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Tuesday’s Class:

Dear etymology students,

If you are presenting your research on Tuesday, please send me your handout by the end of the day on Sunday, May 4.

On Monday morning I will distribute these handouts to the class. Please read these handouts in preparation for Tuesday’s class. I have ended slots on Tuesday and Thursday. If you have not signed up for a time and would like to present your research, please sign up for a time:

There is one last daily etymology due on Tuesday. If you handed in an etymology for today’s class, you do not need to submit an etymology on Tuesday.

Please keep in mind that you will only have 5 minutes for your presentation. This means that you must be concise in order for the research presentations to be productive.

If you would like to meet with me to discuss your research, please send me an email.

Have a great weekend, and enjoy the sun while it lasts!



Work due April 29:

Dear etymology students,

Here is your homework for Tuesday:

1) Please read lesson 7 from your Latin etymology book. This lesson introduces words formed from Latin nouns. In order to find the stem of nouns ending in -a, drop the -a from the end of the word. The stem of ‘alga’, the first word in the list, is ‘alg-‘. Similarly, for nouns belonging to category ‘fifth declension’ (this list begins at the bottom of page 21), drop the -ei ending from the second form given. The stem of ‘dies’ is found by dropping the -ei from the second form, i.e. the stem is ‘di-‘. Please read the notes on page 22 carefully. Then choose 12 words to analyze and define from exercise 1, and complete exercise 2.

2) There will not be a quiz on Tuesday. There will be no more quizzes for this class.

3) Please read chapter 8 on semantic change from Durkin’s Oxford Guide to Etymology. This chapter is posted under assignments.

Lastly, the Spring Linguistics Dinner is coming up on Wednesday, April 30th from 5:30-7:30pm in Carr Hall. All students who are interested in linguistics are encouraged to attend the dinner! You can drop by at any point and stay for as long as short as you want. It will be a very casual opportunity to have some good food and chat with faculty members/fellow students who share similar interests.

See you all on Tuesday. If you have not signed up for WIP final paper time slot, be sure to do so!


PS If you would like to meet to discuss your research, please send me an email!


Work due April 24:

Dear etymology students,

Here is your homework:
1) Prefix research! Choose a prefix to research. Now choose five words (either from the homework or words that include the prefix that you’ve chosen). For example, if I were to research sub-, I might examine ‘subpar’ and ‘succour’. Subpar means ‘below average’, which denotes something that is less, i.e. bad. Yet succour comes from sub + curr (run) and means to ‘help, assist, aid’. What is the relationship/connection between these two prefixes? When you click on the link to the prefix in the etymology of each word, you will find that the prefix ‘sub’ has been different meanings. Your task for Thursday is to report to the class your findings and to explain how the various meanings of prefixes are related to one another by connecting each use to its most basic, fundamental spatial meaning. Please write up a short description of your findings and the words you examined in place of a daily comment.

2) Eva Sweetser, ‘Semantic structure and semantic change” English perception-verbs in an Indo-European context’, From Etymology to Pragmatics: Metaphorical and cultural aspects of semantic structure, 23-48.

3) Sign up for a WIP final paper presentation time:

I have posted three more chapters from Durkin’s OEG under announcements. You must use Durkin as a secondary source for your paper. Since we’ve only read half of his OEG for class, I have posted three more chapters that you may find useful.

If you would like to meet with me to discuss your research project, please send me an email!


Work due April 17:

1) Exercise 1: choose 12, these are words with Latin roots, but the roots are not evident from their spelling–in order to find the Latin roots for each, you will need to look the words up in the OED).

Exercise 2: all, in order to explain the difference between these two words, you will need to read the etymologies of the words.

Exercise 3: choose 12.

2) Thursday etymology!

3) If you have topic that you would like to investigate for your final paper, please email me the topic by 11.59 pm tonight.

4) The quiz on Tuesday will be the same format as the last quiz. The new material will be the suffixes from lessons 4 and 5.


Work due April 15:

Dear etymology students,

Here is your work for Tuesday:

1) Exercises 1-3, page 14.

2) The quiz will be the same format as the last quiz. The quiz will include the verb stems on pages 2-3 and 7, all of the prefixes from 3, as well as the suffixes from the sheet handed out on Tuesday (eel handout 1; you are not responsible for the suffixes from lesson 4 that we went over today, Thursday, April 10). The words on the quiz will be a mixture of words that you have encountered in your homework, and words consisting of the roots, prefixes, suffixes that you have learned and should be able to recognize, such as description.

