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Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare Paperback – 23 Jul 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 1 edition (23 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019957409X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199574094
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 1.8 x 13.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 79,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

'This book will be fascinating to those who would really like to find out how the English language is behaving. Clearly written and informative, it is a lively guide to that most creative and challenging language, English' (Alexander McCall Smith)

Nice choice of words (Newsweek, 13 December 2008)

definitive guide to the evolution of English (Scottish Daily Mail, 3 November 2008)

absorbing... lively...you will find something of interest on every page (English Teaching Professional, 1 January 2009)

About the Author

Jeremy Butterfield has commissioned, compiled, and edited many major English and foreign-language dictionaries, and is a regular contributor to radio and TV discussions about questions of language use. He is particularly interested in how we all help language to evolve, and edited the Oxford A-Z of English Usage (2007).

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Born Again Cruciverbalist on 12 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read more than a dozen books about the English language by authors such a David Crystal and Henry Hitchings but this book adds even more information.

It's based on the Oxford Corpus, a database of over two billion words. It shows the most commonly used words. It outlines the origins of words and discusses changes in the spelling and meaning of words. It comments on patterns of words such as 'a sea change' and words that are commonly linked together (the word 'naked' is more often linked with 'eye', than with 'body'). There's a chapter on idiomatic phrases and others on grammar and style.

Well worth buying whether you are a novice or well versed.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By M. J. C. Griffin on 17 Dec. 2008
Format: Hardcover
What have "women and sticks" to do with "cats and dogs" ? What do "which" and "want" have in common? What is a corpus, and why does it matter ? The answers to these - and many more - questions are all to be found in this gem of a book.

Jeremy Butterfield writes with wit, style and authority on the elusive mysteries of the English language - a subject to which he has dedicated the bulk of his working life. The book is a fascinating and highly informative analysis of how our language is used and how it is evolving.

Highly recommended.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. Mason on 21 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'll admit it - one of the main factors in my purchase of this book was the amusing title and cover art, followed by the praise one of my favourite authors on the top. But despite my hasty purchase I was far from disappointed! I'm just about to start my A levels and am interested in doing linguistics at university and I found this a great introduction to that most beautiful science. The book is written in a way that is easy to understand yet not patronising and covers all the basics such as what a corpus is and why it is so important, why spelling and meaning change and why prescriptivism is doomed to failure. Thoroughly recommended to anyone interested in English/language!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By xristo on 2 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The paperback edition which I received is printed on such poor quality paper that all the text has bled quite badly, making it quite
annoying to read.
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Elena on 1 Feb. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I gave this book to my husband, who is a scientist, as a Christmas present. I was a bit doubtful whether he would enjoy it, as it is not the sort of book he would choose to read. However, it was a great success! He didn't put it down and read it all in one sitting, and often treated the rest of the family to entertaining quotes from it.
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An easy to read and most informative book that will appeal to lovers of the English language. It's a useful accompaniment to dictionaries and thesaurus.
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