Posted: Feb 08, 2022 8:56 am
by don't get me started
1. Cognitive Discourse Analysis: An introduction - Thora Tenbrink
2. Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender And Identity- And Why This Harms Everybody – Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay
3. A History of the World in 12 Maps – Jerry Brotton

4. Origins of the Specious: Myths and Misconceptions of the English Language – Patricia T. O’Connor & Stewart Kellerman


A quick and breezy tour through some of the common myths about English words and expressions, revealing some of the idiocy, make believe and downright lies told about English. The pronouncements of (usually self-appointed) language “authorities” are given short shrift and the actual etymology and history of English words and phrases is explained in an accessible and conversational manner. The baleful influence of earlier authorities who tried their best to make a Germanic foot fit into a Latin shoe is revealed for the self-aggrandizing piffle it was, as well as some of the more modern missteps and just so stories.

There was an interesting chapter on the origins of taboo words. The author deals familiarly with 'cunt' and doesn’t hedge or obfuscate (There is a nice anecdote about the Queen Mum visiting Newcastle. The Lord mayor got tongue tied during a trip to the waterfront to see the punts and canoes; “In the excitement, his tongue got tangled and he called her attention to “the colorful cunts and panoes.” After a short silence, the Queen Mum replied: “What exactly is a panoe?” (p.79)

There was a lot here that was familiar to me (like the great Eskimo snow hoax) and also a lot of new stuff on the nooks and crannies of this chaotic and willful thing called English.