3) You will receive information about your final paper on Tuesday.

4) Your project grade will be posted to moodle by the end of the day tomorrow. Feedback will be sent by email by the end of the day tomorrow.

Have a great weekend!



hw due Thursday, April 10:

Dear etymology students,

Here is the work due on Thursday…

1) Please complete the following exercises:

exercise 3, page 8 (you will need to look up the etymologies of some of these words in order to identify the synonyms in the chart; there are synonyms for each column, i.e. imitate in the first column, ape in the second column, mimic in the third column, and copy in the fourth column).

exercise 4, page 8.

exercise 3, page 12.

2) Thursday etymology!



hw for Thursday:

Dear etymology students,

Here is the work that is due on Thursday:

1) Exercises 1, 2 (page 3): Do not worry about writing out the homework on a separate sheet of paper–you can simply write the answers in the book!

2) Exercises 1, 2 (page 8): Again, you do not need to write out the work on a separate sheet of paper!

3) Geoffrey Hughes, ‘Words of Conquest and Status’, from Words in Time, pages 32-65.

4) In lieu of etymology, please send me a 100-200 words response to the reading. In your response you may discuss what you found most interesting and why, or questions and/or themes raised in the reading. Your 100-200 word will count as a Thursday etymology.

See you all on Thursday!

project info/slides/Latin:

Dear etymology students,

There is no additional homework due on Thursday besides the project.

If you did not hand in an etymology for last Thursday when class was canceled, please email me your etymology. Alternatively, you can hand it in on Thursday.

There is no additional etymology due on Thursday!

I have posted the slides for today’s class under alia. I have made a few adjustments that should clarify some of the confusion concerning the language of velars. You may want to have a look at these (not immediately, but perhaps over the break).

Below you will find the final tasks for this project. They are due on Thursday.

Task 6 (Thursday, March 20): Submit the handout by 8.30 am to me by email (one per group; I will make copies for you). You can submit your handout as a google doc, a word doc, or a PDF. Submit the paper to me by email by 6.59 pm as google doc, a word doc, or a PDF. Make short (10 minutes) visual/interactive presentation of your material to the class. You must also include the handout in your presentation.

If you have not met with me yet and have not scheduled a time to meet with me, please sign up for a time here:

Some things to keep in mind as you begin the final phases of your project:

1) You must use a minimum of one of each of the following as sources for your project/paper:

a) one academic journal article and/or one chapter from a book and/or book

b) one news article/blog

c) one website

2) Only one paper per group needs to be submitted. This paper is due by 6.59 pm on Thursday. You do not need to write a paper with an introduction and a conclusion. However, you must answer each of the questions provided in the information posted on the course website concerning the project. The final questions for the projects concerns the conclusions that are able to make based on your research. You may want to meet as a group to discuss these conclusions before your write something. You can either reference information from question three (what did you learn?) as evidence for your conclusions, or you can provide the evidence for your conclusions in question four.

3) You only have ten minutes to present. In order to allow each group an opportunity to present, I will end your presentation after ten minutes. This means that you may have to limit the number of words that you are able to discuss in your presentation. While you are required to discuss twelve words total, you may find that you are only able to discuss six in your presentation. That’s ok; just be sure to discuss the rest of the words in your paper.

Penultimate-ly, the lowest quiz grade will be dropped. And lastly, you will not have any work due over the break! When we return from the break we will be switching from Greek to Latin roots. This will require a change of pace, as the books that we are using provide fewer exercises.

See you all on Thursday!



Work due March 18:

Dear etymology students,

Your homework for Tuesday and the information concerning Tuesday’s quiz have been posted on the course website.
I have updated the google doc, so, if you had a meeting scheduled with me for last Thursday, please reschedule your meeting for either Tuesday or Thursday of next week.
See you all on Tuesday!

Class canceled (March 13):

Dear etymology students,

I was hoping to make it in for class this morning, but the roads in the area haven’t been plowed and the buses to Middlebury have been canceled, making the trip rather difficult. So, no class!

Even though we are not meeting, I encourage you all to together with your groups to discuss your project. I’ve pasted below the next task, which is due by 11.59 pm on Monday.

There will be a quiz on Tuesday on the roots from chapters 9-13. The format of the quiz will be the same as the last one.

I will be posting the homework for Tuesday on the course website later today. You will receive an email notification when the homework has been posted.

