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  1. #1
    Frank Antonson's Avatar
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    lexicon for primitive technology

    Many years ago I was reading a book on the history of technology, and it struck my interest that certain words represented critical steps in technological development e.g. "hammer", "wedge", "lever", "sharp""edge", "pull", "push", "on three...one, two, three".

    Does anyone out there know if the etymologies of that particular class of words has been studied independently? Whether the root word were a noun, verb, or adjective probably would not matter that much, e.g. "I will use a hammer to hammer it like a hammer stone."

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    Frank Antonson's Avatar
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    Re: lexicon for primitive technology

    And why would something as primitively critical as a "fulcrum" not have Germanic equivalent? Or does it? I know of none.

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    Re: lexicon for primitive technology

    It's interesting to know that Germanic languages and Persian share some Prehistoric words.
    Unfortunately, I don't have any comprehensive resources at hand, so I have to sense thesimilarity. And you how difficult it can be. Your information reminds of the Paleolithic Age (or maybe some other period similar to that), but I also love to know more about the evolutionary stages that languages went through with respect to industrial development.

    I took a glance at the words, and the first one caught my attention. I pronounced it a couple of times and found it familiar.
    Hammer: this prehistoric Germanic word has a close affinity with heaven whose consonant sounds are very similar to those of the word Haavan.

    -heaven = haavan
    When I perused the word's history, I found myself flowing through the world of mythology.

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    Re: lexicon for primitive technology

    This question surely has been researched.
    Not all words are created equal, and I'm sure that in a primitive world certain words were initially so useful as to make survival depend upon them e.g. "Help!"

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    Re: lexicon for primitive technology

    I gave some thought to it.
    Surely survival was the priority number one. I understand that even some animals have a limited number of fixed words which are used when a specific source of danger is felt.
    Ironically, I believe the answers to such questions can be found anywhere but the linguists community.
    I don't know, but maybe an archeology forum can be much more fruitful than a linguistics one.

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    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: lexicon for primitive technology

    I've not heard of exactly what you're looking for, but there have been attempts to reconstruct proto-Indo-European languages and the Nostratic languages, and in doing this, the question of technology is important as such words can show where languages split, so they look at that but only as a part.

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    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Re: lexicon for primitive technology

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Antonson View Post
    And why would something as primitively critical as a "fulcrum" not have Germanic equivalent? Or does it? I know of none.
    I think it has no equivalent in most languages. I'm not sure about it, but I think it's just a thing that you'd rather try to describe than to name. Take a look at this link, especially the "translations" section.

    Maybe I should create another thread about it, but I was thinking exactly the same about the word "petal". Didn't Saxons talk about petals??

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    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: lexicon for primitive technology

    We only have a limited number of written texts from the period and no spoken records- there are probably many holes in our knowledge. But then again, maybe the didn't talk about them.

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