What's in a Word | All Blogs


A physical a-n-d mental workout

By Debra Dobbins

If German teenagers go to a gymnasium, do they work out or attend classes?

If you guessed the latter, you’re right. In Germany the word “gymnasium” means a place of learning similar to an American high school. If Germans want to exercise in a building, they go to a training center (Schulungszentrum).

How this word split into two different meanings, depending upon one’s culture, has an interesting background.

It came from an ancient Greek word, according to Isaac Asimov in Words from History. Asimov notes that a gymnasium was originally a place in which athletes trained for the Olympic Games and other great sporting events.

In a country that valued mental acuity as much as physical prowess, Asimov continues, gymnasiums also drew men “interested in intellectual discussion.” Eventually, the word “gymnasium” came to have a dual meaning as a place in which both the body and mind were exercised.

Over the centuries the word’s meaning began to reflect different perceptions in different cultures. In America, we emphasize just the physical meaning of the word, whereas in Germany, its intellectual meaning is used to denote roughly our equivalent of high school.
 

COMMENTS

Please Login or Register to leave a comment.




Recent Posts
Weekend Shows Dominated by Local Musicians
By David Goe
Friday, September 4, 2015

Know your cole
By Penny Stine
Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Make room for these next year
By Penny Stine
Thursday, August 27, 2015

An inexpensive meadow garden
By Julie Norman
Wednesday, August 26, 2015

THE BIRDS AND THE BEARS!
By Nic.Korte
Monday, August 24, 2015


TOP JOBS




THE DAILY SENTINEL
734 S. Seventh St.
Grand Junction, CO 81501
970-242-5050; M-F 8:00 - 5:00
Editions
Subscribe to print edition
E-edition
Advertisers
Advertiser Tearsheet
Information

© 2015 Grand Junction Media, Inc.
By using this site you agree to the Visitor Agreement and the Privacy Policy