Fully revised and updated, THE AMERICAN HERITAGE® DICTIONARY OF INDO-EUROPEAN ROOTS remains an indispensable resource for anyone interested in the history of English and its place in the Indo-European language family. More than 13,000 words are traced to their origins in Proto-Indo-European, the prehistoric ancestor of English that was spoken before the advent of writing. In Calvert Watkins’s skilled hands, Proto-Indo-European language and society are rendered as alive and compelling as they must have been six thousand years ago. His introductory essay shows how words in an unrecorded ancient language can be reconstructed and offers a wealth of fascinating information about Proto-Indo-European culture. The dictionary that follows contains nearly 1,350 reconstructed roots, plus two dozen new Language and Culture” notes that explore interesting sidelights to the etymologies presented in many entries.
Perhaps the most distinctive feature of was first published as a separate reference in 1985, and is here updated beyond the analogous appendix of the 2000 fourth edition of the larger dictionary. Typographical innovations now make the entries both more academically rigorous, and clearer to the general readers it targets. Place and personal names, cultural and language notes, and suffixes and prefixes have been added. As previously modern English words are traced back to a reconstructed root of the Indo-European language thought to underlie the languages spoken by over half the world's population. The main entries are alphabetical by Indo-European root; the index lists all the modern English words cited and refers to the root that treats it. A long introductory essay on the language and the people who spoke it, map, a chart of languages descended from Indo- European, and a chart of regular sound correspondences complete the reference. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)