Overview and General Sources

Indo-European linguistics is the study of the history and development of the Indo-European language family, and of the reconstruction of its common ancestor language, Proto-Indo-European. The field is the oldest branch of modern linguistics, dating back to around 1820, and originated the comparative method, which is still used in historical linguistics today. Indo-European linguistics is sometimes called Indo-European philology.

Textbooks and Overviews

  • Bopp, F., & Guigniaut, J. (1974). Analytical comparison of the Sanskrit, Greek, Latin and Teutonic languages, shewing the original identity of their grammatical structure. Newly edited, together with a bio-bibliographical account of Bopp by J. D. Guigniaut, an introd. to analytical comparison by F. Techmer and a letter by W. von Humboldt. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
    available online

    Originally published in 1816, this was the first detailed and well-supported work on Indo-European and laid the foundations for the field.

  • Brugmann, K. (1888). Elements of the comparative grammar of the Indo-Germanic languages: A concise exposition of the history of Sanskrit, Old Iranian (Avestic and Old Persian), Old Armenian, Old Greek, Latin, Umbrian-Samnitic, Old Irish, Gothic, Old High German, Lithuanian and Old Bulgarian. New York: Westermann and Co.
    Olin P575.B89 1888a; vol. 3 and 4 available online

    An influential survey of the state of IE linguistics at the turn of the 20th century.

  • Campbell, L. (2013). Historical linguistics: An introduction (3rd ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
    Olin P140.C36 2013

    A textbook on general methods in historical linguistics.

  • Clackson, J. (2007). Indo-European linguistics: An introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Olin P561.C58 2007

    Focuses on method and controversial issues in the field.

  • Fortson, B. W. (2009). Indo-European language and culture: An introduction (2nd ed.). Chichester, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell.
    Olin P561.F67 2009

    An excellent overview of Proto-Indo-European and its developments in the daughter languages.

  • Pedersen, H. (1962). The discovery of language: Linguistic science in the nineteenth century. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
    Olin P75.P37 1962

    Describes the birth and evolution of historical linguistics and IE studies.

Dictionaries and Lexicons

  • BrillOnline Dictionaries: Etymological Dictionaries
    available online

    A set of twelve Indo-European etymological dictionaries that allows you to search across languages.

  • Buck, C. D. (1965). A dictionary of selected synonyms in the principal Indo-European languages: A contribution to the history of ideas. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    Olin P765.B92 1965, in room 501

    Lists groups of terms by semantic category, with commentary on each group.

  • Pokorny, J. (2005). Indogermanisches etymologisches Woerterbuch (5. Aufl.). Tuebingen: Francke.
    Olin P725.P74 2005

    The standard dictionary of Proto-Indo-European.

  • Rix, H., & Kuemmel, M. (2001). LIV, Lexikon der indogermanischen Verben: Die Wurzeln und ihre Primaerstammbildungen (2nd ed.). Wiesbaden: L. Reichert.
    Olin P572.L58x 2001

    A very useful and up-to-date (if sometimes controversial) dictionary of verb roots and stems.

  • Watkins, C. (2000). The American heritage dictionary of Indo-European roots (2nd ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
    Olin reference P615.A43x 2000

    Contains all IE roots that have descendants in English, with details of the intermediate stages.


  • Heidermanns, F. (2005). Bibliographie zur indogermanischen Wortforschung: Wortbildung, Etymologie, Onomasiologie und Lehnwortschichten der alten und modernen indogermanischen Sprachen in systematischen Publikationen ab 1800. Tuebingen: Niemeyer.
    Olin Oversize P615.H45 2005 +

    A huge, but still incomplete, bibliography of studies on word forms and etymology in all IE languages.