Synopses & Reviews
The author of Reading the OED presents an eye-opening look at language mistakes” and how they came to be accepted as corrector not.
English is a glorious mess of a language, cobbled together from a wide variety of sources and syntaxes, and changing over time with popular usage. Many of the words and usages we embrace as standard and correct today were at first considered slang, impolite, or just plain wrong.
Whether you consider yourself a stickler, a nitpicker, or a rule-breaker in the know, Bad English is sure to enlighten, enrage, and perhaps even inspire. Filled with historic and contemporary examples, the book chronicles the long and entertaining history of language mistakes, and features some of our most common words and phrases, including:
Lively, surprising, funny, and delightfully readable, this is a book that will settle arguments among word loversand its sure to start a few, too.
Do you know why…
…a mortgage is literally a death pledge? …why guns have girls’ names? …why salt is related to soldier?
You’re about to find out…
The Etymologicon (e-t?-‘mä-lä-ji-kän) is:
*Witty (wi-te\): Full of clever humor*Erudite (er-?-dit): Showing knowledge*Ribald (ri-b?ld): Crude, offensive
The Etymologicon is a completely unauthorized guide to the strange underpinnings of the English language. It explains: how you get from “gruntled” to “disgruntled”; why you are absolutely right to believe that your meager salary barely covers “money for salt”; how the biggest chain of coffee shops in the world (hint: Seattle) connects to whaling in Nantucket; and what precisely the Rolling Stones have to do with gardening.
Do you wake up feeling rough? Then youre philogrobolized.
Find yourself pretending to work? Thats fudgelling.
And this could lead to rizzling, if you feel sleepy after lunch. Though you are sure to become a sparkling deipnosopbist by dinner. Just dont get too vinomadefied; a drunk dinner companion is never appreciated.
The Horologicon (or book of hours) contains the most extraordinary words in the English language, arranged according to what hour of the day you might need them. From Mark Forsyth, the author of the #1 international bestseller, The Etymologicon, comes a book of weird words for familiar situations. From ante-jentacular to snudge by way of quafftide and wamblecropt, at last you can say, with utter accuracy, exactly what you mean.
From classic poetry to pop lyrics, from Charles Dickens to Dolly Parton, even from Jesus to James Bond, Mark Forsyth explains the secrets that make a phrasesuch as O Captain! My Captain!” or To be or not to be”memorable.
In his inimitably entertaining and wonderfully witty style, he takes apart famous phrases and shows how you too can write like Shakespeare or quip like Oscar Wilde. Whether youre aiming to achieve literary immortality or just hoping to deliver the perfect one-liner, The Elements of Eloquence proves that you dont need to have anything important to sayyou simply need to say it well.
In an age unhealthily obsessed with the power of substance, this is a book that highlights the importance of style.
About the Author
Ammon Shea is the author of Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages, along with Depraved English, Insulting English, and The Phone Book. A dictionary collector, he has worked as a consulting editor of American dictionaries at Oxford University Press. He has also contributed to the On Language” column in Sundays New York Times and has reviewed language books for the New York Times Book Review. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.