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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine orientation into the subject, 19 Oct. 2011
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This review is from: The Oxford Guide to Etymology (Oxford Linguistics) (Hardcover)
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 subject'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 Story of English in 100 Words). 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.
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