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Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare

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Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

When James Murray compiled the OED in the 19th century, he used a small army of volunteers--and thousands upon thousands of paper slips--to track down the English language. Today, linguists use massive computer power--including the world's largest language databank, the Oxford Corpus, which contains more than two billion words--to determine for the first time definitively how the English language is used.

From evidence contained in the gargantuan Oxford Corpus, Jeremy Butterfield here uncovers a wealth of fascinating facts about the English language. Where does our vocabulary come from? How do word meanings change? How is our language really being used? This entertaining book has the up-to-date and authoritative answers to all the key questions about our language. Butterfield takes a thorough look at the English language and exposes its peculiarities and penchants, its development and difficulties, revealing exactly how it operates. We learn, for instance, that we use language in chunks of words--as one linguist put it, "we know words by the company that they keep." For instance, the word quintessentially is joined half the time with a nationality--something is "quintessentially American" or "quintessentially British." Using such observations, Butterfield explains how dictionary makers decide which words to include, how they find definitions, and how the Corpus influences the process.

Covering all areas of English, from spelling and idioms to the future of English, and with entertaining examples and useful charts throughout, this compelling and lively book will delight word lovers everywhere.

About the Author

Jeremy Butterfield has commissioned, compiled, and edited many major English and foreign-language dictionaries, and is a regular contributor to radio and TV discussions about questions of language use. He edited the Oxford A-Z of English Usage (2007).

Product Details

ISBN:
9780199574094
Author:
Butterfield, Jeremy
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Author:
null, Jeremy
Subject:
Linguistics
Subject:
Etymology
Subject:
General
Subject:
English language -- Etymology.
Subject:
English language -- Usage.
Subject:
Linguistics - Etymology
Subject:
General Reference
Subject:
Reference
Subject:
Reference-Etymology
Publication Date:
20100131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Some tables and charts
Pages:
192
Dimensions:
7.52x5.26x.57 in. .43 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Linguistics » English Linguistics and Dialects
History and Social Science » Linguistics » General
Reference » Etymology
Reference » General

Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare New Trade Paper
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Product details 192 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780199574094 Reviews:
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