Wednesday, October 1, 2014
It is interesting to watch the evolution of the English language. I shouldn't be ethnocentric; I'm sure all languages evolve. But who is the person who comes up with the new word? In France, I believe, they (the government) wants to preserve the integrity of the French language. So the almost universal computer is called l'ordinateur. Similar words are invented for other new technology. Marathon was a small town in Greece before it was a long distance endurance race with an official distance 42.195 kilometres or 26 miles and 385 yards. It is usually run as a road race as opposed to multiple times around a track.
Athens was fighting the Persian Empire prior to the time of Alexander the Great in one of the endless stream of conflicts from that era. They sent a most capable runner on a long journey to Sparta to ask for help as a battle was anticipated. Exerting himself beyond human capabilities the man gasped out the request, which was refused, and then dropped dead (whether from exhaustion, shock or disappointment is not known). The location of the ensuing battle (which Athens managed to win even without the Spartan reinforcements) was called Marathon.
Maybe we should have remembered instead the name of the unfortunate long distance runner who made the ultimate sacrifice.