The Oxford Introduction to Proto Indo European and the Proto Indo European World

The Oxford Introduction to Proto Indo European and the Proto Indo European World

The Oxford Introduction to Proto Indo European and the Proto Indo European World

The Oxford Introduction to Proto Indo European and the Proto Indo European World

Synopsis

This book introduces Proto-Indo-European, describes how it was reconstructed from its descendant languages, and shows what it reveals about the people who spoke it between 5,500 and 8,000 years ago. Using related evidence from archaeology and natural history the authors explore the lives, thoughts, passions, culture, society, economy, history, and environment of the Proto-Indo-Europeans. They include chapters on fauna, flora, family and kinship, clothing and textiles, food and drink, space and time, emotions, mythology, and religion, and describe the quest to discover the Proto-Indo-European homeland.

Excerpt

The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and The Proto-Indo-European World fills the need for a relatively concise introduction to the full range of reconstructed vocabulary of the language that gave rise to the world's largest language family. It addresses two levels of readers. The first comprises general readers and students who want to know more about the Indo-Europeans and how they spoke, as well as professionals in disciplines such as archaeology who need to deal with the early Indo-Europeans. The second consists of linguists interested in refining, challenging, or adding to our understanding of Proto-Indo-European.

The book is broadly divided into two parts. The first, aimed principally at the first group of readers, gives concise introductions to: the discovery and composition of the Indo-European language family (chapters 1 and 2); the way the proto-language has been reconstructed (chapter 3); its most basic grammar (chapter 4); the interrelationships between the different language groups (chapter 5); and the temporal position of the IndoEuropean languages (chapter 6). Some of the difficulties involved in reconstructing a proto-language are described in chapter 7.

The second part, aimed at all readers, provides accounts by semantic Weld of the Proto-Indo-European lexicon. Where the evidence suggests that an item may be reconstructed to full Proto-Indo-European antiquity, we provide a summary table giving the reconstructed form, its meaning, and its cognates in English and in the three 'classical' languages of Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit. Our survey of semantic Welds travels first into the natural world of the earth and heavens, fauna, and flora, before moving into the human realms of anatomy, kinship, architecture, clothing, material culture, food and drink, and social organization. It then looks at the more abstract notions of space, time and quantity, before turning to considerations of mind, perception, speech, activity, and finally religion. This organization reflects Carl Darling Buck's in his A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages, and we have indeed aimed to do for Proto-Indo-European something of what Buck did for the individual Indo-European languages.

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