Date: Thu, 16 Oct 1997 08:16:23 -0400 From: Gregory {Greg} Downing Subject: Re: Etymology of _Hoosier_ At 06:55 AM 10/16/97 -0400, you wrote: >Why is folk etymology so much more rewarding than the truth? > >Dennis R. Preston >Department of Linguistics and Languages >Michigan State University >preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] > Maybe Horne Tooke is a vampire, is undead, and has been out biting others. Bram Stoker, call your office. Or maybe the answer is that "man is an etymologizing animal" (Abram Smythe Palmer, _Folk-Etymology_, 1882). A lot of folk etymologies become quite influential. Perhaps f-e is okay as long as people don't think it's anything but an ex post facto construct -- but they often think f-e is the real reason for the word's origin I think. Poll people, and I bet you'll find 100 who know "who's here?" led to "hoosier" for every 1 who knows the published reseached history as posted on this list last week. Skeat waxed vehement about the need to stamp out f-e over a century ago. For example: "If the question were one of chemistry, botany, or any form of science, the appeal would lie to the facts; and we should be amazed if any one who asserted that the chief constituents of water are oxygen and nitrogen were to take offence at contradiction. The whole matter lies in a nutshell; if etymology is to be scientific, the appeal lies to the facts; and the facts, in this case, are accurate quotations, with exact references, from all available authors." (_A Student's Pastime_, 1895, p. lxxv) Greg Downing/NYU, at greg.downing[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]