Monday, June 13, 2005

politics and philology

Found on a splendid and useful site:
One of my sources for this work was Dr. Ernest Klein's A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the English Language (Amsterdam, 1971). Klein, Rabbi of Nové Zámky in Czechoslovakia from 1931-44, was deported to Dachau and returned home after liberation to find "that my father, my wife, my only child Joseph, and two of my three sisters had suffered martyrdom in Auschwitz." He moved to Canada, and out of his sorrow and urged on by his surviving sister he set down his lifelong love of etymology into a book, and in its introduction he wrote:
"May this dictionary, which plastically shows the affinity and interrelationship of the nations of the world in the way in which their languages developed, contribute to bringing them nearer to one another in the sincere pursuit of peace on earth -- which was one of my cardinal aims in writing this dictionary."
"This work" is the Online Etymological Dictionary - compiled and built by one person, Douglas Harper, freely offered to us all. More about it here.

Other than Perseus, what's Academia done that's remotely so fine? Perhaps it hasn't lost enough to gain the motivation.


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