Synopses & Reviews
A book for language lovers, 30 chapters focusing on topics like how the English language have become the lingua franca of the world today spoken by over two billion people; closely monitored by Oxford English Dictionary, it now counts some 60 million words with new ones added every year. How does UK English differ from US English and does this hinder communication between the Brits and Americans? A chapter deals with the verbification phenomenon, another questions the custom of creating acronyms like NIMBY and BAME, familiar to some but not all. Many modern languages contain numerous loanwords from English, Japanese probably tops the list with tens of thousands of words borrowed from English though they are often disguised e.g. fast food is rendered fasutofudo, but it's still English. French shares more than 4,000 words with the same spelling and meaning in English, Italian has not only borrowed from English it has also created hybrids like cliccare (to click) or tutoraggio (tutoring). Turkish rather surprisingly has borrowed many more words from French than English. A number of chapters compares English with other languages as to how people greet each other, how they answer the phone, how they say cheers and drunk, and declare their love for eact other. How are expressions containing numbers differ in different languages. One chapter looks into untranslatable expressions e.g. the Swedish word, m ngata, literally moon street, poetically describes moonlight reflecting off the water, resembling a road made of light. There's a chapter on the gender issue, how are languages in the 21st century adapting to become gender-neutral, dealing with sexists terms like, mankind and spokesman. Diacritics too is dealt with, do we really need all those dots, diaeresis, squiggles and accents? English may have gotten rid of them over the centuries but other languages need them more than ever. The book also looks at the most common names for babies around the world these days and ends with a chapter exploring the difficult concept of love, attempting to find an answer to the difficult question, what is this thing called love?