The Oxford Guide to Etymology (Oxford Linguistics) Review

The Oxford Guide to Etymology (Oxford Linguistics)
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The Oxford Guide to Etymology (Oxford Linguistics) ReviewAn excellent and comprehensive book. This book is for anyone who wants to know what etymology is all about, how it works and what problems it faces. If you ever browsed an etymological dictionary or looked at the brief etymologies in a regular dictionary and wondered, "How did they come up with this?", then you should read this book.
The writing is very accessible and readable. If only most other language scholars wrote like this.
The book really expects no prior knowledge, but it would help if the reader is familiar with the basics of grammar and knows a foreign language.
One of the best points of the book: it discredits the common misconception that etymology is about finding the "true" or "original" meaning of a word. There is no such thing, since language changes all the time, and always did so. For a reader who is not familiar with the history of the English language, it can be quite fascinating to see how dramatically it changed.The Oxford Guide to Etymology (Oxford Linguistics) OverviewThis practical introduction to word history investigates every aspect of where words come from and how they change. Philip Durkin, chief etymologist of the Oxford English Dictionary, shows how different types of evidence can shed light on the myriad ways in which words change in form and meaning. He considers how such changes can be part of wider linguistic processes, or be influenced by a complex mixture of social and cultural factors. He illustrates every point with a wide range of fascinating examples. Dr. Durkin investigates folk etymology and other changes which words undergo in everyday use. He shows how language families are established, how words in different languages can have a common ancester, and the ways in which the latter can be distinguished from words introduced through language contact. He examines the etymologies of the names of people and places. His focus is on English but he draws many examples from languages such as French, German, and Latin which cast light on the pre-histories of English words. The Oxford Guide to Etymology is reliable, readable, instructive, and enjoyable. Everyone interested in the history of words will value this account of an endlessly fascinating subject.

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