LESSON 2 «NAUTY WORDS» and new Greek words, Cosmetics, Universe, and your Ego.


**Here’s Lesson 2, for all of you who have now conquered the Greek alphabet and can sing the Greek alphabet without any mistakes (did you really, really do your homework? If not, go back to Lesson 1 and master the Greek alphabet!) **


1. Fun for today: learning the «nauty» words – and enlarging your vocabulary: If we combine the Greek words for “universe” — cosmos, κοσμος — and “sailor” – nautes, ναυτης (pronounced “now – tays”), that’s one “nauty” word, cosmonaut (κοσμος + ναυτης). What is a cosmonaut?

 2.  “Astronaut” is another “nauty” word that combines the word for “star” — αστηρ, aster, — with “sailor”: αστροναυτης. What is an astronaut?

 3.  How about “aeronautical”? That word comes from combining the Greek word for air, αηρ (ΑΗΡ) with the related Greek word for “ship” ναυς or «sailor» ναυτης. Sailing through air involves technical knowledge of how air currents can lift an airplane! So what are aeronautics about?


Now you know three “nauty” words and their etymology (that’s a word that means the language root of a word), here’s a little bit more to have fun with:


Extra fun with Greek: And since now you know the word for “universe” – cosmos, κοσμος — you can tell your mom or older sister that “cosmos/κοσμος — gives us the word “cosmetic“: because “κοσμος” (cosmos) originally meant “order, good order, beautiful arrangement, form, decoration,” as well as “universe”.


QUESTION 1: Did you notice something about the letter that sounds like “s” in κοσμος?:

Little sigma (that is, lower case Σ) has two forms: σ and ς.

At the end of a word, sigma takes this form:   ς .   At the beginning or in the middle of a word, sigma takes this form: σ. Upper case or “capital” sigma looks like this: Σ .


Question 2 : What is “ego”?  (For meaning, see your online dictionary.) The Greek word for “I” – Εγω, εγω

So if a person can’t stop talking about «me me me» we call them an egoist!

(You’re not an egoist because you’re busy studying Ancient Greek.)


Question 3. What is «mania»?

If that egoist is totally crazy talking about «me me me», then we call them a combination of «me/εγω/ego” + “mania” (madness), μανια, ‘egomaniacal’ .

That’s a very, very strong word, and please don’t use it except when whispering to yourself. And try very hard never to be either an egoist or egomaniacal – it’s not very nice, is it?

Ok, ladies and gentlemen, now think about these new words and etymologies (look that word up in your online dictionary) and write them out in Greek and English next to each other. You can now share those “nauty” words with your friends and …


The next time you see cosmetics on sale or in a magazine, you won’t be able to resist thinking about the word “cosmos” κοσμος !  And thinking about the cosmos, or universe, you may be entirely distracted from consumerism  — another great benefit from learning Ancient Greek.


(Note:  if you activate the Greek alphabet on your computer (find it by clicking on the American flag on your computer, and you’ll see the Greek blue and white striped flag) but write in ordinary English, you and your friends can share secrets your parents and teachers may not be able to guess!)


Tonight, have a look at the night sky and the stars and pretend you are in ancient Greece three thousand years ago watching your sheep: Ask yourself – why are the words for “universe” and “cosmetics” related?

Why did the ancient Greeks give names to the constellations that we still use today?




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