C. C. Finlay (ccfinlay) wrote,
C. C. Finlay

On etymology

This is for the word nerds that AmyD sent to follow my twitter this morning. Some of you (and by "some" I mean "E" and "M[-----] P[------]") may remember it about from ten years ago, before the Age Of Blogs, when I posted things like this to the OWW mailing list.

E asked:

I am sure I can't be spelling "coplative" correctly, as I cannot find it in any dictionary. But I know that is the word I want, even if I can't spell it.

M[-----] P[------] answered:

Copula. Comes from the exact same root word you think it does.

And I replied:

Actually, copula is a compound word constructed from three roots:

  • cop- is from the Scandanavian stem cop(p), meaning top or head, as in attercop, or spider, which leads to copweb, or cobweb, as we now know it;

  • -u- is a contraction of you, or tu, as in "e tu Brute?" or "whut's eetin' u?"; and

  • -la is a note that follows so.

Thus we can see that copula means, literally, you're a singer caught in the web.

When one reflects that medieval Scandanavian vikings conquered Sicily, much becomes clear. The word is a reference to Sinatra's connections to the Mafia. This is why Francis Ford Copula, or "Coppola" (an obvious nom de plume), was listed as the director of "The Godfather," which was a movie in part about a singer's involvement with the mob.

The connection to grammar derives from omerta, or the Mafia's code of silence, as the copulative case is the one that can remain silent, or unspoken.


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