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Customer Review

11 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Non-answers to questions, 20 Aug. 2009
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This review is from: Why is Q Always Followed by U?: Word-Perfect Answers to the Most-Asked Questions About Language (Hardcover)
In this book, as in the author's previous book, Port Out, Starboard Home the answer to many (most?) of the questions is "I don't know." I found it irritating to continually read about hypotheses that turned out to be wrong, only to come up with a blank in the end. I don't buy linguistic works to plough through people's guesswork. Either say outright "Nobody knows," and leave it at that, or (better) don't include the item in the book at all. I know there are those who think that faulty legends and false etymologies are "interesting." In fact, they display a lack of critical thought, and a misunderstanding of the necessity for evidence.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Jul 2011 16:53:07 BDT
Sometimes the journey is more interesting than the destination.

You display a misunderstanding of the necessity for evidence of and critical thought about other people's guesswork.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Oct 2012 16:01:10 BDT
You completely miss the point.

"I don't buy linguistic works to plough through..." ... bunkum, hearsay and under-researched 'facts & trivia' that appear to be copied from e-mail chains. I want to read books on word and phrase history that provide investigations and give full explanations.

It doesn't matter if we are yet to find the true etymology of a word or phrase; I'm more than pleased to see claptrap from other books disproved.

Posted on 25 Feb 2016 13:42:43 GMT
Martynrb says:
As someone who finds faulty legends (is there such a thing as a true legend?) and false etymologies interesting, I did find some of your remarks patronising - but I would still magnanimously defend you against the two responses to your comment because I still agree that a book of "answers" that largely consist of "I don't know" is pretty irritating.
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