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The Chronology of Words and Phrases: A Thousand Years in the History of English [Hardcover]

L. Flavell , R.H. Flavell
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Sep 1999 1856262499 978-1856262491
After reaching America, Columbus introduced Europe to new foodstuffs such as chilli and chocolate - and the words that described them. Pope Boniface VIII proclaimed the first "jubilee" in 1300, and Francis Bacon published the first "essay" in 1597. The Normans gave us the "feudal system" and "curfews", while the flourishing of Dutch art in the 17th century introduced "easels", "etchings" and "landscapes". Thus, throughout history, events great and small have left their mark on the way we speak. Starting from 1066 and working through to the present-day boom in techno-speak, this book links hundreds of words with the historical upheavals and minor social changes which gave them life.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Kyle Cathie (30 Sep 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1856262499
  • ISBN-13: 978-1856262491
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 17.1 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,821,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'A treasure trove for any wordsmith.' -- Writing Magazine

'This beguiling volume.... There is abundant evidence of the human knack of practical and linguistic inventiveness.' -- Times Literary Supplement --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

Linda and Roger Flavell combine scholarly accuracy with a clear understanding of the oddities of language that delight the browser. This is a word book for historians, a history book for wordsmiths, and a constant source of fascination for anyone with a love of English. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars enormous fun for anyone interested in words. 25 Nov 2001
By A Customer
This book takes an approach to word origins that I have never come across before. It starts with the historical event - from the Norman Conquest to the invention of the worldwide web - and shows how the event introduced words and phrases into English. Did you know that Anglo-Saxon castles had no dungeons and no belfries? So when the Normans came and built castles with dungeons and belfries, there were no English words for them. And to this day we use the Norman words. And there is the same sort of thing about the invention of the umbrella, the first clock, the first panorama ... it all adds up to the most fascinating dip-into words book I have read in a long time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars history all around 27 Jan 2002
By A Customer
Do not be put off by the matter of fact title- this is a fascinating book on how our history has influenced our vocabulary since the days of the Norman invasion. Whether you decide to dip into it or read it straight through in chronological order, you are bound to go away with lots of great nuggets of information on history and etymology.
The book presents 120 or so important events in British and world history, and then links these to a collection of word histories. Picked at random, it gives the history of the Mapa Mundi at Hereford cathedral and explains how the words map, napkin, nappy and apron are all linked, before going on to show the long drawn out process that changed the Arabic term amir-al-muminim (commander of the faithful) into the English word 'admiral'.
Apart from being a great bedside table/ rush hour train read, explanations such as these can help teachers explain vocabulary and make it memorable to their students, both language learners and native-speakers, and install a love of language for its own sake. Personally, as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language with may years of experience, this book has helped me regain an interest in the subject of my own language.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brief and interesting read 25 Mar 2002
By R. Riis - Published on Amazon.com
A chronology of historic events, 1066 to present, in the English-speaking world and the words that derive from or were changed by these events. The events and words are rather selective -- it is after all a fairly slim book -- but it is well-written and enjoyable for historians and etymologists alike. A better browser than reference tool and accordingly recommended as such.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stimulating discussion of English origins 24 April 2002
By Gontroppo - Published on Amazon.com
As a previous reviewer stated, this book will disappoint you if you are looking for a definitive list of English word origins. But once you accept its eclectic nature, you will love it, if you have an interest in words.
The Flavells trace the history of many common words in an entertaining manner. It is amazing how a word can come from an ancestor which is little like it, or have a current meaning that is very different from its meanings in other times.
Highly recommended for lovers of language.
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