Linguistics has long shied away from claiming any link between a language and the culture of its speakers: too much simplistic (even bigoted) chatter about the romance of Italian and the goose-stepping orderliness of German has made serious thinkers wary of the entire subject. But now, acclaimed linguist Guy Deutscher has dared to reopen the issue. Can culture influence language—and vice versa? Can different languages lead their speakers to different thoughts? Could our experience of the world depend on whether our language has a word for "blue"?
Challenging the consensus that the fundaments of language are hard-wired in our genes and thus universal, Deutscher argues that the answer to all these questions is—yes. In thrilling fashion, he takes us from Homer to Darwin, from Yale to the Amazon, from how to name the rainbow to why Russian water—a "she"—becomes a "he" once you dip a tea bag into her, demonstrating that language does in fact reflect culture in ways that are anything but trivial. Audacious, delightful, and field-changing, Through the Language Glass is a classic of intellectual discovery.
These topics are presented in such a way that students can examine the inherent diversity of the communicative systems used in the United States as both a form of cultural enrichment and as the basis for socio-political conflict. The author team outlines the different viewpoints on contemporary issues surrounding language in the US and contextualizes these issues within linguistic facts, to help students think critically and formulate logical discussions. To provide opportunities for further examination and debate, chapters are organized around key misconceptions or questions ("I don't have an accent" or "Immigrants don't want to learn English"), bringing them to the forefront for readers to address directly.
Language and Linguistic Diversity in the US is a fresh and unique take on a widely taught topic. It is ideal for students from a variety of disciplines or with no prior knowledge of the field, and a useful text for introductory courses on language in the US, American English, language variation, language ideology, and sociolinguistics.
Do you wake up feeling rough? Then you’re philogrobolized. Pretending to work? That’s fudgelling, which may lead to rizzling if you feel sleepy after lunch, though by dinner time you will have become a sparkling deipnosophist.
From Mark Forsyth, author of the bestselling The Etymologicon, this is 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.
"Paul Dickson is a national treasure who deserves a wide audience," declared Library Journal. The author of more than 50 books, Dickson has written extensively on language. This expanded edition of War Slang features new material by journalist Ben Lando, Iraq Bureau Chief for Iraq Oil Report and a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal and Time. It serves language lovers and military historians alike by adding an eloquent new dimension to our understanding of war.
Since its debut in The New York World on December 21, 1913, the crossword puzzle has enjoyed a rich and surprisingly lively existence. Alan Connor, a comic writer known for his exploration of all things crossword in The Guardian, covers every twist and turn: from the 1920s, when crosswords were considered a menace to productive society; to World War II, when they were used to recruit code breakers; to their starring role in a 2008 episode of The Simpsons.
He also profiles the colorful characters who make up the interesting and bizarre subculture of crossword constructors and competitive solvers, including Will Shortz, the iconic New York Times puzzle editor who created a crafty crossword that appeared to predict the outcome of a presidential election, and the legions of competitive puzzle solvers who descend on a Connecticut hotel each year in an attempt to be crowned the American puzzle-solving champion.
At a time when the printed word is in decline, Connor marvels at the crossword’s seamless transition onto Kindles and iPads, keeping the puzzle one of America’s favorite pastimes. He also explores the way the human brain processes crosswords versus computers that are largely stumped by clues that require wordplay or a simple grasp of humor.
A fascinating examination of our most beloved linguistic amusement—and filled with tantalizing crosswords and clues embedded in the text—The Crossword Century is sure to attract the attention of the readers who made Word Freak and Just My Type bestsellers.
