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The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World (Oxford Linguistics) 1st Edition
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The book is over 700 pages long, but the introduction to Proto-Indo-European itself is quite small, less than a 100 pages really. It's certainly no substitute for a real handbook like Szemerenyi's, Beekes', Fortson's, or (my favourite) Lehmann's. The branches of Indo-European, its phonology and the basics of its morphology, and the debate over the relationship between the disparate languages that are first attested are set out. The authors nicely use Schleier's tale in its progressive versions to show how reconstructions of Proto-Indo-European have been consistently refined. While the view of Proto-Indo-European is generally the same as in introductions from the 1990s, the authors do reconstruct four laryngeals instead of the usual three, and prefer the transcription *h-subscript-x for an unknown laryngeal instead of *H.
The bulk of the book's content concerns the reconstruction of PIE lexicon, with chapters divided along such themes as "Food and Drink", "Speech and Sound", and "Material Culture".Read more ›
The book covers the following main ideas:
(1) Concise introductions to the discovery and composition of the Indo-European language family.
(2) The way the proto-language has been reconstructed.
(3) Its most basic grammar
(4) The interrelationships between the different language groups
(5) The temporal position of the Indo-European languages
(6) Some of the difficulties in reconstructing a proto-language.
(7) Semantic field of the Proto-Indo-European lexicon.
(8) An examination of mythology and possible homelands of the Proto-Indo-Europeans.
For me the most interesting chapters were the last two, as they talked about the mythology and religion and how they can be reconstructed, and the possible homelands of the Proto-Indo Europeans. Its amazing what you can get from the words of a language!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Reads like a "Book of Lists". I don't understand what its intended audience can be: not technical enough for the post-graduate specialist, not enough explanatory and... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Bernard M. Hood
Perhaps it is more a testament to my tastes than the book to say I sat down and over the course of a week or so read straight through it. Read morePublished on September 10, 2011 by Jarrod Brown