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26 Reviews
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Filthy English: The how, why, when and what of everyday swearing.
Absolutely fascinating book. Full of very detailed descriptions of how certain words originated and what seemingly inoccuous words they are contected to. There is so much information packed into this book that I'm only reading about four pages a night - it is so enjoyable as well. It's not a light or silly read - more quite a serious look at language with some light...
Published on 13 Feb 2011 by Penny Lane

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3.0 out of 5 stars Promising but with too much suckiness in the end (nudge, nudge)
This is the kind of book you initially want to like, but in the end it falls short of the mark. The main problem is the author - he is a tad too full of himself and has not done his research very well. The author admits to not being someone who is trained to know stuff about languages and their use, yet it doesn't stop him from venting all sorts of little theories about...
Published 18 days ago by Dr Dombo


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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pedestrian, 2 Mar 2013
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Peter Silverton is a journalist who cut his hacking teeth on writing about punk music and interviewing the likes of the Sex Pistols. So he's in a good position to know something about foul language. He takes us on a journey through the development and use of the whole gamut of swearing: what the words are, what they actually mean, where they come from, when did they arrive and how has their meaning changed over time.

We're taken on various journeys. Not just that of language used on the street or in the pub; nor just that written (or more usually not written) in the papers, dictionaries and books, but right across the spectrum of language use including pop music, TV and radio.

Having said that the book is a bit of a mix. Some chapters approach the subject from the point of view of the content: sex, genitals, excretion, family relations, sexuality. But others approach it from the direction of the medium: music, newspapers, football etc. I found this split approach rather unnecessary and repetitive. Intertwined with this there are, however, some interesting diversions into the relationship of our swearwords with those of other languages.

Despite my interest in language I have to admit I found the book slightly tedious going. Yes, for someone interested in language, it was interesting in parts. But I found Silverton's style somewhat pedestrian, stodgy and very "same-y". I also wanted more detail; greater depth.

This is a book to interest the averagely intelligent reader, which is actually no bad thing. It is not a book for someone with a deep interest the English language and a thirst for esoteric knowledge.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good fun, 25 Jun 2014
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Mrs. J. E. Murphy "Asor" (Bristol) - See all my reviews
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I thought this was highly educational. I love words and it was good fun. i dipped into it before giving it as a present. I gave it four starts because I had no feed-back from the recipient.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Boring, even for someone with a degree in English., 15 Jun 2014
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Jennifer May (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Filthy English: The How, Why, When And What Of Everyday Swearing (Kindle Edition)
This book started really well, managing to be informative and hilarious at the same time, but a few chapters in began to drag a little, and seem a little more textbook-y than reading-for-fun-y. As I have only just finished my English language degree, I was looking for some light-hearted, but informative, fun and Silverton unfortunately did not deliver. Good for someone who's looking for something drier.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Repetitive, 12 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Filthy English: The How, Why, When And What Of Everyday Swearing (Kindle Edition)
This book, I thought, would expand my appreciation of the "lower" forms of the English language in which I am quite interested. It fulfilled that aspect but could probably have been done in half the length.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best cover of a book, ever!, 22 May 2014
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This review is from: Filthy English: The How, Why, When And What Of Everyday Swearing (Kindle Edition)
A very entertaining book on swearing. All the naughty words are there, their etymology and how they have come into and out of fashion. It points out how swearing has changed in different periods. Words that we see as crude and bad were once common place and descriptive. Going back in time, it was religious or blasphemy words that were most offensive and could lead to extreme punishment if uttered. Then came sexual words, particularly those referring or describing women's parts strangely, and finally in the present, racially derogative words. Most of the words in themselves don't really mean a lot ( Bloody referred to God's blood on the cross and was looked on as blasphemous whereas now it's almost a children's swear word, and the N word is only derived from Spanish for Black, after all), but the connotations brought to the words make them offensive in their own time.
The book is written in a very easy style and I found it very informative. One that you can dip into any time and reread.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected, 13 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Filthy English: The How, Why, When And What Of Everyday Swearing (Kindle Edition)
I have found it hard to get into, started off promisingly and failed to capture my interest after a few pages.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Filthy English, 27 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Filthy English: The How, Why, When And What Of Everyday Swearing (Kindle Edition)
A very interesting read with many surprises when considering the origins of some of the words. Many words which we consider recent have in fact been in use for many years.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Too much waffle, not enough content, 6 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Filthy English: The How, Why, When And What Of Everyday Swearing (Kindle Edition)
I found there was too much lengthy exposition of the dervations of certain words including anecdotes that seemed more like name dropping exercises than relevant to the topic. I found myself paging forward to try and find some content other than the derivation of the f-word which does dominate the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good history, 1 Dec 2013
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I bought this for my boss as she swears a lot. It gives the reader a history of where each swear word began, and is quite humorous at times. Would recommend this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Toilet talk., 27 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Filthy English: The How, Why, When And What Of Everyday Swearing (Kindle Edition)
Very informative and well written. I liked it! Especially the non English words of which I know a few, well researched. Good job and a recommended read for avid swearers.
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