Article published In:Revue Romane
Vol. 46:1 (2011) ► pp.89–104
It is generally well-accepted that, in every language, a significant amount of unknown etymologies can be explained by the means of “echoism”, which states that a historically unexplained word can be of onomatopoeic origins.
This paper objects to the theory in general, taking the particular case of French to illustrate its drifts. It aims at demonstrating that most onomatopeic or “expressive” related etymologies are speculative, unattested and based upon very thin argumentation. It proposes other ways to undertake the search for etymologies of French words.
Article language: French