Saturday, September 13, 2008

# 2 of gnosco: cognoso, cognoscere, cognovi, cognitum: to learn, know

For future discussions of the incredible range of English vocabulary words that come from Greek and Latin root words, I will list the stems of the language in sky blue, beginning with the ff.:

Cognosco, cognoscere, cognovi, cognitum—to learn, know {conn, quaint}.

For a fascinating discussion of the stems (main root words) and morphemes (main root words, affixes, and infixes) of English vocabulary words, please access my Introduction to Classical Word Origin.

When Billy recognized Morgan after not seeing her for many years, he ‘got to know’ her ‘again’. After this recognition had occurred, he really wanted to reacquaint himself with her bubbling effervescent personality (note the funny spelling change of this Latin root from "cognit" to "quaint:" Old French is the culprit; French has certainly added a great deal of color to our language, and for a large part keeps the Scripps National Spelling Bee in business) so he decided to invite her on a date to a quaint (the adjective "quaint" can mean ‘cunningly made’ by someone who has ‘learned’ a skill, but has also evolved into meaning ‘strange’ and ‘odd’ in an old-fashioned sort of way) French restaurant so as to make the soiree a highly memorable rendezvous.
Billy must have possessed some sort of oracular precognition, or foreknowledge, because Morgan had, over the years, become quite the cognoscente of French cuisine, "having learned" all the ins and outs of haute cuisine. Billy, certainly no connoisseur whatsoever of food, knowing" little of its art, therefor decided to reconnoiter the restaurant to "learn" a little about it beforehand in order to impress his hoped-for new beloved, so he went, incognito, to the place itself, pretending to be one of those magazine food tasters that would later report on the sumptuousness, or lack thereof, of the food. Displaying a tad bit of cognitive dissonance in his new role, he ordered biftec, and pronounced it a veritable miracle (grass fed, hugged, kissed, and all). Raving about his successful reconnaissance mission in which he "learned" everything he needed to "know," he felt fully prepared for his restaurant revel, ready to drop linguistic tidbits upon the lift of the fork, until he discovered, later on the next evening, that Morgan had gone incognita as well and was going for none of his obsequious culinary cognition (and who herself was a vegetarian).
To further one's own cognitive skills (with what else can one think and learn except via words?), visit the home of Greek and Latin roots, where you will discover a host of Greek and Latin root words and their pullulating (teeming) attendant and devoted English derivatives, most of the English vocabulary words you will ever need or probably want to acquaint yourself with.
Written by Brett Brunner of
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