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Conceptual Phonetics: The Soul/the sole


Staff member
Can the seemingly arbitrary connections between particular sound combinations and particular concepts in the English Language (for example) provide clues towards the Primordial Language?

I remember reading this years ago in the very interesting
Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson by Gurdjieff:

..But if notwithstanding this warning of mine you still wish to become
acquainted with the rest of my expositions, there is nothing left for me but to
wish you with all my "genuine soul" a very, very good "appetite," and that
you may "digest" everything you read, not only for your own health but for
the health of all those near you.
I said "with my genuine soul" because recently, living here in Europe, and
frequently meeting people who on every appropriate and inappropriate
occasion are fond of taking in vain sacred names that belong only to man's
inner life, that is to say, of swearing to no purpose, and being, as I have
already confessed, a follower—not only in theory, like contemporary people,
but also in practice—of the sayings of popular wisdom established throughout
the centuries, among which is one that corresponds to the present case and is
expressed in the words "When you are in Rome do as the Romans do"—in
order not to be out of harmony with the custom established here in Europe of
swearing in ordinary conversation, and at the same time to act according to
the commandment enunciated by the holy lips of Saint Moses not to take the
sacred names in vain—I decided to make use of one of the oddities of that
freshly baked fashionable language called "English," and each time the occasion
requires it, to swear by my "English soul."
The point is that in this fashionable language the word for "soul" and the
word for the bottom of the foot, also "sole," are pronounced and even written
almost alike.
I do not know how it is for you, who are already half a candidate for a
buyer of my writings, but as for me, no matter how great my mental desire,
my peculiar nature cannot avoid being indignant at this manifestation of
people of contemporary civilization, whereby the very highest in man,
particularly beloved by our Common Father Creator, can be named and often understood as that which is lowest and dirtiest in man..

I think that Gurdjieff was a little harsh in his criticism of English in this case. After all "sole" also has the meaning of *being the only one* and *of or relating to only one individual or group; exclusive* which seem quite apt. Even with regards to the underside of one's foot it could be said that the sole is our physical foundation just as the Soul is our Foundation. The shared sound of soul and sole in English suggests that everything is God, everything is sacred.

We also have sol and solar relating to our planet's source of light and life so all in all a language that has soul and sole in it might not be so bad.

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