Author(s): Caroline Taggart
Reference & Language | No Category
The English language is a versatile and agile thing, and as our world changes, so too does the way we use it. Aspirin, television, selfie--there was a time when these creations didn't exist, but rather than coin a completely new word to describe them, we often adopt and adapt existing words to suit new purposes, or simply put two together to form a third. New Words for Old looks at the story behind the words we use every day and how their meanings have changed over time. From technology and fashion to politics and music, our language displays centuries of imagination and creativity, so often overlooked. Tracing the development of green from the days when it was just a color, web when it was something spiders made and trolls when they were nothing more threatening than the baddies in fairy tales, this is a fascinating tour through the history of the words we use every day and demonstrates just how wide we cast the net when trying to describe something new.
A frequently entertaining journey through the history of our ever changing language, whether it be the monumental or the minute influences.
Cameron, The Book Grocer
“Caroline Taggart’s latest lexical offering — her previous books covered grammar, idioms and “words you should know” — looks at how English repurposes its existing components when up against new concepts and inventions. Taggart arranges her etymological studies in loosely thematic chapters containing individual entries on words with a few paragraphs of explanation apiece. With no overarching ideas wrapping it all up, it’s an unsatisfying read as a whole, but taken in bits you’ll feel like an instant linguistics expert. And it is a hard book to resist dipping into, if only to find out how your household “budget” owes its name to a spat between politicians in the eighteenth century”
Stephen Wood – The Guardian (JC Book Grocer)