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'I love this book' Gyles Brandreth - A special new edition of the much-loved book, and the perfect present for word-lovers
The perfect present for word-lovers: a word for every day of the year: 'WORD PERFECT is a golden vaulted cave of fascinating and funny hidden gems' JO BRAND
Susie Dent is here to take children on a rip-roaring tour through some of the most astonishing, amusing and sometimes quite revolting backgrounds of English words. Did you know, for instance, that 'fizzle' originally meant to break wind silently? Over time, it came to describe a weak, spluttering, hissing sound. And you might think that 'ain't' isn't a word you should use, but it is thought the word was once used by kings and queens. As Susie Dent knows, even the most ordinary-sounding word can have the most extraordinary story behind it.
Did you know that . . . a soldier's biggest social blunder is called jack brew - making yourself a cuppa without making one for anyone else? That twitchers have an expression for a bird that can't be identified - LBJ (the letters stand for Little Brown Job)? Or that builders call plastering the ceiling doing Lionel Richie's dancefloor? Susie Dent does.Ever wondered why football managers all speak the same way, what a cabbie calls the Houses of Parliament, or how ticket inspectors discreetly request back-up? We are surrounded by hundreds of tribes, each speaking their own distinct slanguage of colourful words, jokes and phrases, honed through years of conversations on the battlefield, in A&E, backstage, or at ten-thousand feet in the air. Susie Dent has spent years interviewing hundreds of professionals, hobbyists and enthusiasts, and the result is an idiosyncratic phrasebook like no other. From the Freemason's handshake to the publican's banter, Dent's Modern Tribes takes us on a whirlwind tour of Britain, decoding its secret languages and, in the process, finds out what really makes us all tick.
From dardledumdue, which means daydreamer in East Anglia, through forkin robbins, the Yorkshire term for earwigs, to clemt, a Lancashire word that means hungry, this title investigates an astonishingly rich variety of regional expressions, and provides insight into the history of the English language.
Sparkling with insight and linguistic curiosity, this delightful compendium answers 101 of the most intriguing questions about the English language, from word origins and spelling to grammar and usage. Irresistible to anyone with an interest in the words around them.
If you were a Londoner visiting Cornwall would you know how to recognise a grammersow?If you were from the West Country and took a trip up to Scotland, would you be bewildered if someone described you as crabbit?And what if you left your native Belfast for Liverpool, would you understand if someone called you a woollyback?How to Talk Like a Local is an entertaining guide that gathers together and explains hundreds of words that you would never find in an ordinary dictionary. From dardledumdue, which means day-dreamer in East Anglia, through forkin robbins, the Yorkshire term for earwigs, to clemt, a Lancashire word that means hungry, it covers the enormously rich variety of regional words that pepper the English language. Not only does it pick out unique and unusal local words, it also draws together the dozens of terms from all over the country that mean the same thing, such as knee-knabbed, crab-ankled and hurked-up for knock-kneed, and obzocky, butters and maftin for ugly. In addition, it digs down to uncover the origins of these words, tracing their routes in to the language. Many terms meaning left-handed, for example, are related to the Kerr family of Ferniehirst Castle in Scotland, who preferred left-handed warriors. And many seemingly new coinages have been around for centuries, such as chav, which derives from a Romany word meaning child, or scouse, which probably comes from lapskaus, a Norwegian word for a sailors' stew. If you're intrigued by these colourful words and phrases, if you're interested in how English is really spoken, or if you want to discover how our language has evolved over the years, How to Talk Like a Local will prove irresistible - and enlightening - reading.