Don't Believe A Word
The Surprising Truth About Language
Starting with the idea that language is going to the dogs, the linguist David Shariatmadari explores nine common claims, in each case delving deep into the topic and cutting through ‘the fallacies and folklore that cloud our understanding’. Among the other concepts challenged are the idea that a word’s origin is its true meaning, the theory that language is an instinct, and the ‘untranslatable word’.
My Grammar and I (Or Should That Be 'Me'?)
Old-School Ways to Sharpen Your English
Bearing in mind always that 'one person's unbreakable rule is another person's insufferable pedantry', Caroline Taggart and JA Wines's bestselling guide renders grammar painless, even entertaining. Here, the bitter pills of restrictive and non-defining clauses are sugared with amusing examples, quotations from great writers, grammatical jokes and choice morsels of information in 'Smart Alec' and 'Swot' boxes.
The French of Medieval England
Essays in Honour of Jocelyn Wogan-Browne
The ‘French of England’, a term coined by Professor Jocelyn Wogan-Browne, is the mix of linguistic, cultural and political elements in the multilingualism of England in the five centuries after the Norman Conquest. This volume of 16 essays honours and extends Wogan-Browne’s work in studies of medieval translation and communication, secular and sacred literature, and texts including Gower’s Traitié and Thomas Wright’s Political Songs of England.
Around the World in Twenty Languages
More than 75 per cent of the world’s population can communicate in one of the 20 most-spoken languages, from Vietnamese and Korean (85 million speakers each) to Mandarin and English (1.3 and 1.5 billion respectively). As he profiles these successful lingua francas, Dorren discusses key features including their origins, scripts and pronunciation. He also analyses how linguistic oddities, such as the different ‘genderlects’ spoken by Japanese men and women, reflect aspects of cultural and political history.
The Good Citizen's Alphabet
And History of the World in Epitome
A is for Asinine, Z is for Zeal in this alphabet written, with ‘no purpose beyond fun’, by the philosopher Bertrand Russell. It was originally given to his friends Stefan and Franciszka Themerson as a Christmas present in 1952 and only later published with drawings by Franciszka. Russell’s playful satire on 26 political and rhetorical words is reprinted here, along with his six-line History of the World in Epitome (for use in Martian infant schools) – a title almost as long as the text.
The Life of Samuel Johnson
One of the great biographies of world literature, Boswell’s portrait of his friend Dr Johnson is full of anecdote and characterization, giving a compelling insight into Johnson’s intellectual brilliance and rough humour, but also painting a vivid picture of 18th-century London and its prominent personalities. Read by David Timson. Unabridged.
The Prodigal Tongue
The Love-Hate Relationship Between British and American English
Is it true (as we are often told) that ‘creeping Americanisms’ are ruining our language? As an American linguist working in Britain, Lynne Murphy is well placed to weigh up the evidence and to share examples of misunderstandings. With a combination of humo(u)r and scepticism/skepticism she examines the myths surrounding transatlantic differences, shows that many ‘American’ words and usages have British origins and investigates where the English language is really going.
The Illustrated Book of Sayings
Curious Expressions from Around the World
The Finnish idiom, ‘to pace around hot porridge like a cat’ is comparable to our ‘to beat around the bush’. Each of the 52 cross-cultural expressions in this collection is accompanied by musings on the origin and meaning – whether literal or metaphorical – and by light-hearted illustrations on the opposite page.
The Stories of Slang
Language at its Most Human
Using his database of 130,000 words and phrases, the lexicographer known as ‘Mr Slang’ explains the origins of some of the most witty, colourful and disreputable expressions in the English language. He takes us into the worlds of boxers, drunken sailors, doctors and lovers, as well as the more literary realms of PG Wodehouse and Shakespeare, that master of the double entendre who is the earliest source for nearly 300 slang terms.
The Music, or Melody and Rhythmus of Language (1818)
James Chapman’s textbook is his ‘synopsis’, with examples from literature and a notation based on music, of Joshua Steele’s Prosodia Rationalis (1775), which argued that English shared the same accidents of speech – accent emphasis, pause, force and quality of sound – as ancient Greek and Latin. Facsimile reprint. No jacket.
For Who(m) the Bell Tolls
One Man's Quest for Grammatical Perfection
Some language rules are worth knowing – but which ‘rules’ just make clear communication harder? The editor of the Guardian’s style guide cites authorities including Shakespeare, Bart Simpson and Kirsty MacColl as he explains the grammatical principles (not principals) that will help to perfect your writing. He also advises on the correct choice of words and urges us to resist jargon, euphemisms and the journalistic mistreatment of ironic and iconic.
