A Man of My Words: Reflections on the English Language
Iluminating everything from secrets of the writing life to the last word on the pronunciation of nuclear and offering his thoughts on "Sex and the Singular Pronoun" and an open letter to Ann Landers (signed "English Lover in San Diego"), along with games, quizzes, and a Declaration of Linguistic Independence, this collection has something for everyone who delights in our language.
Keen-eared and good-humored, A Man of My Words is sure to take its place next to Anguished English and The Miracle of Language as one of Richard Lederer's most popular and enduring works.
William Safire has sparked many word debates, but also burning brightly is 65-year-old word detective and language lecturer Lederer (Anguished English, etc.). Self-labeled Attila the Pun and Conan the Grammarian, he reaches a million readers with his syndicated "Looking at Language" column. His columns have been slightly rewritten to spice up this clever collection, an appetizing antipasto that fishes for pungent puns. Topics range from split infinitives to political correctness, from word play to letter play: "TWENTY-NINE is spelled with letters made of lines only-twenty-nine of them, to be exact." He begins with American and Britspeak divergences ("Colour by Technicolor") and words substituted in Cockney rhyming slang: "D'ye 'ear me, or are ye Mutt and Jeff? = Do you hear me, or are you deaf?" These subjects and several others are posed as games and quizzes. Listing words with Native American origins (apossoun = opossum), he moves on to accents, bilingual puns, circus argot, long and short words, the origin of OK, poker parlance, pop culture catchphrases ("Isn't that special?") and Southernisms. One amusing piece is totally written in the cliches of "fadspeak": "Do the math. Get used to it.... It's a done deal because I've got a full plate, and I bring a lot to the table." Actually, Lederer does bring a lot to the table, joking and gagging up a total of 45 essays, mostly entertaining but best digested in small portions.Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. The author of more than 30 books on language, including Anguished English (1989), Lederer is a self-proclaimed verbivore (a devourer of words) and a punster extraordinaire. In 44 short essays, he shares anecdotes from his teaching days, discusses slang, points up the differences between American English and Britspeak, and discusses common grammatical errors with an enthusiasm that has earned him the nickname Conan the Grammarian. In fact, his good humor is everywhere evident, although some readers may groan at his propensity for outlandish punning: Buddhists don't take Novocain when having teeth extracted because they wish to "transcend dental medication." Lest you think his enthusiasm is singular, he includes a hilarious transcript from a radio show in which callers from all over the country engage in spirited wordplay. Other highlights include fascinating tidbits and historical facts that showcase Lederer's detecting skills in hunting down the origins of words and phrases. Fun reading for language lovers and aspiring writers. Joanne WilkinsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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