Head of Department
Department of Languages and Literary Studies
Ritman University,
Ikot Ekpene, Nigeria.

Etymology is a linguistic theory which traces the meanings of words to their origins. Etymologists pedantically insist that every word must be traced to its original meaning or root. As a branch of diachronic linguistics, etymology has been employed by lexicographers in tracing the relationship between words. Studies in etymology reveal that the methodological principles are reliable. But over the centuries, etymology has been subjected under a weight of criticisms. In 1866 the Linguistic Society of Paris banned any discussion on the topic. Many linguists consider the postulations of etymology as fallacious; making assumptions that it cannot substantiate. The issues of linguistic change and productivity seem to shatter the little that remained in the household of etymology. But etymology cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand as there is no clear-cut demarcation between diachronic and synchronic studies. The pedantic stance that the roots of words should in no way be linked to metaphor or polysemy is inimical to synchronic analysis. We cannot completely do away with etymology as it is a veritable tool in language teaching methodology and vocabulary acuity.


International Journal of Language and Communication Studies Vol.8 No. 1&2
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