Podiums, Lecterns & Soapboxes



12 October 2014

Every historical speaker knows the problem, we ask for a lectern and we're given a stage. What happened? Etymological confusion, obviously. Understanding the roots of words can help to avoid such problems, so let's look at two that are critical to our oral delivery of research findings.



Words that begin with "pod" typically are rooted in the Greek wood for foot.  So, we have podiatrists who treat foot problems. From that same root comes "podium," a platform on which our feet stand.



Words that begin with "lect ..." are typically rooted in the Medieval Latin word for read. Hence, we have lecturers who, before our modern era of edutainment, actually read their papers. From that same root comes "lectern," the stand on which lecturers place their papers in order to read them.



Yeah. That's what we're standing on today, with this little lecture on the roots of words.



PHOTO CREDIT: "Dog giving a speech," CanStockPhoto (http://www.canstockphoto.com/images-photos/soapbox.html#file_view.php?id=6077467 : downloaded 16 September 2014), uploaded by izakowski; used under license.

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