17 January 2007

Yocto yok!

The Turkish word yok is quite versatile. My dictionary has a half a page of entries for it. Yok primarily means "absent, missing, not available", as in ekmek yok (there is no bread). In casual conversation, it frequently means simply, "no".

Geldiler mi? (Have they come?)
Yok (No).

Yok is also used in many phrases with negative connotations except in the double-negative construction Yok yok where it creates an indirect positive: there is nothing missing.

The 13 January 2007 issue of the New Scientist explains the origin of the relatively recent scientific prefix yocto for 10-24. It was created by adding an apparently arbitrary "y" to the Greek word for 8 okto (1000-8=10-24).

It, of course, makes perfect sense. If all one has of something amounts to only 10-24 gram, one certainly has yokto!

1 comment:

Duane said...

Cute word play. Yok?