This is an encyclopedic dictionary of close to 400 important philosophical, literary, and political terms and concepts that defy easy--or any--translation from one language and culture to another. Drawn from more than a dozen languages, terms such as Dasein (German), pravda (Russian), saudade (Portuguese), and stato (Italian) are thoroughly examined in all their cross-linguistic and cross-cultural complexities. Spanning the classical, medieval, early modern, modern, and contemporary periods, these are terms that influence thinking across the humanities. The entries, written by more than 150 distinguished scholars, describe the origins and meanings of each term, the history and context of its usage, its translations into other languages, and its use in notable texts. The dictionary also includes essays on the special characteristics of particular languages--English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
Originally published in French, this one-of-a-kind reference work is now available in English for the first time, with new contributions from Judith Butler, Daniel Heller-Roazen, Ben Kafka, Kevin McLaughlin, Kenneth Reinhard, Stella Sandford, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Jane Tylus, Anthony Vidler, Susan Wolfson, Robert J. C. Young, and many more.The result is an invaluable reference for students, scholars, and general readers interested in the multilingual lives of some of our most influential words and ideas.Covers close to 400 important philosophical, literary, and political terms that defy easy translation between languages and cultures Includes terms from more than a dozen languages Entries written by more than 150 distinguished thinkers Available in English for the first time, with new contributions by Judith Butler, Daniel Heller-Roazen, Ben Kafka, Kevin McLaughlin, Kenneth Reinhard, Stella Sandford, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Jane Tylus, Anthony Vidler, Susan Wolfson, Robert J. C. Young, and many more Contains extensive cross-references and bibliographies An invaluable resource for students and scholars across the humanities
In Qumran Hebrew, Reymond examines the orthography, phonology, and morphology of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Short sections treat specific linguistic phenomena and present a synopsis and critique of previous research. Reymond’s approach emphasizes problems posed by scribal errors and argues that guttural letters had not all “weakened” but instead were “weak” in specific linguistic environments, texts, or dialects. Reymond illustrates that certain phonetic shifts (such as the shift of yodh > aleph and the opposite shift of aleph > yodh) occur in discernible linguistic contexts that suggest this was a real phonetic phenomenon.
Features:Summary and critique of previous research Discussion of the most recently published scrolls Examination of scribal errors, guttural letters, and phonetic shifts
Scholarly yet nontechnical, The Making of English explains in simple terms the relationships between English and other tongues--Greek, Latin, German, Spanish, and French. Topics include the similarities and differences between English and German, characteristics of Old English, and the composition, derivation, and root-creation involved in the process of the making of words. The author also discusses changes in meaning that occur over time, and profiles some historical figures who were influential in shaping the English language.
He says bath, while she says bahth.
You say potayto. I say potahto
-wait a second, no one says potahto. No one's ever said potahto.
From reconstructing Shakespeare's accent to the rise and fall of Received Pronunciation, actor Ben Crystal and his linguist father David travel the world in search of the stories of spoken English.
Everyone has an accent, though many of us think we don't. We all have our likes and dislikes about the way other people speak, and everyone has something to say about 'correct' pronunciation. But how did all these accents come about, and why do people feel so strongly about them? Are regional accents dying out as English becomes a global language? And most importantly of all: what went wrong in Birmingham?
Witty, authoritative and jam-packed full of fascinating facts, You Say Potato is a celebration of the myriad ways in which the English language is spoken - and how our accents, in so many ways, speak louder than words.
Rare Birds of North America provides unparalleled insights into vagrancy and avian migration, and will enrich the birding experience of anyone interested in finding and observing rare birds.Covers 262 species of vagrant birds found in the United States and Canada Features 275 stunning color plates that depict every species Explains patterns of occurrence by region and season Provides an invaluable overview of vagrancy patterns and migration Includes detailed species accounts and cutting-edge identification tips
Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar starts with a brief historical overview and a discussion of the relation between the writing system and the phonology. This is followed by an outline of overall principles of word order and sentence structure. The next sections deal with the main sentence types � nominal predicates, verbal predicates, and numberical expressions, which constitute a special type of quasiverbal predication. The final sections cover such topics as subordinate constitutents of sentences, nondeclarative sentence types, and complex sentences.
The pun is commonly dismissed as the lowest form of wit, and punsters are often unpopular for their obsessive wordplay. But such attitudes are relatively recent developments. In The Pun Also Rises, John Pollack-a former World Pun Champion and presidential speechwriter for Bill Clinton-explains why such wordplay is significant: It both revolutionized language and played a pivotal role in making the modern world possible. Skillfully weaving together stories and evidence from history, brain science, pop culture, literature, anthropology, and humor, The Pun Also Rises is an authoritative yet playful exploration of a practice that is common, in one form or another, to virtually every language on earth.
