One more example: (01)
rattle as a toy;
rattle as as an action;
rattler at a snake. (02)
If each of those three words were replaced by the URIs of the
web, they would point to unique definitions at different nodes.
But the obvious commonality in their names indicates a
significant connection that is destroyed by the unique URIs. (03)
This example illustrates Paola's note about the importance of
etymology. Most speakers of English are not familiar with
remote etymologies derived from Proto-IndoEuropean. But the
obvious etymologies above are fundamental to language use
in everyday speech. (04)
As an example of more remote etymologies: (05)
The Russian (and general Slavic) word for bear is m'edv'ed'
which contains two IndoEuropean roots meaning honey-knower.
That word is cognate with English "mead-wit". (06)
We don't say mead-wit in English, but there is the word
"nitwit", which has an ambiguous etymology. The probable
derivation is from a variant of "not" and "wit", but it
could be derived from IndoEuropean roots for louseEgg-knower.
In common use, both derivations provide a field of semantic
associations that would influence everyday use of the word. (07)
There is no sharp dividing line between the "obvious" etymologies,
the more remote, and the jocular or fanciful. There is just a
sliding scale of what is obvious, clever, or obscure. (08)
And I'm sure that all of these issues apply to the collaborative
tags or folksonomies. (09)
John Sowa (010)
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