Fact check

Benjamin Fortson fortson at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Tue May 28 19:34:40 UTC 2002

I cannot think of any examples of the first statement ("life" >
"business") from older Indo-European languages, at least, but maybe it's
true somewhere else. (And maybe there are IE examples too that I'm not
thinking of; but in general the older IE languages had a rich set of
economic terms going all the way back to Proto-IE.) As for the Sanskrit
claim, I have no idea what he's thinking of here; none of the three
commonest words for 'man' (vi:ra-, purusha-, manu-) have any connection
with any word meaning 'weigh, count out, share', and it's a far from
obvious semantic connection anyway.


On Mon, 27 May 2002, Paul McFedries wrote:

> Can anyone confirm the two assertions made in the following quotation (from
> _The New Pioneers_ by Tom Petzinger, Jr.):
> In many ancient languages the word equivalent of "business" shares the same
> roots as "life"; in old Sanskrit, "man" was derived from a word meaning to
> weigh, value, count out, or share.
> Thank you.
> Paul

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