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Master verbalist Richard Lederer, America's "Wizard of Idiom" (Denver Post), presents a love letter to the most glorious of human achievements...
Welcome to Richard Lederer's beguiling celebration of language -- of our ability to utter, write, and receive words. No purists need stop here. Mr. Lederer is no linguistic sheriff organizing posses to hunt down and string up language offenders. Instead, join him "In Praise of English," and discover why the tongue described in Shakespeare's day as "of small reatch" has become the most widely spoken language in history:
• English never rejects a word because of race, creed, or national origin. Did you know that jukebox comes from Gullah and canoe from Haitian Creole?
• Many of our greatest writers have invented words and bequeathed new expressions to our eveyday conversations. Can you imagine making up almost ten percent of our written vocabulary? Scholars now know that William Shakespeare did just that!
He also points out the pitfalls and pratfalls of English. If a man mans a station, what does a woman do? In the "The Department of Redundancy Department," "Is English Prejudiced?" and other essays, Richard Lederer urges us not to abandon that which makes us human: the capacity to distinguish, discriminate, compare, and evaluate.
In this collection of entertaining and enlightening essays, Lederer ( Anguished English ) celebrates language as ``incomparably the finest of our achievements'' and passes along some eloquent testimony on the emancipating power of language in the lives of Helen Keller, Richard Wright, Malcolm X, Anne Frank. Also appraised are the contributions of other writers who, ``sculpting significance from the air, have changed the world by changing the word.'' The first of these is William Shakespeare, whom Lederer identifies as the most prolific word-maker who ever lived (the Bard, it turns out, invented at least 10% of his vocabulary). Next is Samuel Johnson who, with his breakthrough dictionary, captured the majesty of English and gave it a dignity long overdue. Others include Ambrose Bierce, Lewis Carroll, Mark Twain, Emily Dickinson, T. S. Eliot, George Orwell. A delightful and edifying collection. BOMC and QPB alternates.