How to Read a Word

How to Read a Word

by Elizabeth Knowles
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions


Language is not fixed, but evolves over time, and exploring the routes taken by the words can lead us on fascinating journeys. How to Read a Word, written by the noted lexicographer Elizabeth Knowles, shows us how to explore the origins, associations, and evolution of words, focusing in particular on two points: what questions can be asked about aSee more details below

Overview


Language is not fixed, but evolves over time, and exploring the routes taken by the words can lead us on fascinating journeys. How to Read a Word, written by the noted lexicographer Elizabeth Knowles, shows us how to explore the origins, associations, and evolution of words, focusing in particular on two points: what questions can be asked about a word? And how can they be answered?

How to Read a Word offers clear guidance on how to explore the various aspects of words, with chapters on pronunciation, spelling, date of first use, etymology, regional distribution, and meaning, all spiced with intriguing examples. For instance, Knowles offers a fascinating account of how the word "scientist" originated in a public debate in 1834, explains The Economist's jocular suggestion that "fish and chips" be spelled "ghoti and tchoghs," and weighs in on the "nuclear-nucular" controversy. Knowles also discusses the ever-expanding range of sources available to the curious word-hunter, from general and specialist dictionaries to websites devoted to areas of language, from Project Gutenberg and Google Book Search to various online newspaper archives. Knowles shows readers how to use this sometimes overwhelming mass of resources to get the best result, and how best to interpret the evidence retrieved. We learn, for example, how to use Google News to search the phrase "thin as a " as used today, uncovering hundreds of variants, from "thin as a supermodel" to "thin as a lizard."

Thought-provoking and practical, this guide provides readers with the essential tools to confidently interrogate the words by which we are surrounded. How to Read a Word is the perfect gift for anyone who is fascinated by the development and intricacies of the English language.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The entirety of How to Read a Word encourages us to be thoughtful about words, to really dig and learn, and not take them for granted. It is filled with specific examples and anecdotes which serve to inform, entertain and explain many ways in which words form, are created, change and are adopted. Words and definitions are serious business. They evolve over time, passing in and out of fashion... For anyone interested in words, How to Read a Word is a very exciting read." --Jenny Williams, Wired

'How to Read a Word focuses on building linguistic self-reliance and competence a necessity in an era where there are millions of Web pages devoted to giving answers, but very few trying to teach you to ask the right questions. How to Read a Word falls firmly into the "teach a man to fish" category of language books, and those who use it wisely are sure to catch good information on their hooks.' --Erin McKean, The Boston Globe

"Wonderfully, generously, Knowles shares with us an insider's view of lexicography, placing stress on precision, accuracy and authenticity... There's nothing wrong with How to Read a Word, not at all: everything about it is right. Every literate adult should be acquainted with it; college curriculums should mandate it." --Ange Mlinko, The Nation

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199574896
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
11/19/2010
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.80(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >