Thursday, November 2, 2006

There are no A's buried in the cemetery

A little mnemonic device for All Souls' Day.

Speaking of mnemonic, here's a root that spans Indo-European. That odd pair of nasal consonants at the beginning of the word shows up in various forms all over the place. The word's Greek ancestor was mnémōn. It also comes into English (memory) from Latin memoria. Germanic languages had their own version, too. Old English had the verb gemunan 'remember', and its umlauted version gemyndgian, whence modern English mind.

Other relatives in this far-flung family include amnesia, money, monster, (auto-)matic, mandarin, mantra, Muse, and German minnesinger. For more, check out the entry in the Indo-European Roots Index.

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