How “Bel” Went to “Bald” and “Ball” and “Tik” Went to “Teacher” and “Point of a Spear”

Polar Bear: White = Bel – Bella = Beautiful.

Not bad but I think that’s a different etymology. I’m not sure of the etymology of Bella and beautiful, but I believe it is from Latin, and where Latin got it, I have no idea, but I doubt if it is a reflex of “bel” = “white” because that referred to a bald head, and that’s hardly beautiful in my book!

Proto-Indo-European *dew “to show favor, revere” ->

Proto-Italic *dwe-nos  “good” ->

Old Latin duonus “good” ->

Old Latin *duenelos “diminutive of good,” “little good,” or “small good” ->

Latin bellus (feminine bella, neuter bellum, adverb bellē)

1. beautiful, pretty, handsome. 2. pleasant, agreeable, charming.

We have an English word “belle” which means a pretty woman, usually a pretty young woman. We also have “beau,” an old word that means boyfriend or girlfriend, especially of a young person.

We have a reflex of bellum in “antebellum.” English “beautiful” has a similar etymology as 1. definition above.

Bel = Bald = Ball

Ok, bel means “white” in Russian. “Bel” went to “bald” and “ball” in English.

Here’s how it happened. Bel originally referred to “white” because Indo-Europeans were White men. A White man who is bald and out in the sun has a shiny or “white” head. A shiny white bald head has the shape of a ball, say a beach ball.

Tik = Teacher = Point of a spear

About how tik went to “teacher” and “point of a spear.”

Tik meant “one.” It went to “teacher” but it also went to “index finger” in a lot of other languages. “Index finger” means the “one-finger” or “first finger.” When you hold up a finger to symbolize “one” which finger do you hold up? The index finger!

And what is it that a teacher does? Imagine a teacher up in front of a blackboard pointing things out. If he doesn’t have one of those pointing sticks (which substitutes for an index finger), he’s pointing things out with his index finger. In fact, hands-on teaching, the main mode of human thinking for most of our 200,000 year history, obviously involved a lot of pointing, and pointing is always done with an index finger.

So “teacher” is “tik-er,” “point-er,” “pointer,” or “one who points.” We also have phrases like, “Here are a few pointers,” which have pedagogical implications, once again cementing the relationship between teaching and pointing with an index finger.

It’s just my theory that “point of a spear” in the language I worked with was a reflex of tik, and I could be wrong. But the “point” of a spear resembles the “tip” of a finger or an “index finger,” the “point” of the “one-finger,” so we end up with a similar etymology as above.

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