How Latin and Greek Languages Have Affected Us Today in Various Ways Essay

It is common for languages to take words, phrases and meanings from one another, and this is no different than English taking from Greek and Latin. While some Greek or Latin words have been changed into prefixes and suffixes, others have become phrases, and even events have garnered their own meaning by today’s standards. This includes the adaptation to technology, science, military purposes and even everyday use, many of which are significant in their own respective area. Many Greek words have been translated into medicine often as medical terms and in the form of Prefixes and Suffixes.

These words have become important and common place because they hold the meaning and generally only that meaning, and are easy to interpret such as Anaemic and Anaemia. Originally being spelled Anaema, which meant “Lack of Blood”, still holds a similar meaning which is a decline in red blood cells. This is now used mostly in Medicine and in Science when referring to a patient’s condition and is closely related to Haemoglobin deficiency. In Greek an means “lack of” or “without” while Aema and Haemo may be same word with different pronunciations, means “blood”.

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The same words are used because they are easy to understand and despite different translations, such as Haemo and Aema, easy to identify as well as being very interchangeable in the sense that it is easy to use these words in many different situations, and with different prefixes or suffixes. Anaesthesia is another term used mostly in medicine. It holds importance as An is “without” and aisthesis is feeling, which means “without feeling”. This is important because Surgeons use anaesthesia to stop patents from feeling pain when undergoing an operation.

For this very reason the only change is pronunciation which can largely be due to the fact no one speaks such and old version of Greek in order to fully interpret how the word is meant to be said. Some words originated in Science or Medicine but have found their way into common language which can be used in everyday speech. Imbecile was a word used in Psychology which was pronounced Imbecillus and meant “weak minded”. It is now obsolete in the medical world where it was used as a judgement for IQ of less than 50.

Its meaning had changed from “weak minded” to “lack of Intelligence” but since then has changed again, loosely meaning “idiot”. From this the word has changed more than once over time but keeps a fairly similar meaning throughout these changes. Another commonly used set of words are the months, specifically August and July, both of which originate as names of Roman leaders being Julius and Augustus. These words hold major significance both now and then, where they started as the names of emperors.

The importance they hold have affected more than most people believe, the reason February only has 28 days is because August, the month named after Augustus, was to only have 30 days, but not wanting it to be inferior to the other emperor Julius’s month of July, took one from February. This caused September to lose a day as well in order to not have three long months in a row, as well as to emphasize the importance of those two months. This is not all for the months as several are named after Roman Gods, the months of January, March and May as well as the numbers being Sept, Oct, Nov and Dec, of which still exist today.

The other months also derived from Roman terms but are numerous. This shows the origins of several important words used in cultures of English and several others around the world, and shows the impact these have even in today. Perhaps the largest gathering of Latin words is used in science, specifically the naming of various animals and the various sections of science as both prefixes and suffixes. Virtually all animals are named in Latin, which makes that possibly the biggest collection of Latin names in one section. For example carnivora comes from Carni which means meat, and Vora, originally Vorare, to devour.

Another word derived from Vorare is voracious, which means to eat eagerly, or to consume either gluttonously or excessively and is related to carnivore as meat was a primary consumable back in Roman times. Carnivora is the only way to describe “to devour meat” in Latin which is why these are used. This means that each word in Latin is normally the only word that holds that particular meaning. For this same reason the sections of science are named in Latin, such as Agri which means field. Hence the use of Agri in the term Agriculture, which means “Cultivating [the] field” or in general working off the land, both on animals and crops.

Since then Horticulture began being used primarily for crops as the “Hortas” which was the Roman working garden where crops where grown for a household. Horticulture was added because Agriculture was too vast, encompassing far too wide a variety of products. Other terms include Astro which means Stars and deriving from this is the term and science Astronomy, meaning Star Positions which revolves around the study of the night sky and space. This was originally directly related to Astrology which means “the telling of stars” and was to o with predictions such as when it was the right season for crops, or when people where born, which in turn caused the creation of the calendar. This however dates further back than Roman times, but we use their terminology because the calendar was not governed by words, and instead by symbols or Hieroglyphs by the Egyptians. The reason Latin is used is because it is a dead language and so words won’t change, they mean what they mean, and generally is the only word that has that meaning. These words hold the same meaning now, as when they were first used exactly for that reason that they were.

Not only words have translated over giving them meanings in modern language, even the Greek Alphabet has meanings in today’s society. They range from mathematical symbols to meanings in NATO’s phonetic alphabet and even referenced in the Bible. Even the name Alphabet is derived from the first and second Greek letters Alpha and Beta. This shows the huge importance Greeks had on our lives as not only is the alphabet derived from theirs, they had one of the earliest alphabets of all civilisations, and for this reason the naming is homage to theirs.

The symbols that represented these languages are also still used today, mostly in maths and science to denote various things such as angles and sums. Furthermore it is even referenced in Christianity under the line “I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and last…” this again heightens its importance, what used to simply be the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, has become an iconic saying that represents something of extreme importance, being everything.

Its influence does not even stop there; many of the letters are used in the Phonetic alphabet used by the military and in air travel. These are only a few of the major influences the alphabet itself has had on today’s languages, and maths as well as common interactions between some major agencies of today. From the language to the letters, many things with Greek and Latin origins still hold significance today, even many of the events have had heavy influence, some have become modern terms or phrases and others words with very specific meaning.

The first and often most obvious event that holds influence in today’s language is the Trojan horse. Spawning from a war that happened over 3000 years ago it was used as a way to get inside the heavily fortified city of Troy, which had been under siege for around 9 years by the Greeks. They built a large wooden horse and hid men inside it before leaving it as a peace offering. The Greek soldiers inside then revealed themselves that night opening the gates of Troy letting the Greek army inside, thus winning the war. Basically it was a … under the guise of a gift.

In modern times it is most often referred to in terms of computing as a virus that appears to be something you want but is then able to infect your system when you allow it in. An event during that same war also holds significance both in medical terms and a famous phrase. This is to do with Achilles a Greek legend who died by being shot in his heel by a poisoned arrow, his only weak point. This was so significant that a part of the human body, the Achilles tendon, was named after him. It also is a famous phrase “Achilles heel”, which is used to state something’s greatest weakness or its downfall.

These events did not have meanings back in ancient Greek times; instead they have modern interpretations that are used across many subjects and areas. Many Greek and Latin words and terms are used today, in many areas for many things across the entire world. The fact that these are so old does not diminish from the meaning; instead it enhances what these languages mean and adds modern interpretation onto various happenings in the Ancient world. ? Bibliography http://www. antimoon. com/forum/t1649. htm http://www. pantheon. org/miscellaneous/origin_months. html (used for confirmation) http://www. etymonline. com/


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