Re: Mixed Message

Subject: Re: Mixed Message
From: Eta Kushner <etawrite -at- NETMEDIA -dot- NET -dot- IL>
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 1996 23:50:56 +0200

Edward Savitz <sg94cshj -at- DUNX1 -dot- OCS -dot- DREXEL -dot- EDU> wrote:
>Subject: Mixed Message

>BTW, back to language and Female stuff, I had hear that man has a Latin
>root for hand as in "mano" from romance languages. Does anyone know if
>it's true?

>David Dvorkin <ddvorki -at- USWEST -dot- COM> wrote:

>The dictionary is your friend. :)

>No, "man" comes from a Germanic root, not a Latin one. Nothing to do
>with hand.

>And while we're at it, the ending -man really means -person, not a male,
>so the current silliness of substituting -person for -man has no
>linguistic justification, besides creating ugly neologisms.

in the next posting:

>But the problem with the ending -man is that its meaning never did
>change.
>What changed was that some people misunderstood its meaning and confused
>it with another word and therefore objected to its use. It's an
>understandable confusion, but it's still a confusion, not a shift in
>meaning.


According to my dictionary, "The use of -man in the last element in
compounds referring to a person of either sex, who performs some function
(anchorman, chairman, spokesman) has declined in recent years. In some
instances the sex-neutral -person is substituted for -man....."

What this means is that although the original meaning was sex-neutral, our
substitution of "person" etc., has given -man the meaning of male. The
original meaning was not like that. (As David Dvorkin is trying to point
out, our PC-ness caused the change.) It's like a case of "If it ain't broke,
don't fix it." But we fixed it. The question is whether it can be un-fixed.
Seems not.

To clarify the other question, the word for hand which words like
"manufacture" derive from is "manus" (Latin).

The Indo European root is traced to man or mon (man). According to Isaac
Mozeson, in his book, "The Word, The Dictionary That Reveals the Hebrew
Source of English," there is an Aramaic root, MAAN, meaning someone or
anyone. He gives other connections which interestingly connect the "man"
meaning with the "hand" meaning. Anyone who is interested can contact me for
further information.

Eta Kushner
etawrite -at- netmedia -dot- net -dot- il


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