Technical information (V 1.3)

How to install ETYMO

New notes added on october 2000

A small new program is available: once a corpus calculation has been made, SORTSTAT.EXE can be used to sort the good and bad evolutions which are then written into two separate files (GOOD.LOG and BAD.LOG). The name of the STAT.LOG file that contains the results from the corpus calculation must be given as the first command line parameter, e.g.


Here are the notes from may 2000

These are the last notes about version 1.2 of the program. Please read also the notes about earlier versions!

The site contains a new program MKCOR which can be used to prepare word-corpora: given a piece of text, the program establishes a list where every word appears just once. Several parameters can be modified (refer to the message displayed by the program).

The version 1.2 itself is the first version that can be considered bug-free with respect to the calculation algorithm.

Here are the notes added on 24 of february 2000

At the present date, you can download the following programs:

I think that by the time, the following programs have become completely obsolete: The program CONDENSE.EXE is new and tries to »get around« an unpleasant bug that exists both in version 1.0 and 1.1 (unfortunately, even after days of debugging I couldn't find that damned bastard...:-)). The bug only appears in large rule-files and only in combination with multiple evolutions. So, the idea was to condense the rule-file by cutting out all the rules that where not used during a corpus calculation hoping that the bug then wouldn't appear any more. By the meantime, I have discovered that this trick doesn't work neither ... :-(

Nonetheless, the program may be useful to clean large rule-files.

The program explains itself when invoked from the DOS-prompt, so that it will not be explained here.


The following information where written on march 1999 but are still valid for the knew version (V 1.1):

The actual version runs in a MS-DOS window (select the "full screen" option) under Windows 95/NT (Note: although the program is executed in the MS-DOS environment, it will not work without Windows 95/NT!). It consists of the following parts:


For compatibility reasons, ETYMO works only in text mode. But even in text mode, there may be compatibility problems since only the modes 0-19 are fully compatible on all graphics adapters. The standard modes provided by a VGA card only offer text modes which can display 80x30 characters (or even less). Since the program calculates many evolution steps, it is not very comfortable to work in the standard VGA-modes because only a few steps can be shown on the screen (in the 80x30 mode for example, only 12 evolution steps can be displayed at once).

A first way offered by ETYMO to get around this problem is what I call the "virtual screen": the program writes its outputs on a "virtual screen" (i.e. it stores it in the memory). Only a part of the virtual screen is visible on the real screen. It is possible to see all the evolution steps by moving the real screen up and down / left and right on the virtual screen.

=> I recommend you to use the virtual screen and the default mode of the program at the beginning.

Another possibility of course, consists in switching to a higher text mode supported by your VGA card. In order to switch correctly to another mode, ETYMO needs 3 informations:

  1. the number (n) of the video mode
  2. the width (w) of the screen (in characters)
  3. the height (h) of the screen (in characters)
These information must be given to the program as command line parameters: ETYMO rulefile /mode=n /width=w /height=h Now, how can you find out which mode is supported by your VGA-card and what width and height it has? There are two ways of doing that:
  1. (...the good one!) You read the technical manuel of your VGA-card. There must be a list that indicates all video modes with the corresponding width and height.
  2. (...the one you can try in case you dont have a technical manual) You can test, if your VGA card supports certain modes by using the program TESTMODE.

TESTMODE is an program that simpy tests different video modes of your VGA-card. When you start it, it asks you to indicate the range of video modes you want to test ("test the following video modes: from: to:"). Choose a range between 0 and 255 (I recommend you to test only 10 at once!) After that, the program does the following:

  1. It switches to the first video mode you indicated.
  2. It tries to determine the width and height of the video mode.
  3. It prints those informations (video mode, width, height) plus some lines on the screen and waits for a key.
  4. When you press a key, it goes on to the next video mode.

Now, what do you have to do when the program switches to the different video modes?

  1. Look if the screen looks good. For example, if there is any "gibberish" on the screen, it is probably a graphics mode (not a text mode) which is not supported by the program.
  2. If the screen looks good, verify (by counting the characters on the screen) if the indicated width and height are correct (see below). If they are, write the mode number and the values for width and height on a paper (if they are not, but the screen looks good, write for width and height the number of characters you counted on the screen (see below)).
  3. Try to find a screen with high values for width and height (the higher, the better!)

=> Important: don't press the keys too quickly! It might be that your monitor needs some seconds to switch to the corresponding mode.

=> ... don't panic if the screen remains black or flickers in some modes. Just continue pressing keys until all modes of the range have been tested. (Well, it's true that sometimes the computer crashes... sorry about that!)

