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A Man of My Words: Reflections on the English Language

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | A Man of My Words: Reflections on the English Language.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Richard Lederer(Author)

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Popular author and speaker Richard Lederer is one of the foremost and funniest commentators on the pleasures and quirks of the English language. In this far-ranging and career-capping collection of essays, Lederer offers readers more of the irrepressible wordplay and linguistic high jinx his fans can't get enough of, along with observations on a life in letters. From an inner-city classroom to a wordy weekend retreat, from centuries-old etymological legacies to the latest in slang, dialects, and fadspeak, these essays transport, inform, and entertain as only wordstruck Richard Lederer can.

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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Book details

  • PDF | 304 pages
  • Richard Lederer(Author)
  • St. Martin's Griffin (October 1, 2005)
  • English
  • 8
  • Reference

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Review Text

  • By Wayne Hanway on December 26, 2016

    If you love words and wordplay like I do, this collection of short pieces by the author of the Anguished English books will appeal to you. I fully enjoyed it. Lederer is one of the very rare writers who not only savors the workings and humor of the English language, but can write well about it.

  • By Kindle Customer on November 21, 2012

    Richard Lederer always entertains while he's teaching you. Years ago,I was given "Anguished English" to read on an airplane trip. I got so involved and laughing so hard, I forgot where I was. Everyone was asking me what I was reading. It's been a long time since I read "A Man of My Words" but it was typical Lederer. You get an English lesson while laughing. I would recommend all but one of his books.

  • By Laney on December 9, 2015

    Fun fun

  • By takingadayoff on January 12, 2004

    "Have you heard about the liberated Irish woman? Her name was Erin Go Braless.""If planes taxi on runways, I wonder, do taxis plane on streets?"If you think jokes like this are funny, you will love A Man of My Words. He's got a million of 'em.Richard Lederer's latest collection of essays about language ranges from puns to world English, from Ebonics to grammar lessons. Many of these selections seem somewhat dated. For instance, he talks about the differences between American English and British English by pointing out English-isms such as "bob" for a shilling (when did they last use shillings, about 1975?), and says that in Britain, "billion" means a million million, but I believe they use it to mean a thousand million, as in America, and have for a while now. References to Jackie Gleason, "Saturday Night Live comedian" Steve Martin, and Conan the Grammarian add to the "blast from the past" feeling of this collection.Fans of Lederer will enjoy these pieces that include a transcript of Lederer on the Jim Bohannon radio show, a discussion of the pronunciation of "nuclear," and many, many puns.

  • By sseale on September 15, 2007

    This book is a collections of essays by Richard Lederer. I have a casual interest in language and wordplay, but I found some of the essays rather boring. For instance, reading the chapter on fadspeak was just painful for me. It was one long string of catchphrases and slang. On the other hand, some of the essays were very entertaining. Either way there is enough in this book that you are bound to like some of the chapters.


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