Wörter und Sachen

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Wörter und Sachen (German for words and things) was a philological movement of the early 20th Century, based largely in Germany and Austria.

Its proponents believed that the etymology of words should be studied in close association with (in fact, in parallel with) the study of the artefacts and cultural concepts which those words had denoted. This process would, it was argued, enable researchers to study linguistic data more effectively.

Many of the principles and theories of the Wörter und Sachen movement have since been incorporated into modern historical linguistics; for example, the practice of cross-referencing with archaeological data.

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