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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich examination of the language of the First World War
During the next couple of years, as we approach the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, it's likely that there will be a flurry of general books and scholarly volumes on the conflict.

Trench Talk is excellent as it will appeal to both scholars and enthusiasts alike as it combines the rigour of research with a range and close observation to appeal...
Published 20 months ago by A Reader

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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars :"This puts the tin hat on it!" Donald MacGill
As a response to Partridge & Brophy's Dictionary of Songs and Slang The Daily Telegraph Dictionary of Tommies' Songs and Slang 1914-18, a reprint to a pioneering 30 year study, Peter Doyle & Julian Walker have compiled together an ex-novo glossary of terms from a multitude of original sources from the home: national dailies and weeklies, and the fighting front: regimental...
Published 18 months ago by mangilli-climpson m


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich examination of the language of the First World War, 21 Oct 2012
During the next couple of years, as we approach the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, it's likely that there will be a flurry of general books and scholarly volumes on the conflict.

Trench Talk is excellent as it will appeal to both scholars and enthusiasts alike as it combines the rigour of research with a range and close observation to appeal to all sorts of readers. In Trench Talk a military historian and a social linguist examine and reflect on how the language of the time reveals the experience of the war. Both authors are clearly fascinated by words and objects and have a shared stake in the story through their family histories.

The book is wide-ranging and the developments and changes in word usage by various parties (soldiers, newspapers, politicians, writers, diarists) are traced. Crucially the authors do not treat the period as a single point in time. Words come into and go out of use, and fascinating observations such as the changes in use of upper case for the beginnings of words, and inverted commas, show the gradual wider acceptance of and familiarity with terms.

Perhaps most interesting is the way words moved between languages, creating hybrids - English to Arabic to English, German to English, French to German - the mistranslations, and the extraordinary playing with language across No Man's Land. The authors assume no specialist knowledge from the reader in this. Instances of the differences in colloquial English over the following century are laid out, as are the paths of technical terms from Dutch, German or Italian.

With the government and the EC making a big thing of the potential of the centenary for examining identities and cementing fellowship respectively, Trench Talk's discussions of the commonality of experience expressed through language should appeal to both sets of policy-makers. A stock-text for those interested in language and the history of the war (novelist and screen-writers working on the period would really find this valuable), and a pointer for new scholarship of the subject.

At the core of Doyle and Walker's exploration is the poignant space of the unspeakable that this myriad of words circulates around, and how that silence was defined.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read for history buffs, 24 Oct 2012
This is a great book. Rather than being a sort of dictionary, the words are grouped into themes, so there is a meaningful framework. And each word is discussed, along with variations and quotations that come from a whole range of sources. Excellent for anyone interested in language, social and military history, and the first World War.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Enjoyable Read, 23 Oct 2012
Amazed that so much scholarly information could be presented in such a simple way. Doyle and Walker must be the authorities on this aspect of the First World War. There's a strong mix of enthusiasm, detail and poignancy that you don't often come across. Great reading. Can you do one on the Second World War in time for Christmas?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good book !!, 10 Jan 2013
Ignore the 3 star review, this is a very good book and it won't disappoint the reader . I recommend it to both the First World War buffs and to those who are taking an interest in the subject for the very first time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting introduction to life in the trenches and its influence on language, 27 Dec 2012
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Amazon Customer "steveastro" (Manchester UK) - See all my reviews
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A complex book, woven with anecdotes as well as data, how the English, French and German languages were influenced by the first industrial war.

Highly recommended
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars well worth anyone's time to read this, 29 Oct 2012
I just went through this saying so that's where that came from. It's amazing how many common phrases came into general use because of the First World War. A really intelligent and engaging read, where the quotes are allowed to tell much of the story. It's not so much the writers telling you things as the way they organise what they know so you feel you're involved, and almost hearing/seeing things at first hand. It's also very well put together so you get a sense of the soldiers' humour alongside the horror of war, for soldiers, survivors and the people at home. I'll feel a bit closer to what my ancestors lived through after reading this; literally; they're quoted in it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historians bible, 27 April 2013
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I love the way this book gets right at the nuances of WW1. In an unexpected way I found it an emotional read even though it is non fiction. It brought home the indefatigable nature of the British soldier with his gallows humour and 'see everything say nowt' mentality that became a vital survival mechanism.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 10 Feb 2013
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A useful book to any student of the Great War, it is an insight into the Tommy Atkins's sense of humour.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trench Talk, 31 Jan 2013
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My husband is delighted to have this little book in his collection. We have found out interesting facts that we hadn't come across before.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific book!, 30 Jan 2013
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Excellent book, it gives a great insight into words now in common language that found their origins in the Trenches of the First world War!
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