Kate Burridge is Associate Professor of linguistics at La Trobe University and has a regular segment called Soundbank on ABC Radio.
.. this book is a wonderful easy read that celebrates our capacity to play with language, as well as examining the ways we use it. English is the most creative, changeable and imaginative of languages. We worry about it a great deal, looking up and checking words in dictionaries and usage guides, occasionally arguing about definitions. .. now that doesn’t sound like us at all .. does it ?? .. Kate poses the questions,
- What causes words like slubberdegullion, ugsome and firkytoodling to die?
- How can English have accumulated 2000 expressions top refer to women in a sexually derogatory way?
- How can black once have meant ‘white’?
.. it is a book for browsing, for finding beguiling snippets about language, history and social customs .. with chapters, among others, on Language Change, Meaning Shifts, Bad Language, Colloquial Today Standard English Tomorrow and of course some titillation in Dirty Words and Taboo Language .. and from all this, along the way, one learns, very simply, a whole lot about the history and development of our language ..
WoZ in Aus 06/04/08