mariposa monarca

sábado, 22 de marzo de 2008

Vikings and Travel(l)ing Words
I might call myself a modern Nomad, in the sense that I feel at home in several regions on this globe without feeling the necessity to remain at a specific place. I like to explore what is unknown to me. This curiosity has existed in humans for a very long time. An article in the National Geographic this month opens with the statement: “Much of the thrill of venturing to the far side of the world rests on the romance of difference.” This, to me, sounded too much like tourism. And it made me think – and listen to: “tourist” – “voyager” – “traveler”... What do these words mean? Where do they come from? I turned to one of my best friends, the Petit Robert. This is what it came up with:
“Tourist” is an international word, known to speakers of several languages. It made its appearance in French in 1841 and was adopted from English. It means “to pass through to amuse oneself”. It is interesting to note that in French it is associated with the word “tourner” with means “circular movement around one’s own axis”. That made me think that maybe, when I am a tourist, I am somewhat self-centered and take a look at what is around me, without changing my point of view.
“Voyager” is also a word that one can find in French and English dictionaries. It was introduced into French in 1400 and means “Change of place, regarding a person who goes to a rather distant place”. It the same reference, Ulysses is mentioned as an example of a voyager.
Now, the word “traveler” had made me especially curious. I had picked up a new acquisition from the library because of its title “The Far-Traveler”. It simply appealed to me to combine and emphasize “traveler” with “far”. And as I thought about traveler, traveling, I remembered that one can also spell it “travelling”. Now, pronouncing the word the French way, it did not make any sense at first. There was something missing... I replaced the weak “e” with another vowel, an “a”, and looked for another letter that would fit. I concluded that “travailler” (to work) should have something to do with it. And sure enough, the words are related! The Merriam-Webster mentions that “travelling” comes from Anglo-French “travailler”. And the Petit Robert states that “travailler” means “to torture with the tripalium, a Roman torture instrument. So now, when I think of the word “Far-Traveler”, I can include the idea that there is some pain and suffering involved in this activity. The person in the book “The Far-Traveler” was called Gudrid, a Viking woman who had come to Vinland in North America a thousand years ago, who returned to Norway and who, later in life, set out again to Rome. Her memory is kept alive in the Icelandic Sagas. The woman’s feat inspires me to continue my voyage, to keep on travelling, in several senses of the word...

No hay comentarios.: