The Motivating Force: Etymology
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The Motivating Force: Etymology book
Etymology is self-evidently backward-turned. Its premiss is that perfection or truth belong in the past, and that the present represents some form of degeneration, deviation or unholy complication. Back-formation is tightly linked with 'popular' or 'folk' etymology, which eagerly reinterprets words, remotivates them with whatever heave or wrench, so as to explain the present by the past, the here by the there. 'Folk' etymology, for its part, is practised at all levels, from the deconstructionist at the bottom to the person in the street at the top. 'Popular' etymology is the opposite of the mainly high-literary tactic of defamiliarization, or making strange, because it attempts to naturalize the alien. Building on Michel Foucault's enthusiasm, Lecercle states: 'The core of Jean-Pierre Brisset's delirium is not in his reliance on etymology, but in his use of multiple analysis. Etymology, archaeology, nostalgia, regression, psychoanalysis, dowsing are all, among others, variant ways of returning to or discovering sources.