Archegon LO26644

From: Leo Minnigh (
Date: 05/07/01

Replying to LO26636 --

Dear At, dear LO'ers,

At and I are not linguists but the richness of languages sucks us again
and again deep into the roots of linguistic matters.

I read with interest your meandering thoughts on *Archegon*. During my
readings I am thinking my own thoughts on the subject. Sometimes other's
text and personal thoughts enrich eachother in a complimentary way,
sometimes the text goes to a near opposite direction as my own thoughts.
Particularly in this latter case I must reread the text again, because my
eyes only followed the forms of characters and words but the content
remained outside my mind.

When I started to read At's contribution, reading

> The word "arche" has many meanings rather one. Two of its more important
> meanings are ancient (long ago) and original (authentic). The suffic "gon"
> is related to word "genesis" which means evolution or bringing forth. As
> usual, to escape the rote preaching of the pastor, I tried to find the
> best Germanic (i.e. avoiding words derived from Greek or Latin)
> translation for "archegon", trying to use the simple rather than compound
> Germanic words.

I started for myself to think of possibilities which could serve as
alternative of the word *archegon*.
Possibly other LO-readers have done the same. I will try to write down for
you from a somewhat different direction how my own thoughts jumped from
place to place. First the different places

ancient - long ago - past - the German word *Ur*
origin - original - root
gon - genesis - grow - process

These three stepping stones only indicate place and process. My thoughts
were also looking for an answer to the question: "Does Archegon also
indicates something as form?" So I jumped to a next stepping stone:

organization - structure

I jumped back:

fundament - foundation - fundamental


grow - flow - growing

And then my thoughts found a Dutch word, covering all these stepping
stones. Unfortunately, the English language has no alternative with the
richness of meanings of that word.

All these thoughts happened in fractions of seconds. My reading continued
and my eyes and thoughts followed At's writings (with that Dutch word in


> It is when I began to think about the suffic "gon" that my mind took an
> incredible journey. It was very difficult for me to find an old word
> without prefixes and suffixes lifting out its meaning. We have many of
> those words transforming a stem to tell something of "-gon". Eventually I
> stumbled on "gaan" which is deraived from the Low Saxon word "goan". My
> mental flights was incredible. I began to think of "archegon" as "eggaan".

And now I started to smile, because At used 'my' word in the above
paragraph. But since that paragraph is for the most part in the English
language, only one meaning of 'my' word is used.

Let me unveil 'my' word.
It is *STAM*

I will give you the translated meanings of this rich word:

tree trunk (grow)
stem (the word in At's text; origin)
stock, clan, tribe, phylum (the form/organization)
ancestor (link with the origin)

The meaning of *stam* becomes even more clear if I give the translations
of Dutchwords of "stam-combinations":

stamakkoord - fundamental chord
stamboek - pedigree, studbook
stamboeknummer - registration number, pedigree number
stamgenoot - kinsman, tribesman
stamboom - genealogical, or family tree (the word *stamboom* should not be
confused with *boomstam* wich means the trunk of a tree)
stamhuis - dynasty
stamkroeg - favourate pub/haunt
stamhouder - family heir, son and heir
stamvader - ancestor
stamvorm - stem, root, prototype

With this dialogue it again became clear how subtle the character is of
different languages. Translation is therefore not an easy job.

It reminds me of the whealth of different words that are available in the
Portuguese language for the verb * to play*. Playing the piano, the
guitar, drums, with a football, chess, with toys, words, or people, on the
stage, in an orchestra, etc.
I counted at the time I lived in Brazil some 15 different words. For me it
was a sign of the much more 'playful' minds of that country then of the
minds in my country (where also only one or two different words exist for
*to play*).

The last word in the above list - *stamvorm* - might be the best
translation in Dutch for *archetype*.

I wish you peaceful meandering through the world of language.

dr. Leo D. Minnigh
Library Technical University Delft
PO BOX 98, 2600 MG Delft, The Netherlands
Tel.: 31 15 2782226
        Let your thoughts meander towards a sea of ideas.


Leo Minnigh <>

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