Words Fail Me Hardcover – 22 May 2006
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"A book that gently subverts and questions the art of expression... Filled with gentle humour and genuinely interesting anachronisms of the English language, all set in Monachino's immaculate typography."―Design Week
This lively and informative new title was originally inspired by the author's Italian mother and her struggles with the vagaries of the English language. Over the years the author has tried to correct her attempts and explain why the word she has chosen is incorrect, only to be baffled herself by the lack of logic within those explanations. English is full of contradictions and peculiarities (not counting such dull grammatical inconsistencies as 'i before e except after c', which are really no fun at all) and hoodwinks us into believing one thing while meaning something quite different. In English, all is not what it seems and with this book the author has brought these illogical oddities to the fore. Questions of spelling, pronunciation or the blatantly nonsensical are illustrated through clever visual representations that are created entirely through artfully manipulated typography.This playful and sometimes hilarious text sorts the homonyms from the heteronyms and introduces the 'antigram' (demonstrating how the swift shuffle of certain letters can create words that entirely contradict the first: honestly becomes on the sly, earliest becomes rise late and, fabulously, Elvis = lives!). Monachino goes on to demand an explanation from all those tricky little words that are spelt the same and pronounced the same, but yet have utterly different meanings, while highlighting a few of life's petty pleonasms and showing off some quite excellent tautologies. A gaggle of one-word oxymorons shines the spotlight on words that harbour contradictory words within them and the final section provides a note on inadvisable hyphenation, which is a useful disco-very, but perhaps not the best place to beg-in. Because of the linguistic nature of this title there will be a American English edition. See all Product description
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For anyone interested in words at all, this is an extremely interesting little book. Teresa Monachino was really inspired when she wrote it - it has very few pages with only one word or sentence to a page; some of these pages specify the difference in words that are spelt the same or in some cases words/sentences which mean the opposite of what they imply. There is so much more to this little book but I felt it was very much worth the small amount of money that I spent on it.
OK, I spent less than ten minutes reading it but surely the visual presentation will keep me occupied for longer? If only. Nearly all of the pages are designed in a very minimalist way, one typeface (17 point Gill Sans I fancy) and mostly in this size. Because so many of the examples are a word or two on each page there is plenty of empty space throughout the book. As the author is a designer I would have thought this would have been the ideal editorial format to have the contents displayed in a much more creative way. Herb Lubalin would have had such fun!
This is really the kind of item that a trendy ad boutique would give away as a Christmas keepsake to its clients rather than a book to buy.
***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.
I wasnt quite sure what to expect, dissapointed at first i began to flick through the pages not really paying attention to its content, as i began to read an understand the meanings i found myself fascinated by the simple ideas regardin anagrams, or breaking up words to reveal contradictory words. for a small book, i find it the most picked up and talked about of my collection.
Worth a read.. and worth every penny..