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Blooming English: Observations on the Roots, Cultivation and Hybrids of the English Languageby Kate Burridge
Synopses & Reviews
English is the most creative, changeable and imaginative of languages. Some words are invented to meet temporary needs and are quickly discarded; others carry meanings hundreds of years old. Language fascinates us, and we spend a lot of time playing with it, concocting everything from puns, riddles and secret languages to wonderful prose and poetry. We also worry about it a great deal, looking up and checking words in dictionaries and usage guides, occasionally arguing about definitions. This book celebrates our capacity to play with language, as well as examining the ways we use it: in slang and jargon, swearing, speaking the unspeakable, or concealing unpleasant or inconvenient facts. It is a book for browsing, for finding beguiling snippets about language, history and social customs, and for using as a formidable weapon in word games.
"Unlike Lynne Truss, author of the bestselling Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Australian linguist Burridge sees her role regarding language as more descriptive than prescriptive. But Truss's fans may also enjoy dipping into this look at the ever-morphing English language. Burridge's book developed from a series of short pieces she wrote for her down-under radio show, and it's a delightful guide to the complexities and idiosyncrasies of the English language. The author's own prose is graceful and easygoing as she explains why Eliza Doolittle said 'absobloominlutely' and not 'abbloominsolutely' and how irregularities in a language 'are typically relics of past regularity.' Brief sidebars focus on particular illustrations of her subject, such as the 12th-century appearance of the pronoun 'she' (which prevented English from having a gender-neutral third-person pronoun) and the mystery of the disappearing l (think of 'calm' and 'walk'). Anyone fascinated by the vagaries of English will enjoy taking a stroll in Burridge's blooming linguistic garden." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A fascinating and well-crafted look at the quirks of the English language, past and present.
Burridge takes a fascinating and well-crafted look at the roots, cultivation and hybrids of the English language, past and present.
About the Author
Kate Burridge is Professor of Linguistics at Monash University. She is well known for her broadcasts on ABC Radio's Soundback.
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History and Social Science » Anthropology » Linguistics