Leopardi, 24

There is no more effective means of gaining access to the origins of nations (together with the progress of the human mind and the history of the peoples, matters all faithfully represented in languages), their remotest epochs, their provenance, the spread of mankind, and its distribution throughout the world, in short, the history of the obscurest beginnings of society and its first steps, than through etymologies, which, by going back up from language to language until the first origins of a word, offer the clearest ideas we can hope to have regarding the term’s first relations, thoughts, notions, etc. (607)

Leopardi, Giacomo, and Michael Caesar. Zibaldone. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013.