If you scheduled a meeting with me for today, your meeting will be rescheduled for next Thursday. I will update the google doc so that you all who had meetings today can reschedule them. Again, you will be notified by email when this has been updated.

Enjoy your snow day!


Task 5 (Monday, March 17): By 11.59 pm, Monday, March 17 please email six sources that you plan to use for this project. You must use at least one academic journal article/chapter from a book/book, one news article/blog, one website. You must use your skills of source discernment to determine the reliability of sources for your specific field of inquiry. For example, if you are examining the language of neuroscience, then you should not use, unless you are making a specific point that requires a discussion of a word’s meaning in a non-scientific context. However, other fields of inquiry, i.e. those pertaining to popular culture, will require that you consult urban dictionary. As you search for sources, be sure to think more generally about the culture of your specific field of inquiry, and how gender, race, politics, class, and social mobility play a role in shaping how words are used and perceived.



HW due March 13:

Dear etymology students,

Your homework for Thursday has been posted!

Sign up for a time to meet with me here:

Please come to your meeting with  at least one question about the homework or one word from the homework that you would like to discuss.

The slides from today’s class have been posted under alia.

See you all on Thursday!



HW due March 11/quiz/project/conference

Dear etymology students,

Your homework, reading, and the information about the quiz have been posted under ‘homework’ on the course website. The reading that was due today (a brief history of the English language and Proto-Indo-European) was meant to prepare you for Tuesday’s reading. On Tuesday we will begin our discussion of PIE reconstruction.

Information about the project (due March 20) has been posted under ‘assignments’. Please read through the information carefully. Then complete task one, which is due by 11.59 pm on Friday, March 7 (see the box below).

On Friday there is a conference on bilingualism. Click on the link at the end of this paragraph for more information. I encourage you all to go! If you go, please submit by a email up a 200-400 word summary of what you learned from the conference by the beginning of class on Tuesday. You will receive 5 extra points on a quiz. You do not have to attend all of the talks or discussions in order to receive the extra credit. However, you must attend at least one! bilingualism

Have a great weekend!


Task 1 (Friday, March 7): By 11.59 pm on Friday, March 7 please send me a possible field of inquiry (i.e. I want to examine the language of neuroscience, Angel Haze, football, Sean Combs, The Golden Compass, basketball, environmentalism, feminism). Please be as specific as possible.


Quiz posted (send March 4):

Dear etymology students,

Your quiz has been posted under homework on the course website. I have posted the quiz as a word document or a PDF. The quiz is due by email ( by 10.45 am. If you need a pages version of the quiz, please send me an email by 9 am. I will send you the quiz as a pages document. For some reason documents produced in pages cannot be uploaded to the course website.

****Please send me a copy of your quiz a a word or pages document, or as a PDF by 10.45 am. I will send you an email to let you know that I received your quiz by the end of the day today.

Good luck!



quiz information (sent March 1):

Dear etymology students,

I thought I would send out an email to remind you all of the quiz, which will be posted on the course website Tuesday morning by 9 am, and which must be sent to me by email ( by 10.45 Tuesday morning.

The quiz is not open book. You are responsible for knowing the prefixes in the chart on pages 13-14 of lesson 3 (i.e. hypo means ‘under’/‘deficient’) , the suffixes on pages 17-19 of lesson 4 that appear in the charts (i.e. -sis means ‘the act or action of’), and the verb stems and their English meanings that appear in the chart on pages 21-23 of lesson five.

You are not responsible for transliterating any Greek for this quiz. Please consult my previous email, which you can find in your inbox or under ‘announcements’ on the course website for more information about the quiz. You can also find information about the quiz under ‘homework’.

Have a great weekend!



quiz on March 4/homework due March 6:

I have lots of things to note, so I’m going to number my points.

1) I have changed the name of the page ‘readings’ to ‘homework’ on the course website. This means that that the homework and readings will be posted under ‘homework’ instead of ‘readings’.

2) We will not be having class on Tuesday! However, there will be a ‘take home’ quiz on Tuesday. It will be posted under ‘homework’ by 9 am on Tuesday, March 4. It will be posted as a word document. Please complete the quiz by typing in the answers. Then send it to me as a word document or a PDF  by 10.45 on Tuesday, March 4. The quiz will be on lessons 3, 4, 5. I will give you English words with roots from lesson 5, and prefixes and/or suffixes from lessons 3 and 4. You need to identify the prefix and its meaning, the root and its meaning, and the suffix and its meaning.

