Folk Etymology


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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Folk Etymology

 

the reinterpretation and transformation of obscure words (for the most part, of foreign origin) through their association with similar-sounding words or meaningful parts of words in one’s native language. Folk etymology is based on purely fortuitous, external sound correspondences. For example, in Russian, the substandard word poluklinika (literally, “semiclinic”) is used instead of its standard literary counterpart, poliklinika (“polyclinic”), owing to the association of the unfamiliar poli- with the familiar Russian form polu- (“half-,” “semi-,” “hemi-”). The English word “crayfish,” derived from Middle French crevice, is another example of folk etymology.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Therefore, the royal descent of the name is unlikely and should be regarded as folk etymology ('incident names' associated with royalty are, after all, rather popular in Estonian folk tradition).
"The Inevitability of Folk Etymology: A Case of Collective Reality and Invisible Hands." Journal of Pragmatics 35 (2003): 119-38.
Folk etymology, as we have seen, is traditionally defined as secondary motivation of an unmotivated or no longer motivated word.
Metonymy, absorption, folk etymology (adaptation and, especially, regrouping) and, to a limited extent, metaphor have thus been found to be the most important types of lexical semantic change which may lead to semantic change in patterns of word formation.
(33.) Technically speaking, the term folk etymology is not entirely correct because we are not dealing with etymology.
These individual changes of names are called folk etymology (see also: Saar 2008; Kallasmaa 1995; Dalberg 1997).
An alternate explanation is that it is a folk etymology of gyros (pronounced yee-roh; phonetics experts and those fluent in Greek may feel free to pick at my representation of the proper pronunciation.
back-formation) IV Semantic pseudo-loan from +/- -(-) 0 another language or variety V Partial folk etymology, - + - blending, truncation (incl.
According to linguists the names are motivated by the red or reddish-brown feathers of the birds, even though folk etymology sometimes associates them, erroneously, with the alder tree (Suolahti 1906 : 141-142; Mager 1967 : 166-167).
Thus, the association with Hebrew g?m?l 'camel' is more likely a folk etymology. Ross further states that he means "lattice" (ibid.), where ISS states "man calling," and the letter nun (p.
In common practice, folk etymology attributes to jiu, homophonous with the word meaning "nine," the sense "nine birds," because the left and right components of the graph can be separated out as "nine" and "bird" But this equivalence need not detain us.