚨Pansexual and omnisexual are the same thing! 🚨

The only difference is that one is a Greek root and the other is Latin. It’d be like trying to say “Rojo” (the Spanish word for red) is somehow “more red” than “red”.

“but one of them doesn’t see gender the other does!!!” dude that’s bullshit and you know it. For starters, our brain makes a first impression of anyone within the first 3-7 seconds of seeing one, including how feminine /masculine someone is. You’re splitting hairs if that’s your so called difference between the two.

“but one is attracted to inanimate objects too!” NO! Attraction to inanimate objects is a FETISH. Not a sexual orientation. Get your terms right, man.

“WHAT ABOUT ALIENS?!” Again, that’s another term.