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The word detective : a life in words

By: Simpson, John

0349141002 / 9780349141008
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United Kingdom
20 cm xvi, 366 pages
General (US: Trade)  Learn More
Reprint. Radio tie-in. Originally published: London: Little, Brown, 2016.

Language is always changing. No one knows where it is going but the best way to future-cast is to look at the past.

John Simpson animates for us a tradition of researching and editing, showing us both the technical lexicography needed to understand a word, and the careful poetry needed to construct its definition.

He challenges both the idea that dictionaries are definitive, and the notion that language is falling apart.

With a sense of humour, an ability to laugh at bureaucracy and an inclination to question the status quo, John Simpson gives life to the colourful characters at the OED and to the English language itself.

He splices his stories with entertaining and erudite diversions into the history and origin of words such as 'kangaroo', 'hot-dog' , 'pommie', 'bicycle' , not ignoring those swearwords often classed as 'Anglo-Saxon' !

The book will speak to anyone who uses a dictionary, 'word people' , history lovers, students and parents.


BM Memoirs, CBX Language: history & general works, CFM Lexicography

Our price£7.99
RRP £9.99
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