The language collection is not necessarily an area that would immediately spring to mind when thinking of a good book to read in bed. You may instead picture dry old texts hammering home grammar rules and the dire consequences of not using an apostrophe correctly. But think again. Some titles we have received lately look fascinating, often funny and without the slightest hint of stuffiness. Here are some good examples:
The Language Wars: A History of Proper English
Examines grammar rules, regional accents, swearing, spelling, dictionaries, political correctness, and the role of electronic media in reshaping language. It also takes a look at such niggling concerns as the split infinitive, elocution and text messaging.
Globish: How the English Language Became the World’s Language
Packed with nuggets of information about language, culture, history and power, Robert McCrum traces the way that the English language has twisted and turned in response to the way the world has changed.
Unmentionables: From Family Jewels to Friendly Fire – What We Say Instead of What We Mean
‘Ladies of the night’, ‘love handles, ‘collateral damage, ‘vertically challenged’. We use them all the time but are we just being polite or actually lying?
Celebrated author and actor Stephen Fry has been fronting a BBC programme about language called Planet Word. Talking about this new programme he states that
“We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing – an actor, a writer – I am a person who does things – I write, I act – and I never know what I am going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.”
I’ll have to think about that one, but in the meantime the book based on the programme should be very entertaining.
If you like a bit of fun and enjoy learning new words then try out Save the words. I stumbled upon Snollygoster : A shrewd unprincipled person, especially a politician! “Instead of giving snollygosters the key to the city, it might be better to change the locks”.