~ TLW ~ Topics for Discussion ~ Page Three ~

~ Topic Discussion ~ 303 ~ Etymology: An Introduction  ~

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~ Discuss with a teacher, in pairs, or in groups ~ Then share your results in a classroom discussion ~

1) To begin with, in groups or in pairs, select the questions you¡¯d like to talk about. 

2) Then, in pairs or in groups, ask questions and share ideas in your conversations .

3) Finally, share your ideas (as a whole) in a classroom discussion (with all pairs/groups).


For specifics, see TLW Classroom Lesson Procedures: Click here    

Adapted from Wikipedia and other sources:


Etymology is the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time. 


For languages with a long written history, etymologists gain knowledge about how words were used during earlier periods of their history and compare them to the present day.

Examples would be endless as all languages change and evolve over time. In fact, they are changing everyday on the minute.

Etymologists also apply the methods of comparative linguistics to reconstruct information about languages 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 have been found that can be traced all the way back to the origin of, for instance, the Indo-European language family.

Even though etymological research originally grew from the philological tradition, currently much etymological research is done on language families where little or no early documentation is available, such as Uralic and Austronesian.

All in all, one could say , that a dictionary is a kind of museum for the meaning of words. It doesn¡¯t represent the dynamic nature of language.

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