Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Topic Options
#177068 - 05/20/08 11:52 AM dystopia
pallasathene Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/20/08
Posts: 4
I've just found this site and goingback through the archives, I found the entry for 'dystopia', and I would like to clarify where it comes from. It derives from 'dys' and 'topos', 'bad' and 'place', not from 'dys' and 'utopia'. 'Utopia' itself is not a Greek word; the inside joke is that the transliterated 'u' prefix is used for both 'ou' - not - and 'eu' - good, so utopia means both good place and no place. The original Greek words are eutopos and outopos. To the modern ear, they sound virtually identical unless you are used to hearing such differences

Top
#177074 - 05/20/08 08:39 PM Re: dystopia [Re: pallasathene]
The Pook Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1067
Loc: Tasmania
 Originally Posted By: pallasathene
I've just found this site and goingback through the archives, I found the entry for 'dystopia', and I would like to clarify where it comes from. It derives from 'dys' and 'topos', 'bad' and 'place', not from 'dys' and 'utopia'. 'Utopia' itself is not a Greek word; the inside joke is that the transliterated 'u' prefix is used for both 'ou' - not - and 'eu' - good, so utopia means both good place and no place. The original Greek words are eutopos and outopos. To the modern ear, they sound virtually identical unless you are used to hearing such differences

Sir Thomas Moore probably intended the pun from the outset. He called it Utopia from (ou + topos) because it was a fictional place that did not exist, nor could it exist given human nature. It was "no place" on earth. But he was also no doubt fully aware people would take it to mean eu + topos, good place.

I would pronounce eu the same as the English word 'you' or 'ewe' and ou as in soup - there is quite an easily discernible difference. But that is only because that is how I was taught ancient Greek. No one knows of course with any certainty exactly how Homer or St Paul spoke. I think modern Greek would pronounce outopia as ootopia ('oo' as in zoo) and eutopia as 'eftopia' or something like that. How those diphthongs were pronounced in Moore's day I have no idea.

Top
#177080 - 05/21/08 12:25 AM Re: dystopia [Re: The Pook]
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
Utopia is a street (and neighborhood) in queens..

(and you might very well think it is no place..But St John's University is there.. go redmen!?)
_________________________
my other obsession

Top

Moderator:  Jackie 
Forum Stats
8768 Members
16 Forums
13814 Topics
216135 Posts

Max Online: 3341 @ 12/09/11 02:15 PM
Newest Members
DeathCake, malagachica, Jamie, pr3sedentedonut, sleeper54
8768 Registered Users
Who's Online
0 registered (), 31 Guests and 4 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters (30 Days)
endymion6 109
LukeJavan8 106
wofahulicodoc 96
AlimaeHP 14
Tromboniator 10
BranShea 2
tsuwm 2
sleeper54 1
wsieber 1
Storymom 1
Top Posters
wwh 13858
Faldage 13803
Jackie 11610
tsuwm 10525
Buffalo Shrdlu 7210
LukeJavan8 6781
AnnaStrophic 6511
Wordwind 6296
of troy 5400
BranShea 5284

Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 2014 Wordsmith