Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Verbum Hodiernum: ETIAM

Today's word is ETIAM, one of those tricky little words in Latin, so commonly used and so hard to pin down because it does not have a simple one-to-one correspondence with any English word.

As you can see, etiam is related to the conjunction et, "and." Some of the English words that you might consider using to translate etiam, depending on context, are words that are quite similar in meaning to English "and," such as "also; and also; likewise, besides," etc. There are many different Latin usages of this word, and the article in Lewis & Short is well worth reading. I've just noted a few of the most important uses below.

There is also a good deal of semantic overlap between the Latin quoque and etiam. As a general rule, etiam is even stronger in force than quoque. The word etiam usually precedes the word being emphasized, while quoque follows it.

A common use of etiam is in a paired set of expressions: non solum (non tantum)... sed etiam..., as for example in these phrase: non verbis solum sed etiam vi and non tantum verbis, sed etiam actu.

Another common use of etiam is together with si, sometimes written as one word, etiamsi, "and even if..."

Often you can understand the use of etiam as implying another statement which is not expressed; the same is true for the adverbial use of et. For example, consider the statement: unum etiam vos oro, "I beg you for one more thing (one thing in addition, one thing besides, etc."). The best way to understand this adverbial use of etiam is in terms of an implied statement - you've already begged for something or other, and now (etiam) you are begging for something more. If you explore a sentence where et or etiam is being used adverbially, you can always figure out what the implied statement is to which the explicit statement is conjoined with et or etiam.

You can see the strongly affirmative sense of etiam in that it can be used to mean something equivalent to English "yes" in answer to a direct question. So, for example, the sense of "yes or no" in this Latin phrase: aut etiam aut non respondere.

For an odd little example of this use of etiam to mean "yes," consider the legend of the name of the Monza Cathedral, originally named Modoetia, because - as the folk etymology tells us - the Lombard queen Theodelinda had been riding along, seeking a site to build a church, when a dove halted her by saying Modo ("now") and she replied Etiam ("yes"), hence Modoetia, which became modern Italian Monza. Okay, it's just a folk etymology - but it's a fun one! :-)

Here are some examples of today's word in Latin sayings and proverbs; for more information, see the page at the Scala Sapientiae, which contains notes on some of the proverbs cited below, as well as additional proverbs:

Etiam si omnes, ego non.

Cui licitus est finis, etiam licent media.

Etiam seni est discendum.

Fides, etiam hosti, servanda est.

Qui bona vina bibunt, etiam bona carmina scribunt.

Caret periclo, qui, etiam cum est tutus, cavet.

Etiam prudentissimus peccat.

Dulce etiam fugias, quod amarum fieri potest.

Benignus etiam causam dandi cogitat.

Pulchrorum etiam autumnus pulcher est.

Lupus oves etiam numeratas devorat.

Istud incredibile est, etiam si dicat Cato.

Etiam post malam segetem serendum est.

Cum Minerva manus etiam move.

Spina etiam grata est, ex qua exspectatur rosa.

Saepe etiam stultus fuit opportuna locutus.

Etiam sine lege poena est conscientia.

Omne simile est etiam dissimile.

Animae esurienti etiam amara dulcia videntur.

Simia simia est, etiam si aurea gestet insignia.

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