Review: On languageRedaktioneller Bericht - Kirkus Reviews
If double-duty columnist Satire (politics/language, The New York Times) had merely collected and logically arranged his ""On Language"" pieces from the Times' Sunday magazine, this would have been a nice enough book--certainly more agreeable than Simon's Paradigms Lost (Satire is ""a libertarian language activist"" rather than a fierce elitist) and more down-to-earth than doodlings by fluttery word-lovers. But Satire has done two very smart things here to turn an obligatory collection into a browser's delight. First (as in his Political Dictionary) he has diced up and arranged the material in pseudoalphabetical order, which means that you never know what you'll find when you turn the page: the entry for ""aw-ri-i-ight!"" (""the sound most often made by happy discocrats"") is followed by one for ""banana"" (it turns out to be an essay on economics czar Alfred Kahn!) and then by a cross-reference--""Bananaville, see ethnic and other slurs."" More important, however, is Safire's decision to include, throughout, letters from his ""Lexicographic Irregulars""--professors, journalists, and lots of just-plain-folks from all over who care about language and write to guru Bill with passion, flair, and awesome erudition. There are cutting remarks: ""Why is it that the writers best known for their nice language are usually slightly to the right of Attila in their political positions?"" There are laments: ""'Practically' for 'virtually'? Oh, Mr. Safire, how could you? . . . First you concede on 'hopefully' and now this. How much more do you think I can stand?"" The etymology of ""copacetic"" unleashes a fascinating crossfire of letters (did the word really come from a Hebrew phrase used by Southern-Jewish merchants and overheard by black entertainers??). One correspondent writes in to heap abuse on new uses of ""intriguing"" and to sigh over his lifelong fight for proper usage: ""It's been a marvelous war. Every battle lost."" And when Safire asks readers to suggest a new adjective meaning ""exaggerated female pride"" (what ""macho"" is for men), the impressive returns include an authentic answer (""hembra"") and one that WS himself prefers (""eggsy""). True, there's a lot of the routine stuff here too: flaunt vs. flout, fortunate vs. fortuitous, etc. And Safire himself is very much a presence--with his unflappable geniality, his punmanship (""anomie-tooism""), his often-appalling spelling (faithfully reprinted), and his jaunty enthusiasm for the latest jargon in show-biz, drug-pushing, real estate, or espionage. But it's the give-and-take with those Lexicographic Irregulars that makes this book special: a loose, freewheeling, personality-rich debate-a-then. . . and a must for language lovers of all persuasions.
Review: On LanguageNutzerbericht - Donna - Goodreads
"One nation, and a vegetable?" "Through the night with the light from a bulb?" I never knew that a commie like me could find a conservative pundit so charming...yet, there it is. Vollständige Rezension lesen
Review: On LanguageNutzerbericht - Brendan - Goodreads
I bought this at a "Friends of the Library" book sale while on vacation. It was a nice way to "extend" my vacation once I came home, since I think of that location while I'm reading it. Not that the ... Vollständige Rezension lesen