Tuesday, May 03, 2005

autochthonous

this is my new favorite word. you can listen to a man's melodious tones pronouncing it here.

i really need to introduce it into spontaneous conversation.

from my word-of-the-day calendar:

autochthonous
adj.
1. indigenous, native
*2. formed or originating in the place where found

*Gaelic is not autochthonous to the Scottish Highlands; it was imported from Ireland after the fifth century, replacing the Pictish language.

Ancient Athenians considered their ancestors the primordial inhabitants of their land, as if sprung from the very soil of the region they inhabited. Autochthon*, their word for any true-born Athenian, itself sprang from auto-, meaning "self," and chthon**, meaning "earth." Nowadays, the English adjective "autochthonous" is most likely to be used in somewhat meaty scientific or anthropological writing (as in "several autochthonous cases of fever broke out in the region"), but it was a "bready" context in which it made its debut. Observed English literary critic William Taylor in 1805: "The English have this great predilection for autochthonous bread and butter."

nerdy word fun for everyone! yipee!

*elizabeth's comment: the second "o" has a flat line above it, but i can't get blogger to put it in for me.
**elizabeth's comment: "o" with that line again

1 comment:

Armans said...

If you manage to use that in casual conversation you should post the results.

My bet is the other person would pretend to know what it means and keep going.