The Secret Life of Words: How English Became English and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
Buy Used
£2.09
FREE Delivery on orders over £10.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This book is in nice condition, clean with no missing pages and minimal markings. The pages may be slightly dog eared but overall in great shape. It is fulfilled by Amazon which means it is eligible for Amazon Prime and Super Saver Shipping.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Secret Life of Words: How English Became English Paperback – 2 Apr 2009


See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
£2.27 £0.01


Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (2 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719564557
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719564550
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 84,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

'Hitchings's excavations are a treat. He presents the best gleanings of academia in a winning, conversational style. Almost every spadeful yields an etymological nugget . . . elegantly and entertainingly written' (Financial Times)

'[It] disentangles an intriguing narrative from a mass of information, revealing the distinct cultural climates that produced certain words and bearing witness to an increasing global language, always morphing into something new' (Guardian)

'A fascinating exploration of the rich borrowings, exchanges and couplings of the language' (Ben Macintyre, The Times)

'Hitchings delves into words, resurfacing with their surprising origins' (The Times)

'It is a book that brings etymology fizzingly alive ... it teems with vivid, quirky evidence of the way the English vocabulary bears continuing witness to our cultural history' (Sunday Times)

'His book is a patient, thorough and highly entertaining excavation' (Sunday Times)

'Hitchings's examples cover the full span of English' (Observer)

'Expert analysis ... this is a wonderfully well-organised and entertaining book, which thoroughly deserved to win last year's John Llewellyn Rhys Prize' (Daily Mail)

'Hitchings has teased out the stories lurking behind the language to provide a most satisfying whole' (Publishing News)

'Much more than a collage of etymological trivia, this is a dense and thorough excavation of the stories that lie behind the words we say' (Metro)

'Quite how Hitchings has managed to wrestle this dizzying mountain of dense information into such an elegant narrative . . . is a feat almost as admirable as that of the great lexicographer. His book is painstakingly detailed, closely argued and suffused with a contagious enthusiasm for the secrets woven into the fabric of our words (Daily Telegraph)

'Hitchings steps deftly round the traps and the stereotypes, while throwing up great clouds of delicious trivia' (Peter Robins, Daily Telegraph)

'Filled with fascinating nuggets' (Independent)

'A thrilling narrative history of our uniquely beautiful and thriving language' (Catholic Herald)

'Comprehensive guide ... with countless revelations and world-related trivia, this is the often surprising story of the words we take for granted' (Heritage)

'This is a hugely informative and non-academic account' (Sunday Tribune)

'Fascinating subject ... a detailed, comprehensive study ...there are lots of surprises, and the author's enthusiasm is infectious. An entertaining and informative read' (Shropshire Star)

Much more interesting than a simple dictionary of etymology (Writing Magazine)

Marvellous, scholarly and beautifully written, quite the best of its kind I have read in years ... wise and witty (Oldie)

'Wonderfully detailed history ... a rich and rewarding read' (Good Book Guide)

'The author's deliverings reveal much that intrigues about our history and about our social environment' (This England)

Book Description

Journey into the history of English and discover how words have been absorbed into our language to make it what it is today.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Petra on 23 Feb 2009
Format: Hardcover
Wow! Chanced across this book and thought it sounded good, but it is far better than that! If you have ever wondered about the origin of words in English, want to know which words come to us via where (and often when and why!) or what a calque is (makes you think twice about your mortgage!) then consider this book: it's word trivia galore! Very readable, easy to reference, highly enjoyable and absolutely fascinating.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
47 of 53 people found the following review helpful By James Renals on 19 Aug 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Has a comprehensive bibliography for future research, and two sets of indicies so can be used as a text book. However you can also read it as a story book. I was surprised just how fascinating the history and development of the concepts behind each of the words described turned out to be.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Winslow on 6 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback
The Secret Life of Words: How English Became English (Paperback) give a brilliant account of hoe and when the various words that were introduced into the English language and also how that langusge changed and adopted including non-Englisg words into every day use. It is surprising thh amount of words that were introduced. This is a good book for the study ot the development of the Englaih language
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By can55 on 9 Jan 2012
Format: Paperback
I bought this book as a Christmas present for my Dad, and he loves it. I would recommend it to others.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Thornely-taylor on 18 Feb 2009
Format: Hardcover
Much more than words - a tour round English history through the medium of our language. Very readable and disappointing to finish!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. T. Begum on 22 Nov 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Oh dear..unfortunately this was a dreadful book that I couldnt complete. Whole chapters went by and the author kept droning on and on and on endlessly.

This was one destined for my charity pile.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By S. R. Boxall on 6 July 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book with interesting insights to our language in England
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Product as stated. Good value for money and swiftly delivered. The book itself is endlessly fascinating and the author writes with great clarity.Thank you very much.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews



Feedback