Short Cuts: A Guide to Oaths, Ring Tones, Ransom Notes, Famous Last Words, and Other Forms of Minimalist Communication

Short Cuts: A Guide to Oaths, Ring Tones, Ransom Notes, Famous Last Words, and Other Forms of Minimalist Communication

by Alexander Humez, Nicholas Humez, Rob Flynn
     
 

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Our everyday lives are inevitably touched—and immeasurably enriched—by an extraordinary variety of miniature forms of verbal communication, from classified ads to street signs, and from yesterday's graffito to tomorrow's headline. Celebrating our long history of compact speech, Short Cuts offers a well-researched and vibrantly written account of this

Overview

Our everyday lives are inevitably touched—and immeasurably enriched—by an extraordinary variety of miniature forms of verbal communication, from classified ads to street signs, and from yesterday's graffito to tomorrow's headline. Celebrating our long history of compact speech, Short Cuts offers a well-researched and vibrantly written account of this unsung corner of the linguistic world, inspiring a new appreciation of the wondrously varied forms of our briefest exchanges.

Alexander Humez, Nicholas Humez, and Rob Flynn shed light here on an ever-growing field of minimalist genres, ranging from the bank robbery note to the billboard, from the curse hurled from a car window (or the Senate floor) to the suicide note, and from the ghost-word to the ring tone. The book is divided into ten thematic sections, as varied as "In the Dictionary" (discussing such topics as Sniglets, Mountweazels, and the Wiktionary), "In and Out of Trouble" (error messages, weasel words, the pre-nup), and "On the Lam" (ransom notes, wanted posters, portraits parlés). The authors look at the comic strip's maladicta balloon and the dinner-interrupter's robocalls, the advice column and the obit, and the many ways your personal appearance tells us who you are, from the message on your gimme cap to the tattoo with your S.O.'s name on your ankle. Uncovering the elegance, the humor, and the unspoken implications in these fleeting communications, this book provides a satisfying thoroughness and an abundance of connections that unravel how the oath became the swearword and the calling card salver turned into the Facebook wall.

For readers who love language and enjoy rummaging through the cultural baggage that comes with it, Short Cuts gathers an engaging sampler of the most delightful and cogent—and above all brief—forms of contemporary English.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Delightful gems."—Writers' Journal

"Short Cuts gives us fascinating investigations into the diverse situations where we have to get the right message across but are limited by time, space, or simply convention."—Erin McKean, CEO of wordnik.com, author of Weird and Wonderful Words, More Weird and Wonderful Words, and former Editor-in-Chief, Oxford Ameriacn Dictionaries

Library Journal
This one's perplexing, especially from such an estimable publisher. Alexander Humez and Nicholas Humez (coauthors, On the Dot: The Speck That Changed the World) have teamed up with Rob Flynn, a writer on computer-related topics, to present a guide to "miniature forms of verbal communication." That's what they say they're doing, but the book is like a high school paper in which the student relentlessly presents paragraph after paragraph of information, hoping that the teacher won't notice that the research hasn't been properly sifted, connected, contextualized, or edited. They sure look at a lot of "minimalist" communication, from icons to dictionaries, oaths, crime-fighting posters and alerts, newspaper and magazine styles, and suicide notes, all the while presenting no clear or well-argued interpretations of any of it. Hoping that it will all be tied together in a concluding chapter? You'll find only more of what came before, but this time on death notices and epitaphs. Here's a "short cut": skip this book.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195389135
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
08/12/2010
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Alexander Humez is the author or coauthor of a dozen trade and reference books, including the collaborations with his brother Latin for People, Alpha to Omega, A B C Et Cetera, Zero to Lazy Eight (with Joseph Maguire), and On the Dot.

Nicholas Humez, in addition to the above collaborations, is the author of Silversmithing: A Basic Manual and the composer-lyricist of the CD Myth Songs.

Rob Flynn writes for the computer industry. He has authored and co-authored several books, articles, and screenplays.

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