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English, eh?

December 14, 2011

“Q & Eh : questions and answers on language with a Kiwi twist” by Laurie Bauer, Dianne Bardsley, Janet Holmes & Paul Warren.

Why is it not wrong to be doubly negative? Where do you place the stress in such words as ‘dissect’? Where does ‘wowser’, ‘craw thumper’ and the ‘f-word’ come from? Do New Zealanders mangle the English language? Should we say different ‘from’ or ‘to’ or ‘than’?

We use it every day, but what is this thing called language and are there rights and wrongs about its use? Four leading linguists, with specific interest in New Zealand English, tackle the common-place and quirky questions that arise from what we say, read and write. Funny, accessible, informative, this is a fascinating book.

Also newly arrived is the Max Cryer book “Preposterous Proverbs: why fine words butter no parsnips”.

 Max Cryer looks at a vast array of proverbs from around the world. Proverbs on birth, food, women and love rub shoulders with others on money, animals, sin and death. He has chosen some of the most interesting and perplexing, and with his characteristic wry wit he analyses their meaning and truth.

 A great book to dip into, Preposterous Proverbs will take you from Greece (‘A thousand men cannot undress a naked man’) and China (‘A dry finger cannot pick up salt’) to Japan (‘Fools and scissors must be carefully handled’) and India (‘A fat spouse is a quilt for the winter’).

These are one’s for the wordsmith in your family.

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From → New Books

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