In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

1 84Reviews Robert K. Barnhart. The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology. New York: H. W. Wilson, 1988. xxvii + 1284 pp. $59.00. The Middle English Dictionary is beginning to compare in scope with the OED, drawing on more than three million citations and stressing a continuing reading program. Any dictionary that uses these data is bound to be a better work. As Robert Barnhart planned his book as a truly new work, which might supersede Klein and Onions's Oxford dictionary, and as the MED was systematically and comprehensively used from the first, one's expectations are raised. When one learns that Clarence Barnhart and Kemp Malone were the inspiration for this five-year long project, and that Clarence's lexicographer son Robert was the editor, one can almost be assured of another accomplishment by the Barnhart family. Etymological dictionaries have enjoyed a long history. One of the earliest Western ones was Menage's Dictionnaire étymologique ou Origines de la langue françoise. There have been four major English ones in the twentieth century. Skeat's 1910 one is the most famous and, though dated and omissive, was reprinted in 1963. Partridge's went into a new American edition in 1977. The works that hold the present stage are Onions's book and Klein's, which was reprinted in 1 986. Both are scholarly, but are more than two decades old. Not only do they lack the newer words, but they have sometimes been superseded because the MED draws on many sources that were unavailable to the OED editors. Yet Onions is still an outstanding work, since it is based on the OED, however dated by the MED and Robert Burchfield's four-volume Supplement to the OED; a new edition is planned. As it is easier for one to write a new book than to revise an earlier edition, Robert Barnhart had a built-in advantage. We will briefly describe his preliminary and back matter, words, dates, and style, with comparisons chiefly to Onions and Klein. The rest of the review will be devoted to other major points and implications raised by his book. Reviews185 The prefatory and introductory matter are of the following length: Onions, 6 pages; Partridge and Barnhart, 8; Klein, 10; and Skeat, 26. Partridge and Onions have no bibliography. Klein has a 2-page one; Skeat, a 12-page one. Barnhart's totals 10 pages, of which 8 are a glossary of literary works cited in the entries. Also, unlike all competitors, Barnhart has a 5-page history of English by Einar Haugen, a leading scholar on borrowing , and it must be remembered that much of the information in an English etymological work must deal with borrowing . Barnhart includes Ralph L. Ward's 4-page essay on ProtoGermanic and Indo-European. While Onions and Klein do not have such an essay, Skeat's 10-page list of Indogermanic roots in some ways compensates for Ward's compact statement. Skeat incorporates those roots into the individual entries, as does Barnhart, who has no separate list of them. Additionally, Skeat has other valuable lists in an Appendix, which though sometimes wrong or omissive today, organize the data in revealing ways. He lists prefixes and suffixes (732-37), homonyms (737-48), doublets (748-51), Indogermanic roots (751-61), and "native" items and borrowings according to source (761-76). The list indicates intermediary sources, as for gypsum, which came from Arabic through Greek and then Latin, though he does not specify the intermediate forms. Barnhart provides this information in the entry for gypsum, as does Skeat, but Skeat's list cites two other ultimately Arabic borrowings that had this identical history. Thereby we know that gypsum was not unique and wonder whether other items may have followed this course. Though Skeat has no "Glossary of Language Names and Linguistic Terms" (Barnhart's is sixteen pages), overall his preliminary and back matter may still be the best in concept and in some details. Our second consideration is the words themselves. Barnhart includes thousands of recent items not included in any other etymological dictionary—ayatollah, FORTRAN, Mace, Telex, etc.—though the high-frequency AIDS and glasnost are missing. Special emphasis is placed...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 184-196
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.