Stop!! Autos, and influence of Latin American Spanish on Koine Greek

From: Juan Stam B (
Date: Mon Sep 30 1996 - 19:51:48 EDT

Many thanks to JonathanRobie for his insightful contribution, that AUTOS
was the Greek word for cars. This leads me to ask whether we should
understand this etymologically (as origin of the modern word "auto" or
prophetically, as a prophesy of the modern automobile (my
dispensationalist upbringing inclines me toward this, but not
dogmatically. I'm open to all evidence, pro and con).

This subject is further enriched when cognate forms from Latin Amercan
Spanish are taken into consideration. In Latin America, automoblies are
called either "carro" (from Lat. "carus", expensive) or "Autos" (as in
Greek). In Spain however they are called "coches", which in Latin America
would refer to a coach, carriage, or chariot. This seems to indicate that
Latin American Spanish is closer to the biblical mindset, at least on this
specific issue. It also raises the question (a propos of Jonathan's
earlier posting about influence of Black English on Koine Greek), where we
see here an influence of Latin America Spanish on Koine Greek, if not the
other way around, or both ways. That's always hard to decide.

Latin American stop signs usually say "ALTO" (Halt!), but the same word
also means "high" (e.g. a building) or "tall" (a person). This causes
considerable confusion at Latin American intersections and not a few
accidents. Is one being told to observe the height of the "ALTO" sign, or
are tall people being told something, are they alone supposed to stop or
everybody but them? Tall drivers hardly know what to think about this.
But caveat: since "alto" in Spanish (unlike "high" in English) is never
used to describe intoxication, no reference to alcoholism (even oblique)
should be read into Spanish stop signs.

In some Latin American countries stop signs say "PARE", which can be
either pres imperv 2nd pers sing (we don't use tandem bikes here) of
"Parar"(Stop!) or 3d sing indic active of "parir", to give birth but a
street corner would hardly be the place for that. However, some scholars
had recently supported this second signification by an alleged derivation
of "PARE" from the Hebrew PAREH (Kal impv sing msc of PARAH, to be
fruitful; see jstam Internet B-GREEK 30 Sept 1996 for full documentation).
I'm a bit skeptical, especially becuase of the msc gender which seems
strange in this context; any definite conclusion on this must await
further evidence, it seems to me.

Yours truly in the solidarity of the exegetical task, Juan

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