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Old August 25 2013, 02:59 PM   #29
Christopher
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Re: Star Trek etymology

Xand wrote: View Post
And Palpatin could mean pale + psychopath from Gr. psyche -soul + pathos -suffering
I repeat: The name "Palpatine" was coined in the 1977 Star Wars novelization, years before any thought was given to what the character would look like. Indeed, I think it wasn't until 1991 that the "Emperor Palpatine" from that novelization was explicitly established as the same Emperor who appeared in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, rather than a predecessor. Therefore you're wrong to assume it has anything to do with him being "pale."


You could look at Etymonline English etymological dictionary to see how etymology is created and also at Wiktionary.
Ahh, now we see the fundamental flaw in your thinking. Etymology is not "created." It's not something you just make up and impose on a word as you keep attempting to do. It's the process of attempting to discover the actual evolutionary history of a word by researching past sources. Sure, using your imagination to extrapolate possible histories for a word based on its structure is a useful first step, but it's only the beginning. Once you formulate a hypothesis, you have to test it against the evidence, and you have to be willing to throw it out if the evidence doesn't support it.


And look at freelang and Whitakers words free latin dictionary, it can recognise many grammar forms and guess words, most etymology is based on latin.
"Most etymology?" That may be true of English (though estimates range from 60-80% Latin or Greek origin), but English is hardly the only language on Earth. Obviously Chinese or Xhosa or Nahuatl isn't descended from Latin.

And we are, of course, talking about imaginary alien languages, so all bets are off. Sure, there are some writers who base their alien names on Greek or Latin roots, but there are others who do nothing of the sort. Personally, I think it's a silly practice; of course aliens wouldn't have Latin or Greek in their own linguistic history so there's no sane reason why their own names for themselves would be based in any Earth language. So when I make up alien names, they have no Earthly basis or meaning and are just meant to be exotic sounds. Sometimes I come up with alien names that are based on anagrams or puns -- for instance, I once named an alien race the Redheri because I wanted them to be red herrings in a story. And I'm sure there are plenty of other SF writers who think the same way. So it's just plain silly to assume that the principles of etymology that apply to the derivation of real, English words would be applicable to imaginary alien names and words invented by science fiction writers.
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