Book of Babel: Words & the Way We See Things

 
9780756790189: Book of Babel: Words & the Way We See Things
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This extended essay-lexicon celebrates the creative confusion of the world's languages as they interact in overheard "echoic" words, muddled popular etymologies, & the misunderstandings among cultures. This book examines the amazing & amusing "category mistakes" of metaphor. Why are whitecapped waves "white horses" in English, "sheep" in French, & "little goats" in Spanish? What is the connection between birds nests, baskets, & friendship? Eggs & eyes? Focuses on a single location to show how multiple meanings arose from the mixed & immemorial activities of peasant life. Shows ancient patterns of perception & prejudice at work as well as the resourceful power of the mind to reap a rich crop of meaning from a small seedcorn of words.

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This rich, thoughtful book studies the link between word and perception and explains the powerful, sometimes strange and beautiful workings of metaphor in language and culture. The author writes: "This book subscribes to what has been called the 'strong metaphor' theory whereby metaphor, so often treated as the product of 'fancy,' is considered to be at the psychological deep core of perception. ...[M]etaphors not only arise out of perception but are formative of it." To explore this elusive thesis, the book is organized into two roughly equal parts. The first is a collection of 52 short essays in five chapters that weave together many surprisingly colorful linguistic threads involving psychology, etymology, myth, religion, art, and literature. These essays feature a delightful set of examples of metaphorical words and phrases from many languages and cultures. The second part of the book is a selective lexicon (some 150 pages long) illustrating many of the points made in the narrative. This alphabetical list examines in some depth such words as adultery, Black Maria, Cafe coronary, gossamer, pidgin, snow, walnut, and zip-fastener. For larger collections.?Paul D'Alessandro, Portland P.L., Me.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780877454960: The Book of Babel: Words and the Way We See Things

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0877454965 ISBN 13:  9780877454960
Publisher: University of Iowa Press, 1995
Softcover

9780670830800: The Book of Babel: Words and the Way We See Things

Viking, 1994
Hardcover

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Nigel Lewis
Published by Diane Pub Co (1994)
ISBN 10: 0756790182 ISBN 13: 9780756790189
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Irish Booksellers
(Portland, ME, U.S.A.)
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Book Description Diane Pub Co, 1994. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0756790182

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