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The Plasticity Of A Young Mind/Why Words Are Important

October 15th, 2017

Q: – Do you know what the sentence: “A catastrophic misconception.” means in English?

A: – I do (Honestly, I should have stopped/terminated the whole thing right there. It is at least one of the deadly sins right?)

Claim: – There is nothing beyond a catastrophe. There is no level that supersedes it and if I may add it is a widely misused word.

Q: – But, what about “Inferno”? Is that not worse than a catastrophe?*

(What!!! and an immediate acute panic attack. It is a phrase that I do use. Seldom and in very particular circumstances.).

A: That is very good question (I could not be prouder, ever never ever). However, it is a question of faith. (Yes, I should have formulated it as a question, as it happens I did not. I stated it as a fact.) “Inferno” literally means Hell.

In all actuality I was not correct (I was wrong… again!). It is a much more modern word than I assumed.

19th century? Of course.

1834? That is yesterday. On an another note there can not be a more beautiful word than “Etymology”? Why the hell did I leave the Uni to begin with?

inferno (n.)
1834, “Hell, the infernal regions,” from Italian inferno, from Late Latin infernus “Hell,” in classical Latin “the lower world” (see infernal). As “a large, raging fire” from 1928.

infernus (feminine inferna, neuter infernum); first/second declension

1) of the lower regions
2) infernal, hellish

According to: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/infernus#Etymology

My grandmothers’ Latin dictionary* (LATINSK SKOL-LEXIKON, STOCKHOLM ALB. BONNIERS BOKTRYCKERI 1924)?

It is by far the “hardest” book that I own. Reading it is close to impossible. The typeset is simply rude. It is very small, it is very Gothic (and mixed, two versions and one of them is especially harsh) and it is very 20th century. You know? At the time when people made an effort.

The best thing? It includes some of her homework. It is literally priceless to me.

The book says:

Infernus (A.: infer) “Nedre; lägre (belägen) [lower; lower (situated)]
Inferne Adv.:(infer) Nedanför [below]

It makes sense to me. However, it also means that maybe the young one was right once again?

Picture? Well, surely it has to be fire? It is still burning. This is post number 521 and the picture is: http://www.allwhitebackground.com/fire.html

* There was (I do believe) an idea to make Latin the official language in our European Union. That would have been sweet.

A. Strindberg – Inferno – 1897. Fine? We are all done now?

* That is it. I do concede and my father would have laughed loudly. He was a huge fan of A. Strindberg by the way. Another story.

That’s it. I’m done. You win.

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