On the Latin Language Stack Exchange (which is in private beta right now), I wish to create a tag for question asking for how we come to know certain facts about the Latin language, for example:

I am looking for a concise English name for this tag. It can be a word of any class or a short phrase.

So far I considered and rejected

  • how-do-we-know – This is what I named the tag for now, but I consider it rather unelegant for a tag name.

  • epistemology – This on a different level as it is about how we acquire knowledge in general, not about how we acquired a specific piece of knowledge.

  • research – This implies that the knowledge is acquired by a targetted endeavour which does not need to be the case. Also, the word is not well suited for a tag name as it may also apply to research about the Latin language in general.

When answering, please consider whether your suggestion can be interpreted otherwise when used as a tag on a language Stack Exchange (such as this one).

  • knowledge-acquisition.
    – Dan Bron
    Mar 5, 2016 at 17:38
  • How we come to know certain facts about the Latin language — this sounds most like methodology? But it seems the conexion between those two questions is mainly that you know a certain thing about x, but not another thing, and you'd like to know more about the latter. Do you really think people are going to use tags to search for questions like that? Mar 5, 2016 at 17:42
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    @DanBron: ...also known as question. Mar 5, 2016 at 17:49
  • 1
    It's difficult for me to see how the two questions are related. I have the context of your question, but as @Cerberus comments, I honestly think I would not have that connection on my own. That's not to say that the "About" page of your site couldn't explain this "How-do-we-know" line of questioning.
    – tylerharms
    Mar 5, 2016 at 19:18
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    How do we know if Romans wore wigs? How do we know the word for wig in Italian was derived from French? How do we know how it was pronounced in Latin? How do we know...? etc. They may all begin with "How do we know..." but the question themselves are quite different. Tags: 1. History 2. Etymology 3. pronunciation etc.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Mar 5, 2016 at 20:35

4 Answers 4


Perhaps evidential-basis would work?


You could shorten your first suggestion to: how-we-know.

I like this because it's clear what the tag means and it doesn't use any fancy words.


How about philology?

According to Wikipedia

Philology is the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary criticism, history, and linguistics.[1] It is more commonly defined as the study of literary texts and written records, the establishment of their authenticity and their original form, and the determination of their meaning.

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    Given the context, that would be far too broad. As a tag, it would apply to almost every question on that site.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Mar 5, 2016 at 18:54
  • @Wrzlprmft- Fine. but I think that's an exaggeration. I see many questions on the front page of the Area 51 Proposal site that don't seem to be about philology.
    – Jim
    Mar 5, 2016 at 19:05


Oops, you're asking on English Language & Usage.

Actually, I think how-do-we-know is fine. Yes, it's a little inelegant, but it's very clear, it's the first phrase people are likely to think of when seeing if there's a tag for that concept, and it's actually packed with meaning. In English, "how do we know?" carries at least a grain of skepticism: maybe we don't know. This makes the tag intriguing: by reading questions with this tag, you know you're diving into scholarly doubts and controversies.

I think the piercing clarity and plainness of how-do-we-know actually make it elegant in its own inelegant way.

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