Etymology , pronounced as “eimolj” , branch of linguistics, that investigates history ,development and origin of words. It was this study that chiefly related the regular relations of sounds in the Indo – European languages and led to the historical investigation of language in the 19 th Century. In the 20 th century, linguistics continued to use etymology to learn how meanings change but they came to consider that the meaning of a form without reference to its history if it is to be understood at all. The term etymology has been replaced by the term derivation for the creation of combinations in a language such as new nouns formed with ending –ness.
Etymology is a branch of linguistics that deals with the origin and development of words and with comparison of similar words, or cognates, in different languages
of the same language group. In its relation to other sub divisions of linguistics, etymology stands closest to phonology: in fact, before the development of phonetic laws, no scientific or systematic means of tracing the derivation of words existed.
In the beginning of 19 th century, European scholars studying Sanskrit noted its resemblance in vocabulary to Latin and Greek. The comparison of vocabularies was extended to other languages and the idea of common origin , an Indo –European parent language was soon established. This in turn, led to the establishment of certain principles concerning the sound changes that affected the form of words in the different languages that is to the formulation of the phonetic laws. In the case of loan words (words borrowed from other languages ) , phonetic law is apparently violated and it frequently happens that a language has two or more words derived from a single word , one being a regular phonetic development ,the other borrowed form.