Chronos - cronos

From Hull AWE
Jump to: navigation, search

Do not confuse the supernatural characters of Greek mythology Cronos (or Cronus or Kronos) and Chronos. One was written in Greek with the initial letter Κ (kappa, the equivalent of our 'k'), and the other with Χ (chi, a guttural letter akin to Scots and German 'ch'). Because this sound is no longer used in RP, the initial consonant of both cronos and chronos are both realized as 'k', which explains the ease with which they are confused. Their vowels contribute to the confusion: both were written in the original Greek with the vowels as omicrons. Pedants, therefore, should be in favour of an English pronunciation with two short '-o-'s in each; but not all of them are. In General American, there is a tendency to realize the first vowel with the long '-o-' as in 'go' and 'so': 'CROW-nos', /'krəʊnɒs/.

  • Chronos is, as a common noun, a transliteration of χρόνος, the Greek word for 'time'. The mythological character of this name is a personification of time, given a leading role in some of the Greek creation myths; but he was not a God greatly venerated.
The word chronos has become a significant root in English, giving rise to, for example, the nouns chronography, 'the description of past events', or an obsolete term for what we now call chronology; chronometer, 'a mechanical instrument akin to a watch or clock, but designed to be more accurate in any circumstances' (notable examples being the marine chronometers pioneered by John Harrison in the eighteenth century, which for the first time enabled precise navigation, particularly the determination of longitude, and thus enabled the great voyages of exploration and cartography); chronology, 'the study of calculation of dates', or 'the listing of dates of events in the order in which they occurred' (and the adjective chronological, to denote 'in the order in which they happened'); and chronicle; the verb synchronize; and the adjective chronic. OED points out that "in [such] words in which chro- is stressless, the o is variously made 'oh', IPA/əʊ/, or the '-o-' as in 'got', IPA/ɒ/, passing into the shwa, IPA/ə/."
  • Cronos (more accurately transliterated from the Greek as Kronos) is the name of one of the Titans, the race of giants that, in Greek mythology, preceded the Olympian gods. He was said to have castrated his father Ouranos, and fathered Zeus on his sister Rhea. The Romans identified Kronos with the god Saturn.