As I was running yesterday, I noticed that the German words for “to publish” – veröffentlichen – and “public” (as an adjective) – öffentlich – are related. Which in turn made me realize that their English counterparts are also related. German also has the word publizieren for “to publish” as well as das Publikum for “audience” or “public” (used as a noun). According to Duden, these latter two are probably the result of an influx of Latin-based words into German from French and English.
I can recall having a conversation with a colleague about twenty years ago over publications in scientific journals – he argued that they really shouldn’t be considered published unless they found a public (that is they were cited by another author in one of her/his publications). I wonder what he’d make of the proliferation of blogs (like this one) or the myriad updates on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram through which so many of us seek to publish our thoughts? If they are without a public are they not really public?