Is there a word to describe when a folk etymology eventually becomes encoded in the language either through spelling, metaphors, semantic change or similar effects on corresponding forms?
One example might be Ger Eltern "parents" assumed to be the nominalized comparative of alt "old". Assume: that's bunk, and don't quivel over it, for sake of the argument; The word had been written Ältern eventually to show the allusion, but the word is not easily lexicallized as such, perhaps because a child has no concept of aging, only growing; it remains an independent term and officials rejected a suggestion to introduce the variant spelling, which however implies by ways of having tryed for a lenient spelling reform implies at least that school children do recognize the allusion; vice versa, assume that spelling would manifest the idea causing any evidence to the opposite becoming forgotten; I am of course first and foremost thinking of verbal speech and oral memorisation techniques, but the argument is similar; it does probably matter how the word would change subsequently, but since I'm talking about unknowns, I can't invent a good example, while I'm not aware of spectacular finds--precisely because one rather reads XY interpretation has to be rejected. Instead I'm looking for a word that conferes the idea of influence, confluence, convergence, etc.
Well, if you need something concrete: my first guess for Eltern would be from atta "father" a'ta, _________ > alta; cp Väter, Vorväter "fathers, ancestors", Vorfahren "predecessors", Ahnen "kin, relatives"; or, or, or at least alt derived from Eltern, as if rebracketed from *Hel- "to grow" + *tor-; also cp Erzieher "up-bringer, kinder-garden teacher". I would not call that a neologism.
This seems especially important for slang, that's frequently corrupted, sometimes as phono semantic calque, reinterpretation, mondegreen, malapropism.
What am I trying to prove?