Etymology and Slang
The People's Poetry
1st Edition Hardcover ISBN: 0195314638
Slang, writes Michael Adams, is poetry on the down low, and sometimes lowdown poetry on the down low, but rarely, if ever, merely lowdown. It is the poetry of everyday speech, the people's poetry, and it deserves attention as language playing on the cusp of art. In Slang: The People's Poetry, Adams covers this perennially interesting subject in a serious but highly engaging way, illuminating the fundamental question "What is Slang" and defending slang--and all forms of nonstandard English--as integral parts of the American language. Why is an expression like "bed head" lost in a lexical limbo, found neither in slang nor standard dictionaries? Why are snow-boarding terms such as "fakie," "goofy foot," "ollie" and "nollie" not considered slang? As he addresses these and other lexical curiosities, Adams reveals that slang is used in part to define groups, distinguishing those who are "down with it" from those who are "out of it." Slang is also a rebellion against the mainstream. It often irritates those who color within the lines--indeed, slang is meant to irritate, sometimes even to shock. But slang is also inventive language, both fun to make and fun to use. Rather than complain about slang as "bad" language, Adams urges us to celebrate slang's playful resistance to the commonplace and to see it as the expression of an innate human capacity, not only for language, but for poetry. A passionate defense of slang, jargon, argot and other forms of nonstandard English, this marvelous volume is full of amusing and even astonishing examples of all sorts of slang. It will be a must for students of language and a joy for word lovers everywhere.
Spell It Out
The Curious, Enthralling and Extraordinary Story of English Spelling
Paperback ISBN: 1250056128
A lesser-known history of English spelling by the award-winning author of The Story of English in 100 Words is presented through engaging, pithy chapters that cover such topics as the introduction of the Roman alphabet, each letter's origins and the development of long and short vowels.
A Social History of Foul Language, Oaths and Profanity in English
Paperback ISBN: 0140267077
Swearing in the English language has a long history that encompasses a rich variety of modes, including heroic oaths, sacred undertakings, profane and blasphemous curses, taboo insults charged with sexual and excremental "four-letter" words, competitive foul language, and racist "hate speech." Tracing the history of this intriguing cultural phenomenon from its Anglo-Saxon traditions and those of the Middle Ages, through Shakespeare, the Enlightenment, and the Victorian Era to the Lady Chatterley?s Lover trial and various current trends, Geoffrey Hughes explores a fascinating, little-discussed, yet irrepressible part of our linguistic heritage. This edition contains a new Postscript updating various contemporary developments, such as the growth of political correctness.
The Marvelous Book of Palindromes, Anagrams, and Other Delightful and Outrageous Wordplay
1st Edition Paperback ISBN: 039953749x
Welcomes readers into the world of logology, or recreational linguists, through exploring word puzzles, puzzling words and other wordplay including anagrams, palindromes, puns and sentences with surprise endings, called paraprosdokians, a technique frequently used by Groucho Marx. Original. 30,000 first printing.
An Alternative History of English Slang
Hardcover ISBN: 168177464x
Slang is the language of pop culture, low culture, street culture, underground movements and secret societies; depending on your point of view, it is a badge of honor, a sign of identity or a dangerous assault on the values of polite society. Of all the vocabularies available to us, slang is the most alive, constantly evolving and—as it leaks into the mainstream and is taken up by all of us—infusing the language with a healthy dose of vitality.Witty, energetic and informative Vulgar Tongues traces the many routes of slang, beginning with the thieves and prostitutes of Elizabethan London and ending with the present day, where the centuries-old terms rap and hip-hop still survive, though their meanings have changed. On the way we will meet Dr. Johnson, World War II flying aces, pickpockets, schoolchildren, hardboiled private eyes, carnival geeks and the many eccentric characters who have tried to record slang throughout its checkered past.If you’re curious about flapdragons and ale passion, the changing meanings of punk and geek, or how fly originated on the streets of eighteenth-century London and square in Masonic lodges, this is the book for you.