Lesson 4: Easy vocabulary
You will be amazed how many Greek words you already know. Greek words turn up all over English, especially in scientific and technical terms. In this lesson we’ll learn some vocabulary - some of it even potentially useful - and for each word we’ll see an associated word in English that will help you remember it. Sometimes the English word might be an obscure one; but then you’ve learnt a new English word too!
We’ll start from καλός, which, you’ll rememeber, means ‘nice’.
With a decent English dictionary - one that includes etymologies - you can construct your own lists like the ones above. A warning, however: usually, English words are based on ancient Greek rather than the modern language. As you might expect, things have changed a bit over 2000 years or so, and there’s a chance you’ll hit a word that’s fallen out of use. For example, you might guess, on the basis of words like ‘hippodrome’, ‘hippology’, ‘hippiatric’ ‘hippopotamus’ etc. that the Greek for ‘horse’ was ίππος. You’d be right, after a fashion, and be understood, but you might get laughed at if you used it in everyday speech; however, if your concern over being laughed at overrides your desire to communicate perhaps you’d best not bother learning a foreign language! (The word ίππος is still used for ‘horsepower’ when describing car engines and the like, but the usual word for ‘horse’ is now άλογο, which means ‘thing without [power of] reason’ - see λόγος above. Ancient Greeks did not have a high opinion of the intellectual capacity of their horses).
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