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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000112.txt from 2010/05

From: "Dan Leeson" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] mozart
Date: Mon, 10 May 2010 13:48:36 -0400

Well, you have me there, and you sent me in a mad drive through my German =

dictionary, the Oxford dictionary, and several other sources. But none of =

them corroborate my assertion that the "Ur" of Urtext derives from the =

biblical city.

That all German words using it as a prefix (Urquelle, Urbevoelkerung," etc.=
) =

point to the earliest of something, it is not outrageous to suggest the =

relationship between the prefix and the oldest city of Ur.

It is fascinating that I have been using that expression about the origin o=
f =

Urtext for years and years, only to find out that I have no source to allow =

such a use. I'm still going to use it, but more judiciously.

Dan Leeson

----- Original Message ----- =

From: "Michael Nichols" <>
To: "The Klarinet Mailing List" <>
Sent: Monday, May 10, 2010 8:11 AM
Subject: Re: [kl] mozart

On Fri, May 7, 2010 at 11:45 AM, Dan Leeson <> wrote:
> The term "urtext" derives from the biblical reference to the city of Ur,
> which is suggested to place where everything began; i.e., the origin.

Where did you hear that, Dan? I've never heard that before.

"Urtext" is a German word, and "Ur-" is a common German prefix that
denotes that something is first or original. Many German words
contain this prefix, such as "Urquelle" (wellspring--literally,
"original source"), "urspr=FCnglich" (original), "Urbev=F6lkerung"
(indigenous/aboriginal population), "Urbild" (model--literally,
"original picture").

"Urtext" literally means "original text." Another German word with a
similar meaning is "Urschrift" (manuscript--literally, "original

As far as I know, the prefix "Ur-" has been a part of the German
language since time immemorial and has nothing to do with Ur of the
Chaldeans (which was in what is present day Iraq, a little way's
northwest of Basra).
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