Lederer on Language: A Celebration of English, Good Grammar, and Wordplay

Lederer on Language: A Celebration of English, Good Grammar, and Wordplay

by Richard Lederer
     
 

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In this wide-ranging collection of essays, Richard Lederer offers readers more of the irrepressible wordplay and linguistic high jinks his fans can't get enough of, along with observations on a life in letters. From an inner-city classroom to a wordy weekend retreat, from centuries-old etymological legacies to the latest in slang, dialects, and fadspeak, these

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Overview

In this wide-ranging collection of essays, Richard Lederer offers readers more of the irrepressible wordplay and linguistic high jinks his fans can't get enough of, along with observations on a life in letters. From an inner-city classroom to a wordy weekend retreat, from centuries-old etymological legacies to the latest in slang, dialects, and fadspeak, these essays transport, inform, and entertain as only Lederer can. The book includes more than 30 chapters, such as A Declaration of Linguistic Independence, Our Uppity English Language, Etymological Snapshots, and Jest for the Pun of It.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
William Safire has sparked many word debates, but also burning brightly is 65-year-old word detective and language lecturer Lederer (Anguished English, etc.). Self-labeled Attila the Pun and Conan the Grammarian, he reaches a million readers with his syndicated "Looking at Language" column. His columns have been slightly rewritten to spice up this clever collection, an appetizing antipasto that fishes for pungent puns. Topics range from split infinitives to political correctness, from word play to letter play: "TWENTY-NINE is spelled with letters made of lines only-twenty-nine of them, to be exact." He begins with American and Britspeak divergences ("Colour by Technicolor") and words substituted in Cockney rhyming slang: "D'ye 'ear me, or are ye Mutt and Jeff? = Do you hear me, or are you deaf?" These subjects and several others are posed as games and quizzes. Listing words with Native American origins (apossoun = opossum), he moves on to accents, bilingual puns, circus argot, long and short words, the origin of OK, poker parlance, pop culture catchphrases ("Isn't that special?") and Southernisms. One amusing piece is totally written in the cliches of "fadspeak": "Do the math. Get used to it.... It's a done deal because I've got a full plate, and I bring a lot to the table." Actually, Lederer does bring a lot to the table, joking and gagging up a total of 45 essays, mostly entertaining but best digested in small portions. (Dec.) FYI: Also in December is a reissue of Lederer's The Cunning Linguist (Griffin), so expect double promotions and double entendres. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Columnist, prolific language humorist, and radio-show host Lederer offers over 40 brief essays that illuminate wide-ranging aspects of the English language. The essays mix puns, anecdotes, poems, quotations, and six word games with serious discussion of grammar and literary history. These creative essays demonstrate and delight in the complex nature of language and linguistic change. In one game, for instance, readers identify names of movie stars from clues, which are puns. Elsewhere, Lederer rebuts journalist Jesse Sheidlower, insisting upon the correct pronunciation of the word nuclear, and takes Ann Landers to task for tolerating certain grammatical or spelling errors. Yet in the essay "Conan the Grammarian," Lederer amusingly debunks traditional "rules" regarding ending a sentence with a preposition or splitting infinitives. A unique, skillful combination of humor and substance, this compilation is recommended for public and academic libraries.-Marianne Orme, Des Plaines P.L., IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781936863136
Publisher:
Marion Street Press, LLC
Publication date:
11/01/2012
Edition description:
Second Edition, Second edition
Pages:
168
Sales rank:
930,733
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

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