Elizabeth Knowles How to Read a Word

ISBN 13: 9780199574896

How to Read a Word

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Language is not fixed, but evolves over time, and exploring the routes taken by the words can lead us on fascinating journeys. How to Read a Word, written by the noted lexicographer Elizabeth Knowles, shows us how to explore the origins, associations, and evolution of words, focusing in particular on two points: what questions can be asked about a word? And how can they be answered?

How to Read a Word offers clear guidance on how to explore the various aspects of words, with chapters on pronunciation, spelling, date of first use, etymology, regional distribution, and meaning, all spiced with intriguing examples. For instance, Knowles offers a fascinating account of how the word "scientist" originated in a public debate in 1834, explains The Economist's jocular suggestion that "fish and chips" be spelled "ghoti and tchoghs," and weighs in on the "nuclear-nucular" controversy. Knowles also discusses the ever-expanding range of sources available to the curious word-hunter, from general and specialist dictionaries to websites devoted to areas of language, from Project Gutenberg and Google Book Search to various online newspaper archives. Knowles shows readers how to use this sometimes overwhelming mass of resources to get the best result, and how best to interpret the evidence retrieved. We learn, for example, how to use Google News to search the phrase "thin as a " as used today, uncovering hundreds of variants, from "thin as a supermodel" to "thin as a lizard."

Thought-provoking and practical, this guide provides readers with the essential tools to confidently interrogate the words by which we are surrounded. How to Read a Word is the perfect gift for anyone who is fascinated by the development and intricacies of the English language.

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About the Author:


Elizabeth Knowles is a historical lexicographer who previously worked on the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. Her editorial credits include the 7th edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, What They Didn't Say: A Book of Misquotations, and the Little Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs.

Review:


"The entirety of How to Read a Word encourages us to be thoughtful about words, to really dig and learn, and not take them for granted. It is filled with specific examples and anecdotes which serve to inform, entertain and explain many ways in which words form, are created, change and are adopted. Words and definitions are serious business. They evolve over time, passing in and out of fashion... For anyone interested in words, How to Read a Word is a very exciting read." --Jenny Williams, Wired


'How to Read a Word focuses on building linguistic self-reliance and competence a necessity in an era where there are millions of Web pages devoted to giving answers, but very few trying to teach you to ask the right questions. How to Read a Word falls firmly into the "teach a man to fish" category of language books, and those who use it wisely are sure to catch good information on their hooks.' --Erin McKean, The Boston Globe


"Wonderfully, generously, Knowles shares with us an insider's view of lexicography, placing stress on precision, accuracy and authenticity... There's nothing wrong with How to Read a Word, not at all: everything about it is right. Every literate adult should be acquainted with it; college curriculums should mandate it." --Ange Mlinko, The Nation


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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2010. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Have you ever wondered how you can find out more about a word: Where did it come from? How has its meaning altered? How can it be pronounced? What is its relationship to other words? Language is not fixed, but is an evolutionary process: words develop and change, in meaning, association, and pronunciation, as well as in many other ways. Exploring the routes taken by the words we choose to investigate leads us on fascinating journeys. How to Read a Word, written by the noted lexicographer Elizabeth Knowles, shows us how we might delve into the origins, associations, and evolution of words, and is primarily concerned with the following two points: what questions can be asked about a word? And how can they be answered? Utilising the unrivalled resources and the language-monitoring programs of the Oxford English Dictionary, the book leads you through the various stages of investigation into the myriad aspects of individual words, from etymology to date of first use and regional distribution, and from spelling and pronunciation to shifts in meaning. Supported by many examples of investigation into specific words, and featuring a full index, a wide selection of useful online resources, and reams of useful tips for avoiding common pitfalls, it is both a thought-provoking and practical handbook, providing readers with the essential tools to confidently interrogate the words by which they are surrounded. How to Read a Word is the perfect gift for anyone who is fascinated by the development and intricacies of the English language. Seller Inventory # AOP9780199574896

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2010. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Have you ever wondered how you can find out more about a word: Where did it come from? How has its meaning altered? How can it be pronounced? What is its relationship to other words? Language is not fixed, but is an evolutionary process: words develop and change, in meaning, association, and pronunciation, as well as in many other ways. Exploring the routes taken by the words we choose to investigate leads us on fascinating journeys. How to Read a Word, written by the noted lexicographer Elizabeth Knowles, shows us how we might delve into the origins, associations, and evolution of words, and is primarily concerned with the following two points: what questions can be asked about a word? And how can they be answered? Utilising the unrivalled resources and the language-monitoring programs of the Oxford English Dictionary, the book leads you through the various stages of investigation into the myriad aspects of individual words, from etymology to date of first use and regional distribution, and from spelling and pronunciation to shifts in meaning. Supported by many examples of investigation into specific words, and featuring a full index, a wide selection of useful online resources, and reams of useful tips for avoiding common pitfalls, it is both a thought-provoking and practical handbook, providing readers with the essential tools to confidently interrogate the words by which they are surrounded. How to Read a Word is the perfect gift for anyone who is fascinated by the development and intricacies of the English language. Seller Inventory # AOP9780199574896

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