The Roots and Power of Language

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The Roots and Power of Language
Humanities Course
Course CodeETYM
Year Opened1981*
Sites OfferedATN
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Course Description

The Roots and Power of Language, formerly Etymologies, is an introduction to an in-depth understanding of the English language. Although exact curricula vary between teachers to the extent of completely different texts and information, the course generally covers a history of the development of the English language and between 500 and 700 Latin and Greek word roots (and thus utilizes 500-700 notecards)(They tell you that you need 300. This is not true. Bring more for yourself and to share with the people who only brought 300). A knowledge of Latin and Greek is very helpful, but the course sometimes also includes an intro to basic Latin and Greek grammar.

Class History


The Adventure of English movies were a widely used teaching device during one session. It was apparently rather boring, and it repeated the book, but had some very interesting theme music. The D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths is also commonly read in some classes.


During 05.2 and 06.2, a war was waged between the Etymologies and Number Theory and is now immortalized on the Hall of Fame:LAN

For everyone in ETYM.LAN.06.2: We all know that Joe Groves is and always will be the coolest T.A. that ever lived. None of us will ever forget the clown joke, or Cinna the Poet. (I'm Cinna The Poet!)

For everyone in ETYM.LAN.07.1: We all know that spore cows rock (or sautee), dead baby/lawyer jokes are banned, the Magna Mater is to be worshipped, we are all pumas (who are all related because Sir Joe Groves was everyone's Uncle), Beowulf could swim in 90 pound armor AND carry a sword, Matt was everyone in Julius Caesar, and Prongs shall never be forgotten. (Yeah right. I was the only one who noticed the board was clean, and when Sir Joe finally finished his speech and I pointed out that Prongs was gone, THEN you all started screaming. -Sarah)

For everyone in ETYM.LAN.07.2: We all know that Joe Groves should smile more, and gave his lanyard to Nine(Sean Lake dissected Joe for this action, causing --- Zhang to be happier). Also, Sean Lake is a beast for ripping off his shirt during class.

ETYM.LAN.08.01: "You think your friendships will last forever, but if you don't fight, one day, one of you will die!!"

ETYM.A.LAN.08.2: The End! Intense! It is ten-fifteen! The End!

ETYM.LAN.09.2 was taught by the amazing Sean "Whipcream Daddy" Lake. We now know that all men are hoes, there are 39 words for prostitute in Greek but only one for suffering, tree frogs are taking over the world, and all is is is is. There were several extremely epic moments in that class, including but not limited to: duct-taping Sean to the door to freak out Caroline, our extremely paranoid and sometimes really annoying TA, whipcream-pieing Sean in the face, and reading Ayers in voices including Borat, Yoda, an angry politician, Davrique, and the famous first date voice. We learned a lot of random and interesting things pertaining to Greek myths and the English language. Any member of ETYM.LAN.09.2 can attest to the awesome times we shared.

ETYM.LAN.09.2 may also be known as "SexMonstersDeathDreams: Taking You to the Moon in Green Bathrobes."

Side note: The members of ETYM.LAN.09.2 were very close and became attached to Sean like no other. After almost a year of planning on Facebook, they decided to purchase him a gong and give it to him at CTY 2010. (No, we did not randomly decide to buy him a gong. There was an inside joke behind it) Several of the members of ETYM.LAN.09.2 returned to LAN.10.2 and presented the gong to him at breakfast on First Thursday. It was signed by all the members that returned to CTY in 2010. Alex Kohanski, Tess Harty, and Justine Yu had a thing for duct-taping food to his door as well. Some of the items taped to his door include: an apple, a banana, a KIVO cup, mayo, a slice of pizza with Apple Jacks spelling 'CTY' on it, and angry signs.

ETYM.LAN.10.1 was taught by the infamous Sean Lake. We all have been seduced by his night time voice, and we have enjoyed a large array of his fanciful hats. This class may be alternately know as SexMonstersDeathDreams: To eat children is bad, but to eat bad children is necessary. We have realized and journeyed through the life of one Donald Ayers, a man who tells the twisted tale of his life in a Latin/Greek book. In all seriousness, however, we learned a lot in this class, and every minute was distinctly enjoyable. (Sean Lake is god.)


In 06.1, Etymologies was taught by Lizzie and TA'd by Rosie. Rosie used the phrase "CTY inappropriate" often, and was apparently disliked by the class.

In 07.1, Etymologies once again had Rosie as the TA. Active resistance was undertook by the students who had met her before. When Rosie had control of the class, two things would happen: the class would go out of control, or all the students would hide from her during study hall in the massive library.

Los Angeles

ETYM.LOS.07.2 was taught by a sheltered Egyptian child and an amazing TA named Naomi. We talked about pimping roosters, English and its sexy affairs with Bragg, and other amazing things. :]


ETYM.JHU.08.1 was taught by the ultimate multi-tasker Jonathon Pirnia. He teaches everything from science to music to Latin. He is well known for teaching the tango class during a few activity periods. Jon's jokes were probably the strangest, especially the never ending butter joke, which he told for 3 hours and never revealed the punchline. The class ended with an epic Shakespeare insult "diss-off."

ETYM.JHU.10.2 was taught by Jonathan Pirnia with Morgan King as a TA. He managed to keep a class of 14 kids (3 boys and 11 girls) all interested while giving lectures about lingustics and teaching Latin and Greek transliteration. Jon also taught the free-form Thursday salsa classes. Many jokes were made, including the "Ore-reo," "Why does an alpha moo," and "Leonardo DiCrapio." The class mascots were Jimmy the Neuron (who got stolen but was replaced by a mini neuron from B&N and named Jimmy Jr.) and Julius Shakespeare (a mini plush elephant). The class ended the course by participating in a spelling bee (the longest word was Hippomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, given by Ryan Dixon), making T-shirts with all sorts of serious medical diseases on them (and one extra made for R.A Erin P.) and acting out a rewritten version of "The Pot-boiler," which included the usage of a heavy Irish accent and lots of substitute words, like Lux Fiat for lights on. The instructor took the class on trips to the Baltimore Museum of Art and made them use their umbrellas to create a phalanx while wearing their Greek alphabet capes. Class members of ETYM.JHU.10.2 are: Emily L, Monica T, Megan T, Amanda Sin, Madeline K, Janice C, Tiffany C, Ryn N, Rosie E, Erica M, Nicole K, William K, Ryan D, and Michael C.