Sunday, October 3, 2010

What makes etymology an interesting subject?

LIBERMAN: "Everything in our world leaves a trace in language. If you know the history of language and understand the main forces that make language change, you have one of the most important windows into the growth of the human mind, civilization, and even politics. Take any word, from guitar to democracy. While studying their development, we inevitably learn a good deal about music and the rise of social institutions. And only the history of language is able to reveal the history of thought, for, unfortunately, an examination of the gray matter in our heads is not sufficient for that purpose. Let me repeat: there is nothing in the man-made world that is not reflected in language.".

The Hidden History of Words is just one entry on the fascinating University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts Discoveries blog. An intellectual labyrinth to get delightfully lost in. The College offers studies in many languages and cultures, including Asian, African, American Indian, European, linguistics, anthropology and more. See departments and majors, Research Languages & Literatures or Language instruction. You can even hear Prof. Liberman on public radio Word origins with Anatoly Liberman - the Minnesotan equivalent of Australia's Roly Sussex.

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