Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Etymology of Writing

One of my favorite podcast intros is that from Storytellers Unplugged in which writing/storytelling is described as the "real, oldest profession" (as opposed to prostitution).

Anyway, Charles Hodgson of Podictionary investigates the etymological roots of the word "write" in his latest blog entry. Here's an excerpt:
English is unique among European languages with a basis in Indo-European in not using some derivative of the Latin word for write, scribere. That’s of course where scribble comes from, but obviously not write. According to the Oxford English Dictionary English instead took its word for the setting down of thoughts into words on paper—or the computer screen—from a Germanic source writa or writan that meant “to score.” By score the OED means “scratch” as you would do if you were carving your name in a park bench or something.

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