The "Etymological Dictionary of Old High German" ("Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Althochdeutschen", EWA) is a project of the Saxon Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Leipzig. It is headed by Professor Dr. R. Lühr as a full member of the Saxon Academy. The project is based at the Chair for Indo-European Studies at Friedrich Schiller University in Jena.
The EWA was founded in 1978 by Albert Larry Lloyd and Otto Springer, linguists at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1987 the current project manager, Prof. Lühr, was invited to work at the EWA. Since 1998 she has the project lead. After funding from the German Research Foundation, the Saxon Academy of Sciences in Leipzig integrated the EWA into its program in 2003.
The aim of the EWA is to give an etymological view on every Old High German word occurring in literary sources and glosses from the period of about 750 to 1150 AD. In individual cases, evidence from later sources is added.
Interested parties can find information about the Old High German vocabulary in the EWA, which sheds light on language change and language contact phenomena. The etymological explanations given here can be transferred to etymological materials in other languages. The typology of the lexicon becomes clear in its historical dimension. The conceptual change reflected in language change also allows the classification of temporary material and ideological terms in specific cultural stages and thus a connection to cultural-historical sciences including archaeology. The comparative language approach makes it possible to extrapolate form-content assignments well into prehistoric times.
With its comprehensive etymological description, the EWA is a tool for linguistic-historical research, including those about the vocabulary of modern dialects and other old Germanic and Indo-European languages, even for those for which there are no or only outdated dictionaries of origin.