The word " didactics " is of Greek origin .

H 0302 ת ע ד , ה ע ד , ע ד

Concept of root : erudition

Hebrew word


English meanings

ת ע ד ,ה ע ד ,ע ד

de‛, da‛at


Related English words

didactics, from Greek

Comparison between European words and Hebrew




English meanings

Similarity in roots


ת ע ד, (ה)ע ד

de‛, da‛at

erudition, knowledge

d ‛ (a)




to teach, learn, know

d a




(d . ) d a(c)



Proto-Semitic *DA ‛AT --- *DA-, *DAT- Indo-European



This entry is related to the very fundamental entry E 1006 (Hebrew 1039) , that presents the verb "yad'" = " to know ". The roots are nearly identical, and the words of this entry are very important in any society. They seem to require some emphasis now and then. In Hebrew this is done by the use of the stronger vowel-stop that is the ע, ayin.



  • Greek is a fantasy-rich and versatile language that disposes of endless ways to express variations and nuances. The need to emphasize the importance of teaching , expressed by the so simple verb"dao" led to the creation of "διδασκω , didasko . The initial D had been doubled, with the necessary support of a sharp vowel, and the infix "SK" was inserted to express initiative. The product has become worldwide known, as in English "didactics".


    Still another rather well known word on the basis of this root is the word for teacher : "δασκαλος , daskalos " an important personality especially in local communities. It is noteworthy that, as more often, this Greek root expresses both the transitive and the intransitive versions of its basic concept, and even the result : teaching, learning, knowing.


  • Latin in the field of teaching and learning uses a couple of verbs, that are related with each other . One is "disco, didici, discere = to learn", touching many fields. The perfectum "didici" is also used for "to know", obviously as the result of learning. The other one is "doceo, docui, docēre = to teach". They form a couple, in which "doceo" usually is considered a causative verb.


    Then these two verbs are seen as being each related to a Greek verb. "Disco" is seen as linked to Greek "δεχομαι, dekhomai to receive, accept". But this is a medio-passive form with a root "D (E) K" ( as seen in the Ionian version "dekomai"), that on the basis of its meaning might be related to an active basic verb saying "to give, offer", which is found in Greek without a third consonant " K ". One could consider "to learn" as a particular kind of "receiving", but that is not at all sufficient to establish a narrow relationship. The second Latin verb, "doceo", is linked to Greek "δοκεο, dokeo = to think, have the opinion; to seem, appear to be". Notwithstanding the full similarity in sound, the meanings are very different. Understandably, as we see in this same entry the Greek word that carries the meanings of "to know, teach" with a root without "K". One may note that English "doctor" comes from Latin "doctus", related to "doceo" .


    Usually both Latin verbs , "disco" and "doceo" are considered as derived from a root "D E C", found in the verb "dĕcēo = to dress well (a person)", that is at the origin of English "decent". This verb in Classic Latin seems to be used only in the third person, having "an object as subject!". The distance in message between "to dress well", figuratively also "to become, befit" and "to teach" is so wide, that we can see no reason to presume that the first one is at the origin of the second.


    Latin probably had a couple of original forms, "D O C- = to teach" and D I SC- = to learn". Both may have as predecessor an earlier "*D + vowel-", still without K-sound, but it is difficult to define that vowel.


  • Hebrew today uses the word "da'at" to express the meaning of "opinion".


  • Proto-Semitic. The newer root with the T is found in Aramaic "ד ע ת א, da‛eta = knowledge". Ugaritic used the same root, as does Akkadian in "da'atu, da'itu = knowledge". It probably was already used in Proto-Semitic : "*ד ע ת, D Ayin T" . The other Hebrew root without the T is older and finds its cognates in Indo European.


  • Indo-European. A relation between "perceiving, reflecting, thinking, knowing" is quite normal. It is seen in Hebrew as indicated above. A further step is the one that leads from "knowledge" to "teaching" and "learning". Both chains of linguistic development can be quite independent. Not all related languages follow them to the full length.


    Old Indian, in a series of words uses a basic "D(H) Ī-" as well as "D(H) ĪĀ-" to express such a chain: "dĪdhĪte = to perceive, reflect, think", "dhyāte = to think of, imagine", with "dhyā = thought, meditation". "dhĪti- = thought, idea, intention" and then "dhĪra- = intelligent, wise, with "dhiyasāna- = attentive, mindful". The similarity with Hebrew and Greek is clear, but the Greek and Latin "teaching" is not present. In Avestan on the contrary it is there


    Avestan has an interesting daxś = to teach, instruct". The indication is a D A K-


    Albanian dítme" is interesting, as it means " wisdom, eruditeness". The indication is "D Ī T-


    Indo-European for the chain of "knowledge, teaching, learning" may have had an original "D A - for "knowledge", a following "D A T- for "thought, opinion" and a "D A (S)K- for "teaching, learning". In the various groups of languages the vowel "A" became often substituted by other vowels. In this particular case this happened also in Old Indian, that generally so gladly maintains its" A "'s. Avestan and Greek kept their "A" this time.





Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 13/10/2012 at 13.19.40