11 Explorations into Life on Earth
Christmas Lectures from the Royal Institution
The Royal Institution’s Christmas Lectures have been televised since 1966. Introduced by David Attenborough, this selection explores the mysteries of human and animal behaviour, and includes talks by Desmond Morris, Richard Dawkins and Sue Hartley.
Opening Pandora's Box
Phrases Borrowed from the Classics and the Stories behind Them
We might know what it means to be 'under the aegis', but what was the aegis? In this A–Z of classical allusion, Ferdie Addis has gathered together words and phrases, such as chimera, Croesus, hoi polloi and lotus eaters, that so enrich modern English, and he tells of their weird and wonderful origins in ancient history and Greek and Roman mythology.
The Usual Suspects
and Other Cliches
Cliches: over-used abused, and often derided by school teachers, but also valuable linguistic shorthands, summing up in a few words what otherwise would take twenty. In this A–Z lexicographer Betty Kirkpatrick explains the stories behind and the usage of more than 1,500 phrases, old and new, from what is 'essentially a lawless part of the English language'. First published as The Dictionary of Cliches in 1996. Second edition.
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.