Now, how can you know if the indicated width and height are correct? Actually, there's only one possibility to do that...: count the number of both horizontal and the vertical characters that can be displayed... In order to facilitate this work, the program shows two lines:

|--------|---------|---------|---------|---------| etc.
|       mode = 3
|       columns = 80, rows = 25
Every '-' on the vertical line stands for 5 characters, every '|' on the horizontal line stands for 10 characters.

Once you have found an apropriate text mode, you can start it by entering:

      ETYMO filename /mode=3 /width=80 /height=25

(This starts the program in mode 3, which can display 80x25 characters (this is the default mode))

[Note: You can obtain the same results by entering "/mode=3 /width=80 /height=25" in the menu "options" -> "command line..." of the editor (EEDIT.EXE). See there.]

Unfortunately, it is still possible that the screen mode you choose doesn't work with the program. In this case, simply try another... (I'm really sorry about this inconvenient but it wasn't possible to do this in another way).

Note that it is possible to combine any text mode with the possibilities of the virtual screen (in fact, the virtual screen is always active).


This is an editor that you can use to edit your rule files or to read the log-files created by the program. Start the program by typing "eedit" at the DOS prompt (usually "c:\>" or "c:\etymo\>")). If you want to calculate words you must first load a rule file (use CTRL-F, F10 or the mouse to get into the menu "files", choose "open"). Then, you can start the calculation by selecting "Start calculation..." in the menu "Run" (or simply by pressing CTRL-F9).

[Note: if it is not possible to run ETYMO out of the editor, it's probably because the environment variable COMSPEC of your system is not set properly. Try the following line: SET COMSPEC=C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND.COM <RETURN>. The file must be in the directory "c:\windows". If it is not, find out where it is by typing DIR COMMAND.COM /S <RETURN>. Then enter the line from above but instead of "C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND.COM" use the directory you found with DIR. In the worst case, choose the menu "File" -> "DOS shell" and type "etymo filename" (you must enter the filename yourself - if you start ETYMO out of the editor, the name of the rule file is automatically transferred to the program). After the calculation, get back to the editor by typing "exit".]

The menu "Options" offers you the possibility to enter the command line options to switch to a particular text mode for the calculation as described under "TESTMODE.EXE".


This is the "heart" of the program: it reads the information from the rule catalogue, calculates the evolutions and shows them as a tree. Etymo needs the name of the rule catalogue as first command line parameter. The rest of the parameters are optional and can be one of the following:

/mode=n        n = number of a valid text mode
/width=w       w = width of the screen
/height=h      h = height of the screen
/start=x       x = start time for calculation
/stop=y        y = stop time for calculation
/tree=w        w = width for the representation of the tree
"filename" is the name of the rule file you want to use for the calculation. The order of the parameters is not important. Note that spaces are not allowed ("/mode_=_ 5" is not a correct parameter; it must be "/mode=5"). After running the program, you can press one of the following keys:
'w'          to calculate a word
'c'          to calculate a corpus
'i'          to print some information about the program (need of memory etc.)
'e'          to quit the program
Calculate a word: You can enter a word. You must respect a certain format, explained here. The program then calculates the evolution of this word and shows it on the screen.

Calculate a corpus: Enter a complete filename (i.e. with the extension, e.g. "rules.txt"). The corpus file must have a certain format explained here. The program then calculates each word of the corpus individually and compares the calculated evolution(s) with the correct evolution(s). It counts the number of correct evolutions and writes all these informations into a file "stat.log" (each time you start a corpus calculation, this file is erased, so if you want to use the results later on, make a copy of this file, using a different name).

If you calculate a single word, the computer shows the result on the screen. It can be a single evolution or a tree with different evolutions. You can now "walk" through the screen and get information about each evolution step by using the following keys:

       'u'       to go up 
       'n'       to go down
       'h'       to go left
       'j'       to go right
The program automatically scrolls the screen if necessary.

Once you have calculated an evolution tree, you can press one of the following keys:

       's'       saves a single evolution (one "branch" of the tree)
       'n'       saves the whole tree
Save a single evolution: Note that you must be at the bottom of an evolution branch to choose this function. The program then saves all the steps that led to this evolution (= the direct evolution of this word) in a file RESULTS.TXT, adding the rule and the commentary for each step. Note that older evolutions stored in the file are not deleted. Newer evolutions are simply added to the file. From time to time, you should therefore delete this file.

Save the whole tree: The program saves the actual evolution tree in the file RESULTS.TXT (again, older information in results.txt is not overwritten).

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Last updated: October 2000 Back to main page