Jedburgh Justice and Kentish Fire
This investigation into the origin of phrases and sayings organizes them into 50 themed lists, each containing ten examples. There are ways of saying ‘dead’ – including ‘bought the farm’ and ‘pushing up daisies’ – and terms that use numbers, such as ‘forty winks’ and ‘dressed to the nines’. The expressions in the title derive from Jedburgh’s reputation for summary executions and the disruptive jeering of public speakers by the people of Kent.
Word for Word
A Translator's Memoir of Literature, Politics, and Survival in Soviet Russia
A Russian Jew, who lived in Germany, France and Palestine before her family settled in the USSR in 1933, Lilianna Lungina (1920–1998) became a celebrated literary translator, introducing Russian readers to the work of writers including Knut Hamsun, Heinrich Böll, Colette and Ibsen. Lilya lived through some of the most harrowing events of the 20th century, yet her memoir, as told to Oleg Dorman and illustrated with personal photographs, shows how misfortune can lead to ‘surprising and improbable happiness and richness’.
Every Word is a Bird We Teach to Sing
Encounters with the Mysteries and Meanings of Language
Daniel Tammet, author of the bestselling memoir Born on a Blue Day, here draws on his own experiences as an autistic person and a polyglot to explore what the intricacies and oddities of human language can teach us about ourselves. His 15 essays cover such topics as the art of translation, sign languages, the music and patterns of words, the grammar of telephone conversations and the rules that prescribe acceptable Icelandic names. Slightly off-mint.
Making a Point
The Persnickety Story of English Punctuation
With its unique mixture of logic and eccentricity, English punctuation excites both anxiety and fiercely held opinion. What other area of language has produced an organization such as the Apostrophe Protection Society? With wit, clarity and common sense, this entertaining volume offers a history of English punctuation from medieval scribes to the internet and a complete guide to how to use it. From the question mark to the semi-colon, the book is packed with both amusing anecdote and sound practical advice.
Intermediate Conversation Course
Designed for all intermediate learners, as well as those following the Michel Thomas method, this conversational course focuses on colloquial language and the conversation strategies used by native Spanish speakers. The ten lessons cover a range of topics and aim to advance overall fluency, expand vocabulary and improve listening, comprehension and grammar. The boxed set comprises a text book, one MP3 CD-ROM and one interactive CD-ROM.
Sign Language among American Indian Nations
A sign language that cut across language barriers played a crucial role among the various Indian nations, and it survives today. This book contains a comprehensive description of the language, from phonology to discourse, and compares it with other sign languages.
A physician, professor of neurology and author, Oliver Sacks (1933–2015) has been described by the New York Times as 'a kind of poet laureate of contemporary medicine'. His books are made up of case histories of his patients, and explore both their neurological disorders and the strategies they adopted to cope with them. In Seeing Voices, a journey into the world of the profoundly deaf, Sacks examines the consequences of living in silence, including the different ways in which the deaf and the hearing learn to categorize and convey the experience of their respective worlds.
Evolving English Wordbank
A Glossary of Present-Day English Dialect and Slang
Jonathan Robinson curates the British Museum's archive of sound recordings illustrating British accents and dialects. He has compiled this quirky yet fascinating glossary by using such audio material collected from present-day dialect speakers, as well as old dictionaries' evidence of historical usage, so that the Wordbank not only provides a snapshot of vernacular English in the early 21st century but also reveals the ancient origins of many words and phrases in use today.
Mechthild of Magdeburg
Selections from The Flowing Light of the Godhead
Mechthild of Magdeburg's sole book, Das fliessende Licht der Gottheit (The Flowing Light of the Godhead), written between c.1250 and c.1282, is an outstanding piece of imaginative writing in its documentation of the author's relationship with God and with her contemporaries. It is also, within the context of German literary history, the first mystical text composed in the vernacular. Elizabeth Andersen presents the first English translation of this text, with introduction, notes and interpretive essay. Library of Medieval Women. No jacket.
Barron's French–English Pocket Dictionary
Dictionnaire de poche Français–Anglais
This Barron's pocket edition contains approximately 70,000 words, phrases and examples presented in American English–French and French–English sections. It also provides guides to French pronunciation and French and English phonetic symbols; and a final section gives lists of irregular verbs in both languages, numerals, symbols and weights and measures. American spelling. Clear plastic jacket.
A–Z of Arabic-English–Arabic Translation
This guide to common grammatical, lexical and semantic issues in Arabic translation is suitable for classroom use by university students and as a reference work for professional translators. The authors highlight common pitfalls in working both from English to Arabic and from Arabic to English, suggesting strategies for effective translation, offering guidance on correct usage and discussing idiomatic expressions in both languages. Each problem is illustrated with examples drawn from contemporary literature and media texts.