A question on the Internet is this:
An elastic is stretched by 86% to a length of 5.8 m.
Calculate the original length.
Suppose the average span of life of a person is 3.12 meters. Some people are lucky and may live to be 5.8 meters. Others are not so they may live 2.6 meters; less or more. Unlike a piece of elastic life usually is not stretchable. Sooner or later time comes to die and the eventuality cannot be averted. The point of calculating life is known because it starts with the birth of a boy or a girl. The duration of life is not known. Some infants die soon after their birth. Others grow to become young men, husbands, fathers and grandfathers. Any point of time after birth can be the end of life or the end of lifeline.
The core meaning of the Stone Age biliteral root *MṬ is “extend, stretch.” The verb in Arabic for stretch is maṭ (مط) and for “elastic” maṭāṭ. Those of you who have been following the relevant posts on this website may realise that maṭ is not a triliteral constructed of a biliteral root and a third letter, but a standardly vowelised, pristine Stone Age biliteral root. This means speakers of Ancient Arabian, Ancient Arabic, Modern or textual Arabic and dialectal Arabic did not need to extend the biliteral root throughout its life which can be 80,000 years, more or much more.
There is a good reason for that.
A phonetically lighter form of *MṬ is *MT (plain ‘t’), and a migration form is *MD which has about the same core meaning: “extend, elongated, spaced out.” *MT was used by non-lineage speakers of Ancient Arabian, such as Hebrews, and they chose a different core meaning: “belong to, relate to, be part of something (a family, clan or tribe)”. The meaning is figurative. The end of a piece of elastic “belongs to,” or “part of” the same elastic piece but it cannot be detached.
Elastic can be used stretched but stretching elastic by hand is temporary. At one point the person stretching the elastic decides to do something else. He releases the elastic which returns to its original size. For the elastic, in general cases, the return to its natural state is not “if” but “when”.
When in Modern and Ancient Arabic is mata?, a triliteral of *MT (MT + a). Extended vowelisation of *MT produces moat (موت) “death.” Like a stretched elastic, the arrival of death is not a question of “if” but “when”. Some types of deaths are instantaneous. Others after a short or a long while. When a person finally dies the event enforces a change of biliteral. The two letters of the original biliteral *MT are reversed to become *TM “completed, done, executed, OK.”
If one says, “Time is an illusion,” one may as well say, “Life is an illusion.” This is because a statement such as “his or her time has come,” could mean his or her life is over. We hear sentences such as “it is time,” or “this is the precise time.” OED suggests that time (n.) is Old English tima “limited space of time,” from Proto-Germanic *timon- “time” (source also of Old Norse timi “time, proper time,” Swedish timme “an hour”).
This can be useful as it offers variants of “time” in other European languages but it is not etymology. The concept of death is precise. Because life is measured by time time is also precise. Therefore time dos not appear to be a triliteral but a Nucleitic Compound of *T’ & *M’ “water, me, mum,” etc. *T’ and *’T have a common semantic domain based on the concept of “completion” the core meanings of which include “came, arrived, reached.” *’T can be used in various ways explained by Ancient Arabic ata (أتى) “he came, he arrived.” The “completion” sense is expressed by its seconday *T’ explained in Ancient Arabic taw () “this minute, this time, just arrived,” etc.
English appears to express the same concept. *’T is the plain “at,” considered by a proposition by modern linguists but it is a full Stone Age biliteral root. The “completion” sense is expressed by its reverse form, “to.” We have here a starting point “at” and an arrival point “to”. *’T is the origin of etymology. The known meaning of this compound is the reason why we claimed what is offered by OED is not etymology because it does not provide the “starting point” of “time.”
Most speakers understand the difference between “at” and “to”. *T’ (to) is the systematic or regular arrival of something or someone. The “something” can be the successive arrival of waves to the shore, hence “tide.” Its connection with time may be evident in compounds such as “to-night, today, to the end of time,” etc.
It seems our ancestors thought of death in terms of the tide in the sense that it will always come.
*MT, a primary biliteral root, is the origin of English mutate, mutated, mutation, mutable, permutate, permutation, mate, n. & v., matter, matrimony, material, etc. make and made are different. The concept of making things involve fitting things together or form something wholesome from various bits of things. The biliteral root (BR) for both is *MG, substituted widely for k in MK, the origin of commerce, make, made, machine, machination, mechanic and dozens of extensions in various letter substitutions including x as in Maximilian.
*TM is a secondary biliteral root because it was generated by the simple reversal of the order of the two letters of the primary, *MT. It express a sense of completion, finality or the end of a process. English tame appears to express finality and completion. English team can also express completion.
Ancient Arabic madīd (*MD) is “long, expansive, lengthly”. English meadow is an expanse of land. English mid is a variant of *MD but it is now used mostly as a prefix in mid-air, Middle East, mid-stream, mid-life and many dozens more.
stone Age biliteral covered by this post are:
*MT, *TM, *MD, *’T & *T’
Last modified: May 26, 2023