Meaning of Etymology

What is Etymology:

As etymology it is called the discipline of Linguistics that is responsible for studying the origin and evolution of words, as well as their meaning and their forms. Hence, when we talk about the etymology of words we are referring to all these aspects.

The word etymology, as such, comes from the Latin etymology, and this in turn from the Greek ἐτυμολογία (etymology), which is composed of the Greek roots ἐτυμος (étimos), which means 'true' or 'authentic', and λόγος (logos), which translates 'word' or 'expression' , that is to say, the true origin of the word.

In this sense, etymology, as a field of study associated with philology and historical linguistics, aims to investigate, analyze and determine the origin of words, the reason for their existence, as well as the evolution of their meaning (if there would be) and its shape.

To do this, etymology decomposes and analyzes the roots of words, as well as their constituent elements, such as the ending, the subject, the radical or the ending of the word.

Likewise, etymology uses methods of comparative linguistics from which it tries to reconstruct or deduce data associated with very ancient languages, generally prior to the invention of writing. Thus, they manage to determine aspects such as the source of origin of the word, the chronology of its incorporation into the language, or the changes in structure and meaning that it has suffered over time.

The importance of etymology as a discipline of linguistic study is that it allows us to understand the origin and true meaning of words and, in this sense, it provides us with knowledge that helps us expand our vocabulary, use synonyms correctly and improve our spelling.

In Spanish, a language that evolves from Latin, many voices from other languages ​​have been incorporated, for example, over the centuries, either for historical, political, economic or cultural reasons. Thus, words like pillow or cotton come from Arabic, from French, words like pants or committee, while from Greek come many terms from the field of Medicine, such as ophthalmologist and dentist. Thus, etymology allows us to determine and understand its origin and other aspects.

Popular etymology

Popular etymology is one that offers free interpretations, without rigor of any kind, on the origin of words. In this sense, people spontaneously attribute to a word an origin related to another word, generally of a different origin. Hence, popular etymology can give rise to semantic mistakes, such as "hillock", or cause phonetic deformations, as in "necromancy", which means 'black magic', originally necromancy, but altered due to its association with the word black. In the same way, it happens with the word Yucatán, to which the popular etymology relates to a supposed expression that would come to mean 'I don't understand' in the Mayan language, and which, according to a popular legend, was the response of the indigenous people when the Spaniards When they reached the peninsula of the same name, they asked where they were.

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