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Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation par [Shea, Ammon]
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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

“In Bad English, Ammon Shea wastes no time challenging widely held beliefs about just what English is bad. His subtitle, “A History of Linguistic Aggravation,” gets in an opening jab at sticklers like me, who know that “irritate” means annoy while “aggravate” means “make worse.” Shea, having read the OED to write Reading the OED, is well qualified to tell us we probably don’t know as much as we think we do.”
—Washington Post

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

"Readworthy."
—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:

Decimate
Hopefully
Enormity
That/which
Enervate/energize
Bemuse/amuse
Literally/figuratively
Ain’t Irregardless
Socialist
OMG
Stupider

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.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1846 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 274 pages
  • Editeur : TarcherPerigee; Édition : Reprint (3 juin 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00G3L1BBW
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
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Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5 50 commentaires
24 internautes sur 24 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 Amazon.com
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.
17 internautes sur 19 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 Amazon.com
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.
9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Yes, a Discussion of English Grammar can be Enjoyable 30 juillet 2014
Par Kevin J. Ashley - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
As one who considers himself expert in the use of English grammar, I have been prone to turning my nose up at the use of "impact" as a verb or grinding my teeth when I hear someone say "ektcetera". But after reading over Mr. Shea's most amiable discussion of the advantages of a malleable and diverse language and the development over time of English words, their meanings, and their changed meanings I am less apt to "snoot" (to coin a word, i.e. to be snooty about misuse of English words). Mr. Shea shows through examples that English survives and becomes universal because of its ability to change and that there is no original English to fall back upon for justification of restrictive rules. I chortled throughout, especially when I recognized myself in those who would state absolutes. I particularly enjoyed the references to style guides from the 19th century that called words I think of as "everyday" today abominations. Short read, good travel book. And great for starting conversations with others.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Really informative 4 août 2014
Par Jaclyn - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
3 1/2 stars. This book presents a lot of information about grammar, and I really enjoyed that the author was objective in presenting various words, phrases, or rules that some view as correct or incorrect. It presented a lot of information, and then told "both sides" of the argument for or against that rule, including the history behind many rules or arguments. The only drawback, to me, was that I thought it could have been organized a bit better. I thought some of the chapters or way things were presented was a bit confusing, and that it could have probably been presented in a better way. This was really informative, and I enjoyed a lot of the history and background that was offered, in addition to the various rules and topics addressed.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 "Nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so 24 août 2014
Par John R Grater - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
This is a book that should be read by all English teachers and anyone who likes language. The author gives many examples of "bad English" usage that were the whim of one or more language critics that were unaware of the history of the word. Some examples of "bad English" actually predate "good English". Despite the facts, some readers will remain uncomfortable with some usage, but he reminds us that a living language is constantly changing---otherwise we would still be speaking Old English. As Shakespeare wrote, "Nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so."
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