Here is an example of what the quiz will look like:

1)        anarchy

prefix:                                     English meaning of the prefix:

root:                                        English meaning of the root:

suffix:                                      English meaning of the suffix:

Here is the answer that you would provide:

prefix: an                               English meaning of the prefix: not, without

root: arch                               English meaning of the root: be first, rule

suffix:             y                       English meaning of the suffix: quality,  action, state, disease

Not all words on the quiz will have a prefix or a suffix. However, you will receive credit for leaving it black or writing N/A. In the case of anarchy, the meaning of arch– from which our English word anarchy is derived is ‘rule’, but since this is a quiz on the meanings of roots, suffixes, and prefixes, please provide all meanings of the roots, prefixes and suffixes—not just those that are applicable.

Yes, this means that you need to know the suffixes –sia, -sy, -ia, -y mean ‘quality, action, state, disease’. Learning just one meaning is not enough.

3) If you would like the answers to the following lessons, please send me an email. I will send you the answers.

lesson 3: exercise 8

lesson 5: exercise 4, 5

4) The homework and the reading for next Thursday (a brief history of the English language and Proto-Indo-European) has been posted under ‘homework’.

5) Some of you have asked me how to study for the quizzes. Most students have found flashcards particularly useful. There are lots on flashcard programs online, or you can make your own. Another strategy for studying is to write an English word that contains the root and/or prefix and/or suffix that you are learning. By associating one of these with a word you already know you are more likely to remember the meaning of the Greek root/prefix/suffix. Lastly, the best way to study and prepare for quizzes is to do all of the assigned homework! If you do not do the homework not only will your grades on the quizzes suffer, but you’ll also not enjoy class as much! So, do the homework.

Have a great weekend!



reading/HW due Feb. 20:

Dear etymology students,

Reminder: we will be meeting in Munroe 404 on Thursday!

Your reading and HW for Thursday has been posted under readings. Be sure to read the instructions that I have posted for the exercises before you begin! Your HW for Thursday requires that you play around with the OED and familiarize yourself with the process of searching for a word’s etymology. If you become frustrated by a word, move along to the next word in the HW.

I will be posting the slides from today as well as examples of what your etymology for Thursday should look like on the course website. Once this information has been posted you will receive an email from me.

Keep in mind that the etymology due today does not count toward your grade. If you have completed the assignment incorrectly, you will receive an email from me by the end of the day today.

See you all on Thursday!



location change/readings/quiz for Feb 18:


Dear etymology students,

The location of the class has changed! On Tuesday we will be meeting in Munroe, room 404. Please do not forget! Remind your friends!

Your reading for Tuesday has been posted. There are two readings (chapter 2 of the Oxford Guide to Etymology and the first chapter of Words in Time, which is a discussion of the relationship between words and social change.

There is a quiz on Tuesday. You are responsible for knowing how to transliterate Greek words. The quiz will consist of words from exercise 1, chapter 1 of EEG.

There is no ‘Thursday etymology’ due on Tuesday, but as practice for the actual etymology that is due on Thursday, please complete a practice etymology for Tuesday. This assignment will not count toward your grade. If you are especially excited about your etymology and would be willing to share it with the class, please email it to me by noon on Monday. On Tuesday we’ll be looking at these practice etymologies together.

On the menu of the course website you will see a page called alia (other things in Latin). If you click on this link, you find the slides from today’s class on the origin of the Greek alphabet, some websites concerning Nestor’s cup, a JSTOR article about Nestor’s cup, erotic magic, and curses, and a general reading about words and etymology. If you are new to the discipline you may find this chapter useful.

And don’t forget:


See you all on Tuesday!



work due Feb 13:

Dear etymology students,

For Thursday please complete the following readings/exercises (both can be found on the course website under readings:

OGE chapter 1: pages 1-12 (sections 1.1, 1.2.1, 1.2.2, 1.2.3; do not read 1.2.4), pages 22-33 (sections 1.3.1, 1.3.2, 1.3.3, 1.4)
eeg chapter 1: exercise 1 (all words), exercise 3 (choose 7), exercise 4 (all), exercise 5 (all, when searching for the etymology of words, use the earliest attested meanings for the parts of the word, i.e. the entry after the last <)

***There will be no Thursday comment due on Thursday.

I will not be collecting your homework on Thursday or ever. A portion of each class will be devoted to going over the homework and answering questions about it.

Every email that I send to you will also be posted under announcements on the course website.

Here is a link to the course website: go/etymology

See you all on Thursday!