tortipede (tortipede) wrote in linguaphiles,

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The Very Truth

It has struck me before -- only I didn't at that time have a suitable forum in which to ask suitably-minded people for comments -- that 'truth' (and conversely, I suppose, 'falsehood' or 'lies') is a concept with which the Indo-Europeans were surprisingly unfamiliar (in terms of it not being common core vocabulary). AFAIK, 'truth' (the word itself) has some (possibly slightly unclear) connexion with 'trust' -- i.e. 'truth' is what one can trust; 'sooth' I take to be from a zero-grade present participle stem of *es- 'to be' (as 'tooth' from *ed-, cf. dens and odous), i.e. 'sooth' is what is; 'veritas' is, presumably, what remains or endures; and 'aletheia' is simply what doesn't get forgotten. I vaguely remember that 'satya-' in Sanskrit is apparently to be connected with Latin satis rather than English 'sooth', making Indian 'truth' simply whatever is sufficient...

Questions: Are these etymologies about right? What other basic etymologies give rise to words for 'truth' in other modern Indo-European languages? And does the same thing apply to other major language families, or is it really just that the Indo-Europeans in particular were so perfidious that they wouldn't know the truth if it jumped up and bit them on the bum?

Any ideas?

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