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Posted - 25 Mar 2006 :  18:41:35  

I found on the first lesson's page the word "ecology" for a not-so-easy-to interpret example but I would like to find a more in-depth analysis of this. Could you help?

Thank you.



615 Posts

Posted - 26 Mar 2006 :  19:59:45  


The point of the ecology example is that you can’t say ecology in English, because English words are less capable of uniting with each other.

This is also the main reason of introducing (instead of translating) in English, Greek words as philosophy, ideology, etc. How would you say ‘philosophy’ in English, without using the Greek words philein (being a friend of) and sophia (wisdom)? English words ‘prefer’ to stay apart from each other...

Beyond the organic stiffness of English, let’s think about oikos and home in their meaning.

Oikos is related with :

Oikeios = one’s own, friend and relative, known and fitting,
Oikeiotis = intimacy,
Oikoumene = the whole of the harmoniously inhabited world,
Oikogeneia = family, and especially a family united with sacred bonds,
Oiktirmos = the feeling of love and sympathy for someone,
and more...

‘Home’ or ‘house’ lack this net of relationships. Instead, home is related with human, and human with the Latin humus, that is dust...

Therefore, translating the Greek anthropos with man and human, we introduce another misunderstanding, to that of translating oikos with home, because anthropos is related with anthos (flower), anthisis (blooming), ano (above, high), ano repein (tending upwards), opsis (face, vision), prosopon (face, staring, gazing), etc.

I hope that this way the main reason that we still learn Greek is clear: because we understand (especially non-Greeks who know Greek), that an anthropos is not a man, and an oikos is not a home – although if they point with their finger to a man or a house, Greeks and non-Greeks point to the same ‘thing’. Yet the meaning, the significance and value, of this ‘thing’, as of the whole world, is different in their minds... One of the expressions of this difference, is obvious enough in language.

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