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RE: Cost of Open Access - etymological musing

Well, this list has suddenly become really interesting! Thank you very
much, Alison. This goes to show that even list discussions like this may
benefit from a form of peer-review! I had to rely on my memory
(admittedly, I've been forgetting ever since I remember) of the etymology
of 'to read' as I read it (or guessed it?) in Johnson's Etymological
Dictionary of English. It's published by Elsevier! Was there ever a more
authoritative source? In Dutch, 'raden' just means 'to guess'. 'To
counsel', 'to advise', is 'raad geven'. This 'Volksetymologie' evidently
tripped me up.

In any event, it's not the same root as 'lire', 'elect' and 'elite', which
is what I intended to say.



> -----Original Message-----
> From: Alison Macdonald [mailto:alison.macdonald@britishlibrary.net]
> Sent: 09 February 2004 22:56
> To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
> Subject: RE: Cost of Open Access - etymological musing
> Without entering this fascinating and complex debate about open access
> cost at this point, may I just make a quick etymological correction
> (defence!) about the English verb, to read (Jan Velterop, 9 February
> 2004).
> Guessing does not lie at the root of "to read".  Its old
> Germanic/Dutch/Frisian origin is from the verbs reda/radan,ratan etc, 
> but these meant to advise, plan, explain, interpret, read.  This meaning
> derived from the root noun, "Rat" which meant "that which somebody 
> needed" (which then supplied words like Vorrat - supply - and Heirat 
> - marriage!). 
> The word "Rat" itself was originally from the old Indian word, radhyati
> (roughly, put right, organize), and old Slav word raditi (roughly, provide
> for).  The meaning of "guess" for "raten" (or "erraten") emerged later
> from raten's meaning of to interpret/consider - you might consider, but
> you might not get it right.


> Alison Macdonald
> Digital Archiving Consultancy
> Twickenham, UK
> (back in the mists of time, linguistic academic)