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Gift of the gob : morsels of english…

Gift of the gob : morsels of english language history

by Kate Burridge

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Kate Burridge is an Australian Professor of Linguistics and Gift of the Gob: Morsels of English Language History is her third book. This is an educational, insightful, amusing and light read covering several interesting categories, some of which include: Slanguage on the move, Shocking words, Word origins, Pronunciation on the move and many more.

It was fascinating to learn how the meaning of a word can change over time, as well as the pronunciation. The book includes the origin of particular words and phrases and even included the word I hate most at the moment, irregardless.

I enjoyed reading the section on blended words such as cocacolonization and affluenza. I was also introduced to the official/non-official term the pullet surprise (misheard Pulitzer Prize) which many of us would recognise as the outcome when song lyrics are misheard. My favourite section of the book included the long forgotten phrases describing culinary activities such as: frushing a chicken and unlacing a rabbit.

The most disturbing find was that there is an increasing number of Australians using the expression 'Collingwood is versing Essendon' instead of versus. Younger generations when hearing the use of the word versus are mistaking it for verses, and using it accordingly - although incorrectly. I sincerely hope this doesn't take off, although since finishing this book I have heard this pronunciation at least twice, ugh!

Gift of the Gob takes a look at the language of the past and where the English language is taking us in the future, both here and abroad. My only criticism is that the book is screaming out for an Index or Table of Contents at the beginning. I was continually flicking through the book to find this or that and a Table of Contents would have been very handy.

I thoroughly recommend this to anyone with a love of words or interested in the quirky words, phrases, spellings, pronunciations and origins of our English language. This book would be perfect on any coffee table, and is fantastic to dip into from time to time but is not too much to read in one hit. Enjoy. ( )
  Carpe_Librum | Mar 10, 2011 |
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To Ross and Daniel and in memory of brother Rich
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Join Kate on a fascinating journey through English language history, as she untangles words and their meanings, and unearths the centuries of spectacular changes that have transformed the very core of our language.
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Covers everything from 'slanguage' and pronunciation to the mysteries of English spelling, punctuation and grammar.

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