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Faux Pas: A No-Nonsense Guide to Words and Phrases from Other Languages

Faux Pas: A No-Nonsense Guide to Words and Phrases from Other Languages

by Philip Gooden

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Novelist and editor Gooden (Who's Whose?: A No-Nonsense Guide to Easily Confused Words) hopes readers will consult his book before attending their next dinner party so that they can impress friends by strategically injecting non-English words into their conversation. He expands traditional dictionary definitions by offering a "Pretentiousness Index" for words derived from Latin, German, French, and other languages. Each rating is either nil, for words that are well established among most English speakers (e.g., aficionado, antebellum) or ranges from one to three exclamation points to show varying levels of pretense (e.g., "au naturel" and "savant" receive one exclamation point while "au contraire" and "moi" receive three). Along with the rating and its paragraph of discussion, each definition includes a quote from a newspaper or literary source using the word, a pronunciation guide, reference to the word's original language, and a translation. Weaknesses include a pronunciation guide that does not use consistent, official phonetic symbols and quotes that indicate author or publication name but otherwise lack citations or even dates. The "pretense" discussion incorporates etymology in some entries but not in all, and no bibliography is offered. Bottom Line This resource is less formal and provides fewer entries than either the Oxford Dictionary of Foreign Words and Phrases or The Facts On File Dictionary of Foreign Words and Phrases, but owing to its dominant "Pretentiousness" ratings, it makes for an enjoyable read; Gooden's opinions about word usage are at once serious and amusing. Recommended for the circulating collections of academic and public libraries.-Marianne Orme, Des Plaines P.L., IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Walker & Company
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.38(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Philip Gooden read English at Magdalen College, Oxford, and then taught at secondary level for many years. In 2001 he became a full-time writer. He is the author of the Nick Revill series, a sequence of historical mysteries based in Elizabethan London and set around Shakespeare's Globe theatre. Titles so far published are Sleep of Death, Death of Kings, The Pale Companion (shortlisted for the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger award in 2002), Alms for Oblivion, Mask of Night and An Honourable Murderer. A contributor to various short story anthologies, Philip Gooden also works as an editor, most recently on the Mammoth Book of Literary Anecdotes and a new edition of Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World for Penguin Classics. He has also written the popular Who's Whose?: A No-Nonsense Guide to Easily-Confused Words, published by Bloomsbury. He lives in Bath where he is currently working on the first in a new series of historical novels.

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