At once entertaining and educational, this engaging book answers fundamental questions: Just what is a pun, and why do people make them? How did punning impact the development of human language, and how did that drive creativity and progress? And why, after centuries of decline, does the pun still matter?
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In The Violet Hour, Katie Roiphe takes an unexpected and liberating approach to the most unavoidable of subjects. She investigates the last days of six great thinkers, writers, and artists as they come to terms with the reality of approaching death, or what T. S. Eliot called “the evening hour that strives Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea.”
Roiphe draws on her own extraordinary research and access to the family, friends, and caretakers of her subjects. Here is Susan Sontag, the consummate public intellectual, who finds her commitment to rational thinking tested during her third bout with cancer. Roiphe takes us to the hospital room where, after receiving the worst possible diagnosis, seventy-six-year-old John Updike begins writing a poem. She vividly re-creates the fortnight of almost suicidal excess that culminated in Dylan Thomas’s fatal collapse at the Chelsea Hotel. She gives us a bracing portrait of Sigmund Freud fleeing Nazi-occupied Vienna only to continue in his London exile the compulsive cigar smoking that he knows will hasten his decline. And she shows us how Maurice Sendak’s beloved books for children are infused with his lifelong obsession with death, if you know where to look.
The Violet Hour is a book filled with intimate and surprising revelations. In the final acts of each of these creative geniuses are examples of courage, passion, self-delusion, pointless suffering, and superb devotion. There are also moments of sublime insight and understanding where the mind creates its own comfort. As the author writes, “If it’s nearly impossible to capture the approach of death in words, who would have the most hope of doing it?” By bringing these great writers’ final days to urgent, unsentimental life, Katie Roiphe helps us to look boldly in the face of death and be less afraid.
Praise for The Violet Hour
“A beautiful book . . . The intensity of these passages—the depth of research, the acute sensitivity for declarative moments—is deeply beguiling.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Profound, poetic and—yes—comforting.”—People
“Unconventional, engaging . . . [The Violet Hour] is at once scholarly, literary, juicy—and unabashedly personal.”—Los Angeles Times
“Enveloping . . . I read it in bed, at the kitchen table, while walking down the street. . . . ‘What normal person wants to blunder into this hushed and sacred space?’ she asks. But the answer is all of us, and Ms. Roiphe does it with grace.”—Jennifer Senior, The New York Times
“A beautiful and provocative meditation on mortality.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A tender yet penetrating look at the final days . . . Roiphe has always seemed to me a writer to envy. No matter what the occasion, she can be counted on to marry ferocity and erudition in ways that nearly always make her interesting.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Here is a critic in supreme control of her gifts, whose gift to us is the observant vigor that refuses to flinch before the Reaper. . . . She knows that true criticism does not bother with the mollification of delicate sensibilities, only with the intellect as it roils and rollicks through language.”—William Giraldi, The New Republic
From the Hardcover edition.
The story of the world in the last five thousand years is above all the story of its languages. Some shared language is what binds any community together, and makes possible both the living of a common history and the telling of it.
Yet the history of the world’s great languages has rarely been examined. ‘Empires of the Word’ is the first to bring together the tales in all their glorious variety: the amazing innovations – in education, culture and diplomacy – devised by speakers in the Middle East; the uncanny resilience of Chinese throughout twenty centuries of invasions; the progress of Sanskrit from north India to Java and Japan; the struggle that gave birth to the languages of modern Europe; and the global spread of English.
Besides these epic achievements, language failures are equally fascinating: why did Germany get left behind? Why did Egyptian, which had survived foreign takeovers for three millennia, succumb to Mohammed’s Arabic? Why is Dutch unknown in modern Indonesia, given that the Netherlands had ruled the East Indies for as long as the British ruled India?
As this book engagingly reveals, the language history of the world shows eloquently the real characters of peoples; it also shows that the language of the future will, like the languages of the past, be full of surprises.
Acclaimed lexicographer Paul Dickson has compiled the first collection of new words and lexical curiosities originating on Pennsylvania Avenue. Organized chronologically, each entry contains the definition, etymology, and a brief essay placing the word or phrase in its cultural context. From Washington (tin can) and Jefferson (who alone gets credit for some one hundred coinages, including belittle and the expression holding the bag), to Lincoln (relocate) and Teddy Roosevelt (bully pulpit), to Ike (mulligan) and Obama (Snowmageddon), they collectively provide an illuminating tour of more than two centuries of our history.
?Bloviate ... lunatic fringe ... iffy ... military industrial complex ... Anglophobia ... kitchen cabinet ... public relations ... ottoman ... pedicure ... point well taken ... personal shopper ... normalcy
The serene and maternal Mrs. Ramsay, the tragic yet absurd Mr. Ramsay, and their children and assorted guests are on holiday on the Isle of Skye. From the seemingly trivial postponement of a visit to a nearby lighthouse, Woolf constructs a remarkable, moving examination of the complex tensions and allegiances of family life and the conflict between men and women.
From the meatpacking plants that inspired Henry Ford’s first moving assembly line to the "domino theory" that led America into Vietnam to the "bicycle for the mind" that Steve Jobs envisioned as the Macintosh computer, analogies have played a dynamic role in shaping the world around us—and still do today.
Analogies are far more complex than their SAT stereotype and lie at the very core of human cognition and creativity. Once we become aware of this, we start seeing them everywhere—in ads, apps, political debates, legal arguments, logos, and euphemisms, to name just a few. At their very best, analogies inspire new ways of thinking, enable invention, and motivate people to action. Unfortunately, not every analogy that rings true is true. That’s why, at their worst, analogies can deceive, manipulate, or mislead us into disaster. The challenge? Spotting the difference before it’s too late.
Rich with engaging stories, surprising examples, and a practical method to evaluate the truth or effectiveness of any analogy, Shortcut will improve critical thinking, enhance creativity, and offer readers a fresh approach to resolving some of today’s most intractable challenges.
In The Story of English in 100 Words, an entertaining history of the world's most ubiquitous language, David Crystal draws on one hundred words that best illustrate the huge variety of sources, influences and events that have helped to shape our vernacular since the first definitively English word—‘roe'—was written down on the femur of a roe deer in the fifth century. Featuring ancient words (‘loaf'), cutting edge terms that relfect our world (‘twittersphere'), indispensible words that shape our tongue (‘and', ‘what'), fanciful words (‘fopdoodle') and even obscene expressions (the "c word"...), David Crystal takes readers on a tour of the winding byways of our language via the rude, the obscure and the downright surprising.
(This book has not been prepared, endorsed, or licensed by any person or entity that created, published, or produced the Harry Potter books or related properties.)
In the years leading up to 1606, Shakespeare’s great productivity had ebbed. But that year, at age forty-two, he found his footing again, finishing a play he had begun the previous autumn—King Lear—then writing two other great tragedies, Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra.
It was a memorable year in England as well—a terrorist plot conceived by a small group of Catholic gentry had been uncovered at the last hour. The foiled Gunpowder Plot would have blown up the king and royal family along with the nation’s political and religious leadership. The aborted plot renewed anti-Catholic sentiment and laid bare divisions in the kingdom.
It was against this background that Shakespeare finished Lear, a play about a divided kingdom, then wrote a tragedy that turned on the murder of a Scottish king, Macbeth. He ended this astonishing year with a third masterpiece no less steeped in current events and concerns: Antony and Cleopatra.
“Exciting and sometimes revelatory, in The Year of Lear, James Shapiro takes a closer look at the political and social turmoil that contributed to the creation of three supreme masterpieces” (The Washington Post). He places them in the context of their times, while also allowing us greater insight into how Shakespeare was personally touched by such events as a terrible outbreak of plague and growing religious divisions. “His great gift is to make the plays seem at once more comprehensible and more staggering” (The New York Review of Books). For anyone interested in Shakespeare, this is an indispensable book.
