Calvert Watkins

Calvert Watkins (/ˈwɑːtkɪnz/; March 13, 1933 – March 20, 2013) was an American linguist and philologist. He is best known for his book How to Kill a Dragon. He was Professor Emeritus of linguistics and the classics at Harvard University and later went to serve as the professor-in-residence at UCLA.[1]

His doctoral dissertation, Indo-European Origins of the Celtic Verb I. The Sigmatic Aorist (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1962), which deeply reflected the structuralist approach of Jerzy Kuryłowicz, opened a fresh era of creative work in Celtic comparative linguistics and the study of the verbal system of Indo-European languages.

Watkins, in a sense, completed his contribution to this area with his Indogermanische Grammatik III/1: Geschichte der Indogermanischen Verbalflexion (1969). Meanwhile, his work on Indo-European vocabulary and poetics yielded a large number of articles on (among others) Celtic, Anatolian, Greek, Italic and Indo-Iranian material, presented most thoroughly in his book, How to Kill a Dragon: Aspects of Indo-European Poetics (Oxford University Press, 1995).

He contributed his expertise on Indo-European languages to the first edition of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language and edited The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots (ISBN 0-618-08250-6).[1]


  1. 1 2 Reuell, Peter (March 28, 2013). "Calvert Watkins dies at 80". Harvard Gazette. Retrieved 10 May 2013.

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