Stephen C. Carlson (
Tue, 24 Sep 1996 20:19:31 -0400

At 02:46 9/24/96 -0500, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>You know, I've never even looked this up until now when you raised the
>issue; the new OLD gives for etymology "[perh. Etruscan]"--not exactly
>confident, but there's one heck of a lot of etymology that is pure
>conjecture. Upon considering the matter more carefully, I see that the O in
>PERSONA is long, whereas the O in SONUS and PERSONARE is short--so perhaps
>the derivation from PER = SONUS is dubious, after all. Perhaps the long O
>reflects the omega of PROSWPON? I don't really believe that. There's
>another of those things I thought I knew that I didn't after all.

Come to think of it, even if the PERSONA < PERSONARE etymology is
"dubious," surely this folk etymology would have some influence on
how the Romans thought about PERSONA. Folk etymology was largely
responsible for the change from Old Latin DINGUA > Classical Latin
LINGUA on its similarity to LINGERE, whose English cognates are TONGUE
and LICK respectively.

Yes, Coptic is also on my "it would be nice if I learned it" list.
Unfortunately, I have about three or four languages I'd like to
learn before that, but almost no time to do that.


Stephen C. Carlson                   : Poetry speaks of aspirations,              : and songs chant the words. :               -- Shujing 2.35