I like discovering the etymology of words in some cases, and recently, while writing my dissertation I find myself doing this more often (especially when I am not motivated enough to contribute to my own work). The word I was hunting today was metadata, a term which is commonly understood as data about data.

Checking for the roots of metadata, I found in the Online Etymology Dictionary the following explanation:

meta- Look up meta- at Dictionary.com
    word-forming element meaning 1. “after, behind,” 2. “changed, altered,” 3. “higher, beyond;” from Greek meta (prep.) “in the midst of, in common with, by means of, in pursuit or quest of,” from PIE *me- “in the middle” (cognates: German mit, Gothic miþ, Old English mið “with, together with, among;” see mid). Notion of “changing places with” probably led to senses “change of place, order, or nature,” which was a principal meaning of the Greek word when used as a prefix (but also denoting “community, participation; in common with; pursuing”).

One cannot stop noticing the paralellism of the word to the German term mit, which is mapped to the newer term mid for English translation of middle. But actually the translation also points to the notion of chanching places with or in continuum, denoting participation, in common with, pursuin. All these terms actually reference to the term with, mapped correctly to Germanic mit. I am not sure why the mit is interpreted as mid for middle, but apparently the “roots” of the term metadata are even simpler rooted to the Albanian word: me.

In Albanian, me simply means with. It is one of those simple words which cannot be inherited by another culture and which could not have been transformed during time. Both  the -m- and -e- are widely used among all dialects of Albania as they are. Albanian me means exactly together with and this can be used to denote participation, community and coupling with context.

While the Greek culture had a strong echo in history, there is definetely a need to correct some perception in the etymology of the words. Some cultures like the Illyrian (proto-Albanian) did not make it in the enthusiasm of Renaissance and are still in the dark spot of modern science.

Posted by xpo6

Software developer in the realm of AI, NLP and black magic.