Gods of the Word: Archetypes in the Consonants

Gods of the Word: Archetypes in the Consonants

Gods of the Word: Archetypes in the Consonants

Gods of the Word: Archetypes in the Consonants

Synopsis

In 1993, as part of a computer project I was working on, I found myself reading an English dictionary and dividing all the words into prefixes, suffixes and roots. I had read studies in linguists which suggested that the initial consonants of a word had a set of meanings, and the remaining rhyming part also had a set of meanings. One 'sense' of 'str-' is linearity: string, strip, stripe, street, etc. And one sense of '-ap' is flat: cap, flap, lap, map, etc. If you put them together, you get a flat line: 'strap'. The idea fascinated me, and since I was marking all these words anyway, I decided to keep an eye out for these classes which have similar meaning and pronunciation both. It turns out that it is possible by means of a series of repeatable experiments to show that certain meanings hang out with certain phonemes and others do not. I have been working on a dictionary which outlines this data for English in much more detail rather formally and scientifically. But I also have many thoughts which I seem to express more openly and cheerfully when I voice them in a separate book. My purpose here is therefore not to prove anything, but to summarise my most important findings in plain English and to philosophise freely and naively on their significance.
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