Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Dec 6 14:24:46 UTC 2005

At 9:24 AM +0000 12/6/05, Michael Quinion wrote:
>Darla Wells wrote:
>>  I saw a reference to the use of folklore to save people from the Asian
>>  tsunami, but this is the first time I have seen the term geomythology.Is
>>  that a new one?
>Yes, I saw that article, too. It says that it is a "new science", both
>words in the phrase being open to dissent. It's true that the term hasn't
>yet reached the dictionaries. But examples have been around for at least a
>decade, the earliest of which I can find is in an item about a house fire:
>1994 Indian Country Today (Lakota Times) 23 Feb I had two manuscripts on
>computer. I lost five chapters on geomythology.
>In "First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times", by
>Adrienne Mayor (2001), the author says: "The word 'geomythology' was
>coined in 1968 by Dorothy Vitaliano, a geologist interested in folklore,
>to describe etiological legends that explain -- in poetic metaphor and
>mythological imagery -- volcanoes, earthquakes, and landforms."
Hey, I'm glad I got "etymythology" in before the slot was filled.
"Etiological legend" applies nicely in that case as well.  I can
imagine an explosion of similar fields--"gastromythology", anyone?


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