Concept

Etymology

Summary
Etymology (ˌɛtɪˈmɒlədʒi ) is the scientific study of the origin and evolution of a word's semantic meaning across time, including its constituent morphemes and phonemes. It is a subfield of historical linguistics, philology and semiotics, and draws upon comparative semantics, morphology, pragmatics, and phonetics in order to construct a comprehensive and chronological catalogue of all meanings that a morpheme, phoneme, word, or sign has carried across time. For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts, and texts about the language, to gather knowledge about how words were used during earlier periods, how they developed in meaning and form, or when and how they entered the language. Etymologists also apply the methods of comparative linguistics to reconstruct information about forms that are too old for any direct information to be available. By analyzing related languages with a technique known as the comparative method, linguists can make inferences about their shared parent language and its vocabulary. In this way, word roots in many European languages, for example, can be traced all the way back to the origin of the Indo-European language family. Even though etymological research originated from the philological tradition, much current etymological research is done on language families where little or no early documentation is available, such as Uralic and Austronesian. The word etymology derives from the Ancient Greek word ἐτυμολογία (), itself from ἔτυμον (), meaning , and the suffix , denoting . The term etymon refers to the predicate (ie. stem or root) from which a later word or morpheme derives. For example, the Latin word candidus, which means , is the etymon of English candid. Relationships are often less transparent, however. English place names such as Winchester, Gloucester, Tadcaster share in different modern forms a suffixed etymon that was once meaningful, Latin castrum . Etymologists apply a number of methods to study the origins of words, some of which are: Philological research.
About this result
This page is automatically generated and may contain information that is not correct, complete, up-to-date, or relevant to your search query. The same applies to every other page on this website. Please make sure to verify the information with EPFL's official sources.
Related publications

Loading

Related people

Loading

Related units

Loading

Related concepts

Loading

Related courses

Loading

Related lectures

Loading

Related MOOCs

Loading