“The arrival of a significant young nonfiction writer . . . A measured yet bravura performance.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times
James Joyce’s big blue book, Ulysses, ushered in the modernist era and changed the novel for all time. But the genius of Ulysses was also its danger: it omitted absolutely nothing. Joyce, along with some of the most important publishers and writers of his era, had to fight for years to win the freedom to publish it. The Most Dangerous Book tells the remarkable story surrounding Ulysses, from the first stirrings of Joyce’s inspiration in 1904 to the book’s landmark federal obscenity trial in 1933. Written for ardent Joyceans as well as novices who want to get to the heart of the greatest novel of the twentieth century, The Most Dangerous Book is a gripping examination of how the world came to say Yes to Ulysses.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
CliffsNotes on Frankenstein digs into Dr. Victor Frankenstein's scientific creation, a "hideous and gigantic" monster that the good doctor tries to defeat throughout most of the novel.
Following the story of an obsessive man whose determination to create a new race of humans produces monstrous results, this study guide provides summaries and critical commentaries for each part within the novel. Other features that help you figure out this important work includePersonal background on the author, including career highlightsIntroduction to and synopsis of the bookIn-depth analyses of the principal charactersCritical essays on the book's themes, plots, and moreReview section that features interactive questions and suggested essay topicsResource Center with books, films and other recordings, and websites that can help round out your knowledge
Classic literature or modern-day treasure—you'll understand it all with expert information and insight from CliffsNotes study guides.
“How lucky the young poet who discovers this wisest and most lighthearted of manuals.”—James Merrill
“Marvelously comprehensive, clarifying and useful, and a delight to read.”—John Reardon, Los Angeles Times Book Review
“A virtuoso performance and a mandatory text for poetry readers and practioners alike.”—ALA Booklist
Even if you've never read the novels and have only seen the films, you know that the world of Middle-earth is a complicated one. Tolkien took great care in representing this world, from creating new languages to including very particular cultural details that add to the richness of the world's fabric. Many other books have been written about Tolkien and his works, but none have come close to providing the kind of reference needed to comprehend the world of Middle-earth. That's what veteran Dummies author and unabashed Tolkien fan Greg Harvey attempts to do in The Origins of Tolkien's Middle-earth For Dummies.
As the author says in his introduction to the book, this is not an encyclopedia or quick guide to all the diverse beings, languages, and history that make up Tolkien's Middle-earth. Nor is it a set of plot outlines for the novels. Rather, what you'll find in The Origins of Tolkien's Middle-earth For Dummies is a basic guide to some of the possible linguistic and mythological origins of Middle-earth, plus a rudimentary analysis of its many themes and lessons for our world. This book can help enrich your reading (or re-reading) of Tolkien's novels, and it will challenge you to think about the themes inherent in Tolkien's Middle-earth and their implications in your own life.
Here's just a sampling of the topics you'll find covered in The Origins of Tolkien's Middle-earth For Dummies:Exploring the main themes in Tolkien's works, including immortality and death; the heroic quest; love; fate and free will; and faith and redemption Investigating the diverse lands of Middle-earth – including the Shire, Gondor, and Mordor – and their significance Examining the different cultures of Middle-earth, such as Hobbits, Elves, Men, and those wily Wizards Touring the history of Middle-earth Understanding Tolkien's creation of new languages to enrich the story of Middle-earth Top Ten lists on the battles in the War of the Ring, online resources, and the ways the films differ from the novels
So, whether you're reading Tolkien's novels or watching the films for the first time, or you've been a fan for many years and are looking for a new take on Tolkien's works, The Origins of Tolkien's Middle-earth For Dummies can help you enhance your reading or viewing experience for years to come.
In CliffsNotes on The Picture of Dorian Gray, you explore Oscar Wilde’s great works about narcissism, rife with symbolism and classic themes. Here, you meet Dorian Gray and discover his secret pact with the devil to stay young and handsome, and the subsequent destruction of his soul.
This study guide carefully walks you through Dorian’s story by providing summaries and critical analyses of each chapter of the novel. You'll also explore the life and background of the author, Oscar Wilde, and gain insight into how he came to write this novel. Other features that help you study includeA list of charactersGlossaries to define new and unfamiliar termsCritical essays about Oscar Wilde’s views and lifeA review section that tests your knowledgeA list of online resources for more study
Classic literature or modern-day treasure—you'll understand it all with expert information and insight from CliffsNotes study guides.