WORD DETECTIVE: A Life in Words from Serendipity to Selfie


WORD DETECTIVE: A Life in Words from Serendipity to Selfie

JOHN SIMPSON    Book Number: 88056    Product format: Paperback

BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, first time discounted. John Simpson was a key figure in the editorial team that rescued the Oxford English Dictionary from obsolescence and ensured its ongoing relevance. They took on the considerable task of bringing the OED online and have transformed it from an historical monument to an indispensable record of our living language. In similar fashion, this funny, insightful book is part social history, part dictionary history, and part personal history with beguiling etymologies interwoven. Language is always changing. No one knows where it is going but the best way to future-cast is to look at the past. Simpson animates for us a tradition of researching and editing, showing us both the technical lexicography needed to understand a word, and the careful poetry needed to construct its definition. He splices his stories with entertaining and erudite diversions into the history and origin of such words as kangaroo, hot-dog, pommie, and bicycle, not ignoring those swear words often classed as Anglo-Saxon. In the words of Steven Pinker, 'People think of dictionaries as oracles that challenge eternal verities about The Language. In fact they are the handiwork of mortals who deliberate about how to make sense of the creative brainchild and viral fads of hundreds of millions of wordsmiths. The Word Detective is a delightful and revealing look at the human side of dictionaries, with insights galore about the nature of language.' 366pp in softback.
Published price: £9.99
Bibliophile price: £6.00


Additional product information

ISBN 9780349141008
Browse these categories as well: Word Books and Dictionaries, Biography/Autobiography

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