Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What's in a name: Srividya

Names are interesting and educational. One of my co-workers is named Srividya. I thought that /sri/ sounded familiar: to wit, /sri lanka/, "divine island", but I didn't know what /vidya/ meant - sounds like "video" but Indian names are ancient, plus who still with their wits about them would name their kid "divine video"??

So I do what I do when I'm at wit's end: I ask.  /Sri/ in this case means abundance, as in 'wealth', or 'a wealth of'.  And she said /vidya/ means 'knowledge'.

A little googling gave me more info. Vidya is an epithet of Saraswati, a goddess of knowledge and daughter or consort of Brahma.  Makes me think of Athena, the daughter of Zeus.

Now the cognates. PIE is *weid-, to know, whence Englist 'wit'.  In Latin, it's videre, whence English 'vision'.

And now you know what I know about the word vidya.