Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare

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9780199574094: Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare

When James Murray compiled the OED in the 19th century, he used a small army of volunteers--and thousands upon thousands of paper slips--to track down the English language. Today, linguists use massive computer power--including the world's largest language databank, the Oxford Corpus, which contains more than two billion words--to determine for the first time definitively how the English language is used.
From evidence contained in the gargantuan Oxford Corpus, Jeremy Butterfield here uncovers a wealth of fascinating facts about the English language. Where does our vocabulary come from? How do word meanings change? How is our language really being used? This entertaining book has the up-to-date and authoritative answers to all the key questions about our language. Butterfield takes a thorough look at the English language and exposes its peculiarities and penchants, its development and difficulties, revealing exactly how it operates. We learn, for instance, that we use language in chunks of words--as one linguist put it, "we know words by the company that they keep." For instance, the word quintessentially is joined half the time with a nationality--something is "quintessentially American" or "quintessentially British." Using such observations, Butterfield explains how dictionary makers decide which words to include, how they find definitions, and how the Corpus influences the process.
Covering all areas of English, from spelling and idioms to the future of English, and with entertaining examples and useful charts throughout, this compelling and lively book will delight word lovers everywhere.

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About the Author :


Jeremy Butterfield has commissioned, compiled, and edited many major English and foreign-language dictionaries, and is a regular contributor to radio and TV discussions about questions of language use. He edited the Oxford A-Z of English Usage (2007).

Review :

"This book will be fascinating to those who would really like to find out how the English language is behaving. Clearly written and informative, it is a lively guide to that most creative and challenging language, English" --Alexander McCall Smith

"Nice choice of words" --Newsweek, 13 December 2008

"definitive guide to the evolution of English" --Scottish Daily Mail, 3 November 2008

"absorbing... lively...you will find something of interest on every page" --English Teaching Professional, 1 January 2009

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Description du livre Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2010. Paperback. État : New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. How many words are there in the English language and where were they born? Why does spelling wobble and why do meanings change? How do words behave towards each other - and how do we behave towards words? And what does this all mean for dictionary-making in the 21st century? This entertaining book has the up-to-date and authoritative answers to all the key questions about our language. Using evidence provided by the world s largest language databank, the Oxford English Corpus, Butterfield exposes the English language s peculiarities and penchants, its development and difficulties, revealing exactly how it operates. Interpolating his expert knowledge of dictionary-making, Butterfield explains how dictionaries decide which words to include, how they find definitions, and how a Corpus influences the process. Whether you are happy to give the language free rein (free reign?), or whether you are more straight-laced (strait-laced?) when it comes to change, you will be amazed at what is revealed when the English language goes buck naked. (Or should that be butt naked?). N° de réf. du libraire AOP9780199574094

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Description du livre Oxford University Press. Paperback. État : new. BRAND NEW, Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare, Jeremy Butterfield, How many words are there in the English language and where were they born? Why does spelling 'wobble' and why do meanings change? How do words behave towards each other - and how do we behave towards words? And what does this all mean for dictionary-making in the 21st century? This entertaining book has the up-to-date and authoritative answers to all the key questions about our language. Using evidence provided by the world's largest language databank, the Oxford English Corpus, Butterfield exposes the English language's peculiarities and penchants, its development and difficulties, revealing exactly how it operates. Interpolating his expert knowledge of dictionary-making, Butterfield explains how dictionaries decide which words to include, how they find definitions, and how a Corpus influences the process. Whether you are happy to give the language free rein (free reign?), or whether you are more straight-laced (strait-laced?) when it comes to change, you will be amazed at what is revealed when the English language goes buck naked. (Or should that be butt naked?). N° de réf. du libraire B9780199574094

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