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#177068 - 05/20/08 03:52 PM dystopia  
Joined: May 2008
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pallasathene Offline
stranger
pallasathene  Offline
stranger

Joined: May 2008
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

#177074 - 05/21/08 12:39 AM Re: dystopia [Re: pallasathene]  
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 1,067
The Pook Offline
old hand
The Pook  Offline
old hand

Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 1,067
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.

#177080 - 05/21/08 04:25 AM Re: dystopia [Re: The Pook]  
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,400
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel
of troy  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,400
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!?)


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