Call for paper

This international conference, to be held in Thessaloniki in November 2021 aims to attract researchers, mainly philologists, linguists and philosophers interested in ancient practices of etymologizing in Ancient Greek and Byzantine literature. It is promoted by the International Association ETYGRAM ( devoted to the study of indigenous (or “emic”) ancient Greek etymologies and follows two editions in 2016 and 2018. The ancient Greek conception of etymology is fundamentally different from our modern one and has a much broader meaning. To start with, it allows a rather exceptional plasticity (see, e.g., Plato’s Cratylus) as far as semantic paronomasia is concerned. As ancient scholars understood it, etymology is chiefly a dynamic process aiming at suggesting semantic correlations between words based on phonetic similarities, with a momentous heuristic power. This intellectual game, a very serious one at that, deserves to be investigated since it is neither scientific in character (as modern linguists would describe it), nor labellable as “folk” etymology. It is rather a cultural construction, which is both an art of punning and an attempt to uncover deep semantic motivations.

The organizers welcome proposals (in French, English, Greek, German, Spanish or Italian), taking especially into account the following parameters:

  1. The technical aspects of ancient Greek etymology.
  2. Etymology and neologisms in scientific contexts.
  3. Etymology in pedagogical practices.
  4. Etymological practices in the scholia and commentaries of Late Antiquity and Byzantium.

Conference papers will be 30 minutes, with 15 minutes for discussion.  Interested scholars from all academic levels are invited to send an abstract of no more than 500 words to and by March 10, 2021. Participants will be notified in April 10, 2021. Accepted papers will be presented on an equal footing with invited speakers. Accommodation and meal expenses will be covered by the organization.