Re: Fw: Concepts and Words

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Jul 01 1998 - 07:33:13 EDT

At 7:22 AM -0400 7/01/98, Peter Phillips wrote:
>Sorry to everyone for being such a complete fool.
>But how do we get from kiss to prostrate?
>Pete Phillips,
>prize idiot!

Come, come! We're all human, don't grovel! ;-) My first thought of an
answer to the new question is that "prostrate" as PROS-KUNEW means "kiss
the feet" or "kiss the ground" in front of a person indicated in the dative
case: or "make a kissing gesture" toward someone. But now I'm doing
etymological guess work.

I once read in a renowned Munich introduction to Bavarian dialect that
there are four different ways of structuring "Leck mi am Arsch," "Am Arsch
sollst mi lecka," "Du leckst mi am Arsch," usw., each with its own very
distinct intonation and implication for the relationship between the
speaker and the one spoken to. This business of groveling and
self-prostration can involve all sorts of self-deprecating gestures, I
would think.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243

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