E 0312 ETHNIC

The word "ethnic" is of Greek origin .

H 0114 ה ד ע

Conceptof root : ethnic community

Hebrew word

pronunciation

English meanings

ה ד ע

‛ed

ethnic community

Related English words

ethnic from Greek

Comparison between European words and Hebrew

Languages

Words

Pronunciation

English meanings

Similarity in roots

Hebrew

ה ד ע

‛ed

community, gathering of people

‛e d .

Greek

εθος ;

εθνος

-

-

ethos ;

ethnos

-

-

custom ;

crowd, population, nation

e th ;

e th n

-

-

English

ethnic

ethnic

e th n

 

 

Proto-Semitic *‛EDA --- *ETH-N-OS Greek

 

 

The Table shows two Greek words, "ethos" and "ethnos" and a particular aspect is that Hebrew "‛eda" is similar in sound to "ethos", but similar in meaning to "ethnos".

 

The Greek word "ethnos" is one of those succesful words known in all Europe and today especially fashionable to express characteristics of "ethnic groups", with a positive tinge. This similarity is limited, as we have in Greek no counterpart for the guttural onset of the Ayin in the Hebrew word, and the dentals, " D " and " TH " are not identical, though they are often related. In many cases one has developed out of the other, a phenomenon much seen in English ( "the" comes from "de" ).

 

This entry is related to number E 0312 (Hebrew 0118)

 

Note:
  • Greek scholars tell us that the word ethnos originated from "εθος , ethos", meaning "usance, tradition", or the way an ethnic community as a rule behaves. Also this Greek word, as so many from this rich language, continues to live in European languages : ethics, ethical.

     

    This might mean that of the concepts of " customs " and " community " , the first one has come chronologically and linguistically first. "Ethos" being the "way one behaves and should behave ", followed by "ethnos" as "the group that lives according these rules ".

     

    But this reasoning, or one may say guess, loses strength if we look at these roots in the older language of Homer. There the verb "etho" indicates a "to do usually", as yet without any suggestion of "ethics". And the word "ethnos" says "crowd of people; mass of animals; swarm of insects", also still far from "ethnic" entities. Homer also has "thos" for "lodging, accomodation, stables". So we do not consider "ethos" and "ethnos" related as is often thought.

     

    The etymology as usually seen is "ethos < swethos" and "ethnos < swethnos" . This is inspired by the existence in Old Indian of a word "svadhā" and many Germanic words like Old English "sĭdu = custom, practice, manner, habit, rite". See the Note on Indo-European here below.

     

 

Note:
  • Hebrew.This Hebrew noun " ‛ed" is seen as derived from the verb " " to destinate, determine. In fact the "passive" form of this verb says " to get together", also on appointment . A comparison is then made with the verb " yad‛ = to know " and the noun " de‛ = knowledge ". There can be non doubt that the noun "‛ed" and the verb "ya‛ad " are related . And the comparison with the other couple is exact . But as we point out in Entry E 0487 (Hebrew 1068) , the initial yod ( y) of the two verbs should rather be seen as a prefix , probably linked to the concept of "to be". These yods (y) have developed out of waws ( w ).

     

    Of the above mentioned words, "de‛ " is found in entry E 0257 (Hebrew 0302), "ya‛ad" in entry GR 1217 (Hebrew 1036) and "yad‛a" in E 1006 (Hebrew 1039).

 

Note:
  • Proto-Semitic. Proto-Semitic has a supposed root identical to the Hebrew one, but we see indicated the use of a vowel "I" as in Arabic. This is not convincing, as the other languages have A or E, with Hebrew in the construct forms also showing an A as vowel. The Proto-Semitic root anyhow is like Hebrew : "*ע ד ה, Ayin D H", in which the "H" signas the presence of an accentuated vowel.

 

Note:
  • Indo-European. An existing theory proposes an Indo-European "*swedh-". This is based on various hypotheses, such as Latin "sodalis" from "*suedhalis" and Greek "ethos" from "*swethos". The Indo-European "*swedh-" is then seen as a composition of "*s(u)e- = ones own" and "*dhē- = to do, put", together meaning "to do one's own thing". The odd aspect of this theory is the contradiction between "to do one's own thing" and "to do what the community requires". It has to be skipped.

     

    The Old Indian word "svadhâ" that besides other meanings also says "custom, rule, law" does not give much support to the just mentioned theory. The first part, "sva", refers to the nearest subject, not basically to the acting person. The second part, "dhâ", combines a great deal of messages, such as found in English "to put, set, place, lay" that are not centered around the basic concepts of "to do, act". Consequently "svadhâ" is also translated as "self-determination, home, ease, pleasure". For "in one's own way" there exist extended forms like "svadháya" and "svadhâbhih".

     

    It must be remarked that the mentioned Latin word "sodalis" means "comrad, friend", possibly derived from "travel companion". It has little if anything at all to do with the concept of "custom, habit".

     

    Consequently we have no viable hypothesis for Indo-European outside Greek.

 

 

 

 

 
Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 29/09/2012 at 15.01.42