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Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction (Blackwell Textbooks in Linguistics) Paperback – 29 Jul 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 568 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 2nd Edition edition (29 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405188960
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405188968
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 2.7 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 101,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

Praise for the Previous Edition:

"Superb [Fortson′s] short general discussions of the histories and ecologies of the individual languages are the best I have ever read." (Recensiones – Salesianum, 2008)

"I would like to conclude by stressing that this is an excellent textbook. I have taught from it, and the students in my class not only learned a great deal from it, they also seemed to enjoy the book almost as much as I did." (Bryn Mawr Classical Review)

"Finally, there is a reliable, engaging and accessible presentation of the communis opinio. And there are even exercises! Fortson has produced an excellent book that fulfills its goals admirably. I hope it will inspire a renaissance of Indo–European linguistics in English speaking countries." (Journal of the American Oriental Society)

Review

"Ben Fortson′s book is the best existing introduction to Indo–European linguistics: up–to–date and comprehensive, accessible without being oversimplified. Students and interested laypersons will find it indispensable."
Don Ringe, University of Pennsylvania

"Fortson s Introduction continues to be the textbook of choice for introductory Indo–European. In its presentation of both fact and theory, it is a marvel of accuracy, completeness, and sound judgment."
Brent Vine, UCLA

"The perfect book for an introductory Indo–European course, lively and engaging throughout, yet detailed, accurate, and authoritative. The hands–on exercises at the end of each chapter are a unique and valuable feature."
Jay Jasanoff, Harvard University

"This is an excellent introduction to Proto–Indo–European and its study. Both the chapters on various aspects of PIE grammar and those describing the various Indo–European branches are masterly précis of their subjects. As a Tocharianist I m pleased to see that all branches of Indo–European are given the same thoughtful, substantial treatment. Both novices and the experienced Indo–Europeanists will read this book with profit; more than one of the latter group will wish he had written himself."
Douglas Q. Adams, University of Idaho


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kertimmas on 28 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Ben Fortsons book is the best existing introduction to Indo-European linguistics: up-to-date and comprehensive, accessible without being oversimplified. Students and interested laypersons will find it indispensable."
Don Ringe, University of Pennsylvania

There's nothing else to say guys !!! 5 stars are not enough !!! I agree 100% with Don Ringe on this book. I will compare it with the other great book about IE linguistics: "The Oxford Introduction to PIE and the PIE world" by JP Mallory & DQ Adams. I bought this last one 2 years ago and have been using it ever since. Mallory & Adams provide much more PIE roots than Fortson, but they don't explain everything step by step. Fortson is doing just that. He takes you from ground zero and teaches you how to move at home within IE linguistics by yourself !!! It provides you with the necessary tools needed to move in IE linguistics, that is why I highly recommend it to anyone interested in this scientific field.

Before reading Fortson, I had a vague & empirical understanding of concepts like the root-ablaut and the laryngeals. After reading Fortson these concepts became simple, mechanical procedures composed by banal steps.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Simon Esposito on 1 July 2012
Format: Paperback
Much improved in its second edition, this is now the best introduction and companion to Indo-European comparative linguistics going, and the one to get if you only want to own ONE book as a key to the subject. I find it better and better as I've used it over a couple of years.

The format is a breakthrough, combining the phonological and grammatical overview of (reconstructed) Proto-Indo-European with a truly detailed panorama of the descendent languages. Rather than a paragraph or two, which is usually all that other handbooks offer, each language group is treated in such detail (including original texts) that you can use this book as a starting-point for serious study - including otherwise very inaccessible and forbidding, though important, languages such as Hittite. If you can't devote the time to learn Sanskrit, for example, the chapter in this book can at least give you a real grounding in its structure. It's more than just a bluffer's guide.

The description of Proto-Indo-European is clear and effective as an introduction, and passes the greatest test of clarity in being able to explain the laryngeal theory. For the first time I was able to understand it fully, and was convinced of its necessity. It turns out that it actually simplifies so much in the traditional, over-elaborate accounts of the Proto-Indo-European vowel system. It is also founded on (and exhibits really well) the soundest principles of the comparative method. (For a sceptical view of laryngeals, however, try Szemerenyi's
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kaj Rosling on 28 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback
I got this book as a Christmas gift and was completely absorbed by it during Christmas. It is primarily an introduction to the linguistics of Indo-European (IE) languages. Proto-IE is most carefully described but also the daughter languages get much room, particularly English. Proto-IE culture and history is also related in some detail; the history of the daughter languages is treated more superficially, possibly due to lack of scientific results. The book is very well written in beautiful English with perfect understanding of its intended reader: the interested layman (with some general education in linguistics). The intention is to transmit knowledge that is uncontroversial among specialists, but a few deviating opinions are also mentioned. A most readable work - I only regret the sparse information on the history of many of the daughter languages. A useful complement for the very historically interested - although somewhat seasoned, I guess - may be In Search of the Indo-Europeans: Language, Archaeology and Myth.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By jdl on 1 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
Mr. Fortson's book is the most readable and accessible account of this complex material that I have yet seen. I recommend it to anyone interested in language generally, and in the history of IE languages particularly.

H.D.Lepine
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