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Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation
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Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation [Format Kindle]

Ammon Shea

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"Language is funny, and so is Ammon Shea. His excellent new book tours our irrational prejudices about language, showing that an appreciation for the quirks and ironies of language history can put our understanding on a firmer basis and restore our sense of humor."
-David Skinner, author of The Story of Ain't

"On the playground of language, there is no more mischievous laddie than Ammon Shea. I plan to use his new book to split the lip of the next insufferable language prig who saunters into my office to accuse me of bad English."  
-Roy Peter Clark, author of The Glamour of Grammar and How to Write Short

Praise for Reading the OED:

"Oddly inspiring...Shea has walked the wildwood of our gnarled, ancient speech and returned singing incomprehensible sounds in a language that turns out to be our own."
-Nicholson Baker, New York Times Book Review

"Delicious...a lively lexicon."
-O, The Oprah Magazine

-William Safire, The New York Times Magazine

“Shea, an avid collector of words, displays an assortment for our pleasure as he wends his way through the alphabet.”
-The Boston Globe

Présentation de l'éditeur

The author of Reading the OED presents an eye-opening look at language “mistakes” and how they came to be accepted as correct—or not.

English is a glorious mess of a language, cobbled together from a wide variety of sources and syntaxes, and changing over time with popular usage. Many of the words and usages we embrace as standard and correct today were at first considered slang, impolite, or just plain wrong.

Whether you consider yourself a stickler, a nitpicker, or a rule-breaker in the know, Bad English is sure to enlighten, enrage, and perhaps even inspire. Filled with historic and contemporary examples, the book chronicles the long and entertaining history of language mistakes, and features some of our most common words and phrases, including:








Ain’t Irregardless




Lively, surprising, funny, and delightfully readable, this is a book that will settle arguments among word lovers—and it’s sure to start a few, too.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.7 étoiles sur 5  11 commentaires
19 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The language books usually are not too interesting, while going through this one you’ll have a great time 5 juin 2014
Par Denis Vukosav - Publié sur
The books that teach language usually are not too interesting, to put it politely, instead of saying boring or tiresome. ‘Bad English’ by Ammon Shea certainly does not fall into this category, although out of it reader will learn a lot, but equally important – have a great time.

This is the first book I read from this author (didn’t read his ‘Reading the OED’) and as not native speaker, using Shea book I managed to learn a lot about many “mistakes” in English I didn’t knew earlier, which now became more or less accepted as correct.

On the book pages author tries to give a background on history of English language, describing the ways how the language slowly developed, using numerous sources and constantly changing through the long times of its usage.

Reading it, it is possible to learn about many modern and common English words these days that you would never say that they were treated as a misspelling or considered indecent, but due to the author style who provided his story in an interesting way, offering numerous examples, these three hundred pages will fly.

Therefore all recommendations to this funny but also educational work with which certainly will not be bored.
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Why is it we English speakers can't seem to nail down exactly what good grammar is? 18 juin 2014
Par Sharon Isch - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
In his latest language book, Ammon Shea, the author of "Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages," looks into the "history of linguistic aggravation." Take, for example, the confusing history of the apostrophe and the seven ways we can use it... the pros and cons of splitting infinitives... a history of "ain't" and the many ways "like" is used and abused. There's also a chapter on words that are not words, like "stupider," "irregardless" and "preventative." And sins of grammar--for example, turning a noun like "impact" into a verb or "fun" into an adjective. So why, unlike with other languages, doesn't there exist a regulating body to "guard English against the pernicious efforts of foreigners, poets and teenagers, all of whom seek to render it impure?" Shea tackles that question, too.

The author ends his book with a quiz: Of 14 quotations he lists, he challenges us to pick which are by Shakespeare and which come from the disparate world of hip-hop/rap. Sounds easy? Don't be so sure.

There's also a list of 221 words now in common use that were once frowned upon, along with who said so and why. Among them: awful, balding, bogus, bus, coincidence, date, debut, donate, fine, fun, funny, happening, healthy, hectic, hopeful, hurry, ice cream, invite, lovely, nice, rotten, sick, thanks, vest, upcoming, zoom.

A good read. Useful, too.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A fun debunking of "proper" speech 28 juin 2014
Par John E. Mack - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
There are two schools of thought among lexicographers and grammarians -- prescriptivists and descriptivists. The prescriptivists think that their profession includes guidance on speaking and writing "proper" English. The descriptivists believe that their job is just to describe how English is actually used. Most lexicographers and grammarians are a little bit of both. Shea tilts very much toward the descriptivist end of the spectrum -- I can only think of one place where he finds a usage to be improper. Along the way, he debunks prescriptivist claims about the improper or unhistorical nature of many words and word usages, such as "ain't," "compact," dangling prepositions, split infinitives, inappropriate apostrophes, etc. His researches into word history are learned and extraordinary, and effectively demolishe claims that certain disfavored usages are new or unattested in good authors. Furthermore, the book is a fun read. He uses humor to demonstrate that staid and proper grammarians do not know what they are talking about. His central thesis seems to be that there is no one such thing as "good English."

One could wish for a little more reflection from Shea, however. Like anything which evolves over time, language changes because more useful locutions drive out older, less useful ones. How does this happen, and why? Linguist evolution requires two things -- a certain degree of stability of usage, or people could not understand each other at all, and a certain degree of change, or language could not adapt to new conditions. It seems to me that Shea underplays the role of the former. Language serves many functions, but surely the most important of them is intelligibility. Change words and usage too fast and people cannot understand each other: indeed, one of the tactics used by "in groups" is to modify language in ways sufficiently radically that they cannot be understood by the general public. How much "incorrect" usage -- i.e. linguistic change -- can a language tolerate before it becomes another language? Why does language change? Is there an overall pattern to linguistic change, or are its changes purely arbitrary? Shea touches on such questions, but does so lightly and in passing. It would be beneficial if he would write another, more philosophical, book that address these deeper questions. Still, a very good book and an excellent introduction to issues confronting language and its usages.
8 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 a delight! 8 juin 2014
Par pmata1 - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
So i barely started reading this and i cant put it down. Literally. Hopefully you will enjoy this read as much as me!
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 I very much enjoyed this book 9 juillet 2014
Par S. R. Nash - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I very much enjoyed this book. Granted, I do love grammar, but I think this book will appeal to a wide range of folks. In the last chapter, there is a list of words that, at some time or another, were disfavored by grammarians, along with quotes from those grammarians. I started reading some of the choice words from that list out loud to my mother and brother, who are definitely not grammar lovers, and they were quite entertained. It's also a super short read with a lot of fun snark.
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