From a Dialect Dictionary to an Etymological One

By November 17, 2016,
Page 201-210
Author Vilja Oja, Iris Metsmägi
Title From a Dialect Dictionary to an Etymological One
Abstract Typically, loanwords from different sources are presented in different entries of a dialect dictionary, but the etymologies of the dialect words are often obscure. An etymologist, on the other hand, has to consider the phonetic shape and developments of a stem, its areal distribution and meanings in dialects to find out the etymology. What are the cooperative prospects of etymologists and dialectologists? The paper compares the presentation of dialect words in two dictionaries currently compiled on the web, namely, in the Estonian dialect dictionary and in the Estonian etymological dictionary. Despite the different specifics of the two dictionaries a number of similar problems have cropped up. Also, comparisons of the material have yielded essential information enabling solutions for both sides. Across dialects, a loanword often displays numerous phonetic variants, while a variant may easily sound untypical of the concrete dialect. The possible donor can be traced considering the occurrence of the dialect word in the traditional area of loanwords of a certain origin and the semantic relationship of the word with the presumed donor language. Cooperation between etymologists and dialectologists has contributed a lot to making a distinction between homonymy and polysemy, to identification of folk etymologies (words as well as semantic nuances), to distinguishing between separate loanwords and derivatives of the same stem, etc. A shared electronic environment enables bilateral specification of the linguistic material, if necessary.
Session The Dictionary-Making Process
Keywords dialect vocabulary, etymology, homonymy, polysemy, semantic change, Estonian
author={Vilja Oja and Iris Metsmägi},
title={From a Dialect Dictionary to an Etymological One},
booktitle={Proceedings of the 16th EURALEX International Congress},
address={Bolzano, Italy},
editor={Abel, Andrea and Vettori, Chiara and Ralli, Natascia},
publisher={EURAC research},