Blooming English

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Blooming English

Post by Wizard of Oz » Sun Apr 06, 2008 1:06 pm

Blooming English: Observations on the roots, cultivation and hybrids of the English language. Kate Burridge, ABC Books. Sydney. (ISBN 0 7333 1027 3)

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’?
.. this is probably not a book for the Kens and Phil Whites and Edwins and Eriks but for us mere mortals .. in talking about euphemisms she highlights how French has been providing us with linguistic fig leaves for centuries. ..

.. 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
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Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

Re: Blooming English

Post by zmjezhd » Sun Apr 06, 2008 3:53 pm

I had the pleasure of hearing Professor Burridge give the closing talk at a technical writing conference in Palm Springs, CA (WriterUA). I later got to speak with her when I joined her and some others on a nocturnal Australian cultural event (i.e., a pub crawl of sorts). She's written a couple of other books, including a sequel Weeds in the Garden of Words: Further Observations on the Tangled History of the English Language and the earlier Euphemism and Dysphemism: Language Used as Shield and Weapon (co-authored by Keith Allan).
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Re: Blooming English

Post by Wizard of Oz » Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:10 pm

zmjezhd wrote:She's written a couple of other books, including a sequel Weeds in the Garden of Words: Further Observations on the Tangled History of the English Language.
.. yes I am currently pulling out some of the weeds and enjoying them too .. hadn't seen the earlier book ..

WoZ in Aus 07/04/08
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Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

Re: Blooming English

Post by Armand50 » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:55 am

An entertaining and informative read through the wonderful words of the English language and how we use them. From slang to swearing to euphemisms, and everything and anything in between. Kate Burridge is not only exceptionally informed, but has the gift of explaning and entertaining at the same time. And as with the eminent David Crystal she also is not a stickler for foolish rules and standards, nor does she bemoan the state of English today: they both delight in the fact English has changed and will continue to -- which I think is wonderful.

A bit of what was written here was re-produced, or expanded, in her more-recent Gift of the Gob -- which I read first -- but this is a similarly engaging and educational offering.
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Re: Blooming English

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:38 pm

Anybody who can come up with 'Americans are the greatest yoddroppers' is certainly worth reading.
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Re: Blooming English

Post by LedNick » Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:45 pm

[quote="Edwin F Ashworth"]Anybody who can come up with 'Americans are the greatest yoddroppers' is certainly worth reading.[/quote]
))) Absolutely agree on that)))
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Re: Blooming English

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:39 pm

I was just wondering whether or not to buy the latest Sinatra release, being advertised on British TV, (just a different permutation of the same great songs, of course) when I suddenly found "Noo York, Noo York" very jarring, Mark. I had to laugh when I caught myself thinking, "Someone as talented as Sinatra really ought to..."

Of course, the French are even worse - they call London 'Londres', and Paris Paree. On the other hand, French (and Italian) opera have got us beat.
beaten.
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