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copy

Post by yonatanpeisach » Mon Dec 30, 2019 11:04 am

Could the word "copy" originate from the Hebrew word "kof", meaning "monkey? ( In Hebew, the f and the p are designated by the same letter in the alphabet)
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Re: copy

Post by Phil White » Mon Dec 30, 2019 7:48 pm

The derivation of "copy" in English is ultimately from the Latin "copia", meaning "plenty" (as in cornucopia). It probably came into the English language through old French in the late medieval period.

This is not to say that "kof" and "copia" may not be cognate through far earlier Indo-European languages, but the line of transmission into English is certainly through the Latin.

Having said that, the original meaning of "copy" was to produce multiple copies of something, so scribes were producing "plenty" of exemplars of a written work.

The sense of "imitate" only arrives in English in the middle of the 17th century and is an extension of the root meaning. This makes it unlikely that there is any link to the ability of monkeys to imitate other monkeys, or indeed humans. This has gone into the English language as "to ape something/someone" and into German, for instance as "nachäffen".
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Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

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