By Pierre D. Habel, Latin Teacher
Learning a second language such as Latin allows a student to develop a depth of insight into English that far exceeds that of most students. During the November, I will feature four Latin words which allow knowledgeable students to enrich their control of the meaning (and nuance) of English words.
The first word of the month is the verb torqueō. As in English, each Latin verb has principal parts from which all other forms of a verb may be assembled (parent readers may remember learning the series, see[s], seeing, saw, seen, as a way of avoiding ungrammatical statements such as ‘I seen him there’). In Latin, torqueō, torquēre, torsī, tortus has as its basic meaning “twist, turn forcefully, wind, hurl.” It is regularly applied to the action of the arm as it engages in the act of throwing, to the winding of windlasses and catapults, to physical twisting so as to inflict pain, and to the more metaphorical ide of bending things or words out of their original shape. Clearly, it does not seem to be the most pleasant of ideas, yet consider the range of ideas expressed by its English progeny: