þriðjudagur, janúar 02, 2007

í stað

Steady, steady ---

I have only just noticed that this word contains the old word stead, place, Icelandic staður. It's rare now in English. Of course, it is in the word instead, which is not so dissimilar from Icelandic í stað (fyrir), Norwegian i stedet for or istedenfor.

(I've never understood the matter of gender there: is it et sted or en sted? Elsewhere in the language it is et sted, but that doesn't accord with the masculine gender of Old Norse staðr. What happened? Has there been, dare I ask, a shift?)

Instead is about coming into the place of something else and that something else leaving. Steady is about moving as if one were not moving, as if one were staying in one place. Isn't it curious that the venerable stead should have stuck in words no longer about place?

Then there is steadfast. No one uses that word anymore. But, then, everything moves, jerkily or steadily, onward, and new things come to replace old ones.

Engin ummæli:

Hvaðan þið eruð