Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mysteries of "the Levant"

We just added the following explanatory paragraph to our essay on "ISIL vs ISIS":

  The word Levant is pronounced le-VAHNT.  The voweling and the end-stress is an influence of the French word from which our English word is borrowed;  however, it is not actually the French pronunciation of Levant (from the active participle of the verb lever 'to rise'), for there the "t" is silent.
The word literally means 'rising (of the sun)';  as such, it is an exact parallel of the word Orient, derived from a Latin active participle of, likewise, a verb meaning 'to rise (said of the sun)'.  By an accident of history, one word got attached to the Eastern Mediterranean lands, the other to the Far East.

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