Montag, 4. Januar 2016

Note on Liberman's Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology

Shortly before the New Year I finished reading Anatoly Liberman's "An Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology". This is a copy of my "review" at Goodreads - it's actually more a shot note:
The Lemmata in this dictionary are presented as examples for a detailed analytic dictionary of English etymology. This works very well for the examples, as they are about words with disputed or unclear etymologies. But a printed dictionary based on this format, containing all lemmata included in the existing etymological dictionaries of English, would go into tens of thousands of pages, so I'd be surprised if any publisher would embark on such an endeavor. Maybe something like this could be realized as an Internet resource.

It is also interesting to see the history of proposed etymologies. But I doubt it is necessary to include contemporary proposals by crackpots like Makovskij – if stuff like that is included, where to stop?

Even if the dictionary project never comes to pass, the book is valuable as a collection of etymologies on which there is no current consensus or for which Liberman challenges the consensus.

Additional note: Goodreads commenter Chris alerted me to this recent article on Liberman, which I gladly share here.