Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Short cuts to learning Italian - An Orderly Garden

Planning a trip to Rome involves a close look at the map.  When people of different, albeit overlapping, interests journey together this becomes important.

So, while I spend my time taking in a variety of ancient sites I try to locate nearby things that my wife might enjoy.  Gardens for interest.  There is a huge rose garden overlooking the site of the "Circo Massimo", and on the way to Castle San Angelo we go right past the "Orto Botanico".

This sent me down another side trip into the world of etymology, this time looking at how Latin, Italian and English intertwine.

Orto is "garden" in Italian.  It immediately made me think of this:

Ortho Weed B Gon.  It is some kind of hideous poison that promises to make your green growing stuff look great.  They actually make a wide variety of garden products under the "B Gon" banner. My personal faves are Ortho Mole B Gon and - honest to God - Ortho Snake B Gon.  Eve could have used a can of that stuff.

So, does the company name Ortho relate to the Italian word Orto?

Alas, probably not.  Ortho comes from Greek, not Latin.  It means "straight, true, correct". Hence orthodontia meaning straight teeth.

Orto on the other hand comes from the Latin "hortus" for garden.  That root also gives rise to horticulture.

So an appealing theory on interconnection of words appears to be simply a matter of coincidental sounds.  Even though a garden free of weeds, moles and snakes would be a more orderly place.

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