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A Few Words

A Few Words

by Laurence McNamee, Jim Lehrer (Foreword by), Kent Biffle

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Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
How many languages are spoken today? What is dyslexia? What language did King Richard the Lionhearted of England speak? Is there a linguistic definition of ``huh,'' ``uh-uh'' and ``uh-huh''? Why do babies worldwide address their mothers with a version of ``mama''? The answers to these and many other questions are found in this amusing and informative handbook of language, literature and life compiled from 10 years' of the authors' columns in the Dallas Morning News . (There are from 3000 to 8000 languages in the world, they say, only 30 of which are spoken by more than a million people. There is one language, Alaskan Eyak, that is spoken by only two people.) The authors defend split infinitives and explain that the little plastic tip on a shoelace is called an aglet. We learn such diverse bits of information as the source of Robert Kennedy's quote ``Some men see things as they are and ask, `why?' I dream things that never were and ask, `why not?' '' (it was a paraphrase of the serpent's line from G. B. Shaw's Back to Methuselah ) and the fighting name of celebrated left-handed boxer Joseph L. Barrow (Joe Louis). Questions are posed by Sugar Ray Leonard, Sir Ronald Gardner-Thorpe, Lord Mayor of London and Sir Laurence Olivier as well as by regular folk. (September)

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Taylor Trade Publishing
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