Topic : Books
Exploring the pathways of our lexicon
May 11, 2012By Ben Zimmer
This week has seen many encomiums to the great children's book author Maurice Sendak, who died on Tuesday at the age of 83. As it happens, tomorrow marks the two hundredth birthday of one of Sendak's predecessors in playful children's literature: Edward Lear. That got me thinking about the grand tradition of wordplay in books for children, from Lear and Carroll to Seuss and Sendak. Continue reading...
One Saturday night earlier this month, the USA Network aired the Oscar-winning movie To Kill a Mockingbird. Afterwards, one of my students tweeted how much she liked the movie, and how glad she was she'd read the book. Continue reading...
Fine, call me a Luddite or, even worse, a late adopter, but I say, Kindle-schmindle, Nook-schnook, give me a good old-fashioned book.Yes, I have adopted, step by reluctant step, each new advance of the digital realm, Facebook, Google, Wikipedia and all the rest, and I've grown used to the virtual media's constant changing despite my constant grousing. Continue reading...
I am a lazy but honest man, so I have to admit my first thought when looking at the The Language Wars by Henry Hitchings was not so noble. Noting the lengthiness (300+ pages) and a small font size, I thought, "Uh oh. Why did I agree to review this? I could be watching Justified." As I plowed into the book, my fears turned out to be unwarranted. In fact, my fears turned out to be ridiculous, as fears tend to be. Continue reading...
Books we love
March 21, 2012By Mark Peters
In his new book The Story of English in 100 Words, the absurdly prolific David Crystal provides a unique answer to a question he poses: "How can we tell the story of the English language?" Continue reading...
Books we love
February 8, 2012By Mark Peters
Richard Bailey's Speaking American is one of those books I wish I could make every prescriptivist grouch in the world read. You know the type: the kind of misinformed peever who kvetches about "kids these days" and the language going to hell while yearning to preserve English, as if it were a precious vase a teenage texter might knock over while planking, shattering it forever and leaving us all mute. Continue reading...
I DARE Say!
January 17, 2012
The Dictionary of American Regional English (a.k.a. DARE) is finally completed — and it only took fifty years to do it! In the Boston Globe, Visual Thesaurus editor Ben Zimmer looks back on this monument to American speech, and looks ahead to new ways of approaching dialectology. Read his column here.