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Blooming English

Blooming English
Observations on the Roots, Cultivation and Hybrids of the English Language


  • Date Published: May 2004
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521548328

£ 21.00

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About the Authors
  • English is the most creative, changeable and imaginative of languages. Some words are invented to meet temporary needs and are quickly discarded; others carry meanings hundreds of years old. Language fascinates us, and we spend a lot of time playing with it, concocting everything from puns, riddles and secret languages to wonderful prose and poetry. We also worry about it a great deal, looking up and checking words in dictionaries and usage guides, occasionally arguing about definitions. This book celebrates our capacity to play with language, as well as examining the ways we use it: in slang and jargon, swearing, speaking the unspeakable, or concealing unpleasant or inconvenient facts. It is a book for browsing, for finding beguiling snippets about language, history and social customs, and a formidable weapon in word games.

    • A book for all lovers of the English language
    • Focuses on the quirks and oddities of English and explains how they came about
    • Easy and enjoyable to read; genuinely accessible to the non-linguist
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Blooming English is easy to read, informative and entertaining … Anyone interested in the English language should get it. Enjoy!' Herald Sun

    'In Blooming English Burridge has wrested our beloved language away from fusty and pedantic linguists and championed its ability to grow and develop. Her passion for the complexities of language fuels this book and really rubbed off on me.' (publication not known)

    'Burridge observes the unruly garden of language with the dedication and wonder of a seasoned botanist. Her enthusiasm is infectious.' The Age

    'She has a wonderful ability to make quite complex linguistic issues accessible to a general audience, often with the aid of wit and humour.' Australian Book Review

    'Burridge writes 'racial and ethnic swearwords are the true obscenities. Their use is so provocative as to have legal consequences'.' The Times Literary Supplement

    '… a fascinating little book …' Writers Forum

    '… a book, which far from being a dry study in linguistics, is eminently readable and infused by a dry sense of humour.' Writing Magazine

    'Blooming English is an enjoyable browse, with fascinating insights into a wide range of questions concerning the English language. It is erudite yet light-hearted, and well informed while being accessible.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

    'Blooming English is a well-researched and neatly edited introduction into the world of linguistics for non- specialists. This is in particular due to Kate Burridge's extraordinary talent for explaining rather complicated linguistic topics in a way that is accessible to non-linguists, which is greatly facilitated by her wonderful enthusiasm … its casual style makes Blooming English excellent reading … It therefore is highly recommendable to language enthusiasts, no matter whether professional or amateur.' Robert Mailhammer, LINGUIST List

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2004
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521548328
    • length: 252 pages
    • dimensions: 217 x 139 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.363kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Why a garden?
    2. The complexity of language
    3. Language change
    4. Word creation
    5. Meaning shifts
    6. Relics of linguistic change
    7. The nature of exotics
    8. Bad language
    9. Colloquial today, Standard English tomorrow
    10. Our untidy English
    11. Sound symbolism
    12. What is correct English?
    13. Dictionaries, style guides and grammars
    14. Personal names
    15. Dirty words
    16. Taboo language

  • Author

    Kate Burridge, Monash University, Victoria
    Kate Burridge is Professor of Linguistics at Monash University. She is well known for her broadcasts on ABC Radio's Soundback.

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