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The Oxford Guide to Etymology [Kindle Edition]

Philip Durkin

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This is an immaculate work in every sense, proudly flying the banners of authority and of hegemony ... a galazy of fascinating examples ... a brilliant, addictive work indispensable for school and academic libraries at all levels, and for all with any interest in words and the enchanted patterns they weave. H. G. A. Hughes, Reference Reviews a very readable, informative, content-packed introduction for the beginner; for the initiated it provides an incentive to ponder the many open questions presented. As such it can be unreservedly recommended. Elmar Seebold, Anglia Our strong expectations of The Oxford Guide to Etymology are fully realized Nicoline van der Sijs, Nederlandse Taalkunde Very much to be welcomed Paul T. Roberge, English Language and Linguistics


This 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.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 848 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 358 Seiten
  • ISBN-Quelle für Seitenzahl: 0199236518
  • Verlag: OUP Oxford; Auflage: Reprint (23. Juli 2009)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B005OQH148
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #360.523 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.5 von 5 Sternen  6 Rezensionen
15 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent textbook 2. Januar 2011
Von Christian Lüer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
An 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.
7 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A fine orientation into the subject 21. Oktober 2011
Von Simon Esposito - Veröffentlicht auf
A clear, rather formal presentation of the science of etymology, which is in many ways like archaeology or landscape history (only of words). The book's strength is its reasonably pain-free presentation of the latest research on the science's theoretical foundations. But any dryness is alleviated through plenty of fascinating (and often delightfully surprising) examples and case studies.

I suppose it may be a little heavyweight when compared to a number of recent books, which are basically just collections of curious word histories (e.g. The Etymologicon). But it shows more of the practical workings of the subject, and does better at helping make the most of the etymological entries in the larger dictionaries. It also fills a need for an accessible introductory guide to methods and practice for someone who wants to actively work in the field. This is especially important, because of all the linguistic sciences this one is the most open to amateur contributions and independent study.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Not a Dictionary 23. April 2013
Von John Kay - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
As a wordsmith, etymology has always been an important topic for me and I have often wondered "how do they know that". Durkin explains in rich detail just how he does it and as a general interest book I shall keep it by me. He writes very well, as one would expect, and the book has value on that account for anyone who wishes to express themselves well. Durkin uses many examples to illustrate the various processes and procedures in word research but this is not an etymological dictionary. It's more of a "How To" book.
1 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Seems to want to serve as a textbook, but it's one of the most dry books on linguistics I've ever read 8. April 2012
Von Christopher Culver - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Philip Durkin's THE OXFORD GUIDE TO ETYMOLOGY is an introduction to this field of linguistics, the tracing of word histories. Durkin is an editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, and in this introduction he draws all of the examples from the history of English. Of course that means drawing in data from Latin, French, Old Norse, etc., but since the words he examines are part of English, any reader can relate to them.

This book is chock-full of information, but it's difficult to see what the audience is. From the initial pages, one might think this is meant as a textbook for students of linguistics or the history of English specifically. However, there are no exercises and the information is not broken up into convenient individual lessons. THE OXFORD GUIDE TO ETYMOLOGY is in fact exceedingly dry, and will prove a daunting read even for those with a linguistics background. I'd recommend it to those who have worked with Hock's challenging but worthy handbook Principles of Historical Linguistics, as Durkin's book complements Hock's book with more detail on this particular aspect of language change.
0 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Textbook for a class 4. Juni 2013
Von JKaika - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Have only gotten through the first few chapters, but a manageable read even for those of us who aren't full-fledged linguists.
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