[B-Greek] Etymological fallacy?

George F Somsel gfsomsel at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 19 15:07:19 EST 2008

And while on the subject of childish pursuits and Greek, you might find this of interest -- or not.


… search for truth, hear truth, 
learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth, 
defend the truth till death.

- Jan Hus

From: Joseph Weaks <j.weaks at tcu.edu>
To: B- Greek <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 2:59:12 PM
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Etymological fallacy?

I think a big part of the problem is that as a teacher of Greek to  
beginning students, it is too tempting to over-simplify for the sake  
of pedagogical advantage. Etymological & transliterative cues play  
such a role in vocabulary learning. I think this applies equally to  
both deductive and inductive process. It goes like this:

Teacher: "Yes, well, LUW means 'to release or loose'."
Student: "I'm never going to remember that."
Teacher: "You can find it in in English words... 'analysis' is ANA+LUW  
which is to 'break up' something so you can analyze each part."
Student: "Excellent. I understand."
Teacher: "Right, you UNDER+STAND it, meaning that you stand under the  
concept in order to gain perspective on it."
Student: "Huh?"

And, once we've learned vocabulary through such reliance, it's  
difficult to move away from it. When I was a [Greek-learning] child, I  
thought like a child, but now...


Rev. Joseph A. Weaks
Minister, Raytown Christian Church
Ph.D. Cand., Brite Divinity School, TCU

On Nov 19, 2008, at 1:26 PM, Dr. Don Wilkins wrote:

> I like Carl's comment that there seems to be no way to convince
> people regarding the ety. fallacy. I'm afraid the problem is that
> etymological "gold nuggets" are one of the leading reasons why people
> get interested in Greek, and they desperately want to believe in
> them.
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