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Friday, November 4, 2011

D, d: November, the Alphabet Project

November I'll be blogging about the alphabet and etymology

D, d: From the Phoenician Daleth, “door.”




day: The interval between sunrise and set. The d- rises straight up before falling to a squinting -a-, after which –y sinks below the word’s horizon, curving back again toward d-. The Proto Indo-European root for day, déi-no-, is unmistakably kin to the root for god, déyw-o-, that is “shining.” From these two derive, therefore, not only date, dial, and diary, but deity, theology (owing to a consonant shift d > th) and divine.

door: The sideways lid of a room. The ideogram for door itself opens the word (See D), a down-stroke with a knob on one side. We pass the portals of two -o-s before reaching -r, a panel with a latch on the far side closing the word. The Proto Indo-European root, dʰwer, leads back before doors themselves, to the late Paleolithic, evidently a meaning assigned existentially, its creators not knowing what lay behind it.

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Coming November 31st, the RETURN OF THE STOOPID CONTEST!

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