Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare

Paperback | August 23, 2009

byJeremy Butterfield

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How many words are there in the English language and where were they born? Why does spelling 'wobble' and why do meanings change? How do words behave towards each other - and how do we behave towards words? And what does this all mean for dictionary-making in the 21st century?This entertaining book has the up-to-date and authoritative answers to all the key questions about our language. Using evidence provided by the world's largest language databank, the Oxford English Corpus, Butterfield exposes the English language's peculiarities and penchants, its development anddifficulties, revealing exactly how it operates. Interpolating his expert knowledge of dictionary-making, Butterfield explains how dictionaries decide which words to include, how they find definitions, and how a Corpus influences the process. Whether you are happy to give the language free rein (free reign?), or whether you are more straight-laced (strait-laced?) when it comes to change, you will be amazed at what is revealed when the English language goes buck naked. (Or should that be butt naked?)

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From the Publisher

How many words are there in the English language and where were they born? Why does spelling 'wobble' and why do meanings change? How do words behave towards each other - and how do we behave towards words? And what does this all mean for dictionary-making in the 21st century?This entertaining book has the up-to-date and authoritative ...

Jeremy Butterfield has commissioned, compiled, and edited many major English and foreign-language dictionaries, and is a regular contributor to radio and TV discussions about questions of language use. He is particularly interested in how we all help language to evolve, and edited the Oxford A-Z of English Usage (2007).

other books by Jeremy Butterfield

Fowler's Concise Dictionary of Modern English Usage
Fowler's Concise Dictionary of Modern English Usage

Kobo ebook|Mar 10 2016

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:192 pages, 8.27 × 5.31 × 0.03 inPublished:August 23, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019957409X

ISBN - 13:9780199574094

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Table of Contents

A sea change: The Corpus1. Size matters: How many words?2. Your Roman-Saxon-Danish-Norman-English: Where do words come from?3. Beware of heard: Why spelling wobbles4. Which is to be master? Meaning in context5. Words of a feather: Word groupings6. Cats and dogs: Idiomatic phrases7. Grammar that can govern even kings: What do we mean by grammar?8. Style wars: Usages people hateDictionaries then and nowNotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"absorbing... lively...you will find something of interest on every page" --English Teaching Professional, 1 January 2009