Anglické jazykové okienko

Anglické jazykové okienko

Tricky Words in this week's OVI

Medium. That's singular (one), and media is plural (more than one). The original idea in Latin was "something in the middle", which persists in expressions for coffee (strong, medium or weak) or steak (rare, medium [rare] or well done). Then it came to mean "an intervening substance", something which carries a force, an influence or an impression from one place to another, enabling it to have an effect. Let's say energy is a kind of force (I know that's not strictly true, but I gave up physics when I was 14), then the "intervening substances" that can carry, transport or convey energy are gases (air, CO), vapours (steam) or liquids (water, petrol), for example. Information and ideas have an influence on people, and "the media" (newspapers, radio, TV, internet) are the "carriers" of communication.

Andy's Wordshop

Continuing with "medium". Air is a medium, it's the substance that surrounds us and we exist in it, like fish exist in water, so medium also means (znamená) environment. Then the Slovak translation should be "prostredie". So a "medium" is different from a "means" ("prostriedok"), which means (znamená) a thing, an instrument, a tool or a vehicle (a telephone is a means of communication, not a medium), and it's different from a "channel" ("kanál"), which means a way or a conduit, leading or guiding a medium to its destination, not only water ("prieplav") but also radio or TV signals ("kmitočet"). Finally, a person might be a "medium", an intermediary between the living and the dead, a "channel" for communication with spirits in the afterlife, if you believe in that kind of thing.

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