0

psyche (n.)    1640s, "animating spirit," from Latin psyche, from Greek psykhe "the soul, mind, spirit; breath; life, one's life, the invisible animating principle or entity which occupies and directs the physical body; understanding" (personified as Psykhe, the beloved of Eros), akin to psykhein "to blow, cool," from PIE root *bhes- "to blow, to breathe" (source also of Sanskrit bhas-), "Probably imitative" [Watkins].

Alas, at present, I don't have enough time to learn enough all phonology or phonetics, but from this post, I recognise the centrality of pronunciation. However, how can I learn more about 'imitation' as cited above? I've acquired a book on Historical Linguistics that I'm reading, though too slowly.

In the case above, the context appears too scant. What imitates what?

1

Say [psʉ̥]. Then blow out a candle. Maybe you should record yourself doing this. The sound of you blowing out a candle sounds like [psʉ̥], or could sound like it, if you blown out the candle in the right way. "Imitation" in historical phonology is a very flaccid many-edged sword, but imitation is not a precise art.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.