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America in So Many Words: Words That Have Shaped America
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0618002707, Paperback)Did you know that the word "juke" (as in "jukebox") comes from the West African language Wolof and means "to make mischief"? Or that the slang expression "bogus" reaches as far back as 1797, when it signified a counterfeit coin? Like the country from which it emerged, American English is a vital multicultural stew of sources and influences. Word by word and year by year, America in So Many Words traces the origins and historical context of America's distinctive additions to the English language, from "canoe" (1555) all the way to "Ebonics" (1997). "O.K.," for instance, appeared in 1838 as part of a Boston fad for abbreviations--in this case, the humorously misspelled "all correct." "Rock and roll," America's equally famous contribution to the world lexicon, was first popularized in 1951 by disc jockey Alan Freed--his way to sidestep a prohibition against playing African American music for white audiences. A fascinating reference you'll read from cover to cover, America in So Many Words beautifully illustrates the ways in which history and vocabulary converge.
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:44 -0400)
In chronological order, Barnhart and Metcalf give the history and usage of words and phrases that Americans have added to the English language, from canoe and skunk in the 1500s to soccer mom, Ebonics, and millennium bug in the 1990s.
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