jan- & jnA-

Dominique.Thillaud thillaud at UNICE.FR
Tue Oct 20 06:35:40 UTC 1998

>On Thu, 15 Oct 1998, Girish Kumar Beeharry wrote:
>> I do not agree with that (*). 'jna' has the connotation of birth, flow and
>> being perennial. This is missing in 'incognita'.
>Oops, your dhatus are showing.

        I suppose uneasy for some Indians, not knowing Latin, to see jnA-
in the "gni" of incognita. But I've found interesting the sentiment of a
link between jan- and jnA-. I don't know if an early identity of the two
roots is true, but curiously they have almost merged in French where 'to be
born, birth' are 'naitre, naissance' and 'to know, knowledge' are
'connaitre, connaissance' (the loss of initial 'g' is from Latin). Not felt
by common speakers (other forms differ: 'born, known' are 'ne, connu') but
the poet Jean Cocteau gave in "Art Poetique" a theory of knowledge based on
"connaitre = co-naitre", hence "to know is to be born with".
        Best regards,

(*) I've used ajnAtaH to translate incognitus.

Dominique THILLAUD
Universite' de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, France

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