On Mon, 18 Mar 2013 12:59:12 +0000, Frederick Williams wrote: > firstname.lastname@example.org wrote: >> [...] I'm sure I'd have lots of questions and that would open up a great multilogue (meaning a dialogue but extended to more than two views) > > It pleases me to be able to report that the "di" bit of "dialogue" has > nothing to do with two people. A conversation beteeen many is also a > dialogue. The Greek "dia" means various things, "two" is not one of > them. It is "di" (or "dis") that means two, but that is not the prefix > here. It is "duologue" that means conversation between two parties. > > [Meanwhile, I'm thinking "dia" = "made of", "though", etc, which is it? > "Made of" I suspect, because "logos" (among other things) means > "speech", so a dialogue is made of speach. Hmm... I shall check. If a > linguist comes along and says otherwise it is (s)he whom you should > believe, not I.]
I don't have access to a current Oxford English Dictionary, the which usually is regarded as an authority on matters like this, but the entry at <http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=dialogue> agrees closely with an older OED I looked at (except etymonline uses Roman alphabet for Greek terms, where OED has Greek letters). etymonline says,
dialogue (n.): early 13c., "literary work consisting of a conversation between two or more persons," from Old French dialoge, from Latin dialogus, from Greek dialogos "conversation, dialogue," related to dialogesthai "converse," from dia- "across" (see dia-) + legein "speak" (see lecture (n.)). Sense broadened to "a conversation" c.1400. Mistaken belief that it can only mean "conversation between two persons" is from confusion of dia- and di- (1). A word for "conversation between two persons" is the hybrid duologue (1864).
dia-: before vowels, di-, word-forming element meaning "through, thoroughly, entirely," from Greek dia-, from dia "through, throughout," probably from the root of duo "two" (see two) with a base sense of "twice."