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Blooming English: Observations on the Roots, Cultivation and Hybrids of the English Language Paperback – June 21, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0521548328 ISBN-10: 0521548322

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Blooming English: Observations on the Roots, Cultivation and Hybrids of the English Language + A History of the English Language
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (June 21, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521548322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521548328
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,512,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Unlike Lynne Truss, author of the bestselling Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Australian linguist Burridge sees her role regarding language as more descriptive than prescriptive. But Truss’s fans may also enjoy dipping into this look at the ever-morphing English language. Burridge’s book developed from a series of short pieces she wrote for her down-under radio show, and it’s a delightful guide to the complexities and idiosyncrasies of the English language. The author’s own prose is graceful and easygoing as she explains why Eliza Doolittle said "absobloominlutely" and not "abbloominsolutely" and how irregularities in a language "are typically relics of past regularity." Brief sidebars focus on particular illustrations of her subject, such as the 12th-century appearance of the pronoun "she" (which prevented English from having a gender-neutral third-person pronoun) and the mystery of the disappearing l (think of "calm" and "walk"). Anyone fascinated by the vagaries of English will enjoy taking a stroll in Burridge’s blooming linguistic garden.
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Review

"Unique among books about the social aspects of the English language published in this decade, this work combines an impressive breadth and depth of learning with a common touch and a readable style." Library Journal

"Popular treatments of English usage abound. But this book brings a fresh perspective to the topic drawing an analogy between 'weeds' in a garden and so-called errors of English usage. This metaphor is sustained throughout the book and really helps the reader understand that many usages that we condemn as 'weeds' (e.g. ain't or double negatives) were at one time quite ordinary members of the linguistic 'garden'." Charles F. Meyer, University of Massachusetts

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Bronny O on January 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
I had the pleasure of hearing Kate present many of her radio segments, which were always filled with intriguing snippets about the English language. Now she has made this information available to a wider public. Her writing style is very easy-going, and each chapter in the book can be dipped into individually. There were so many fascinating parts that it would be hard to single out my favourite, although the range of language used in St Valentine's Day messages was eye-opening and hilarious, and the way letters appear and disappear through the centuries was fascinating. I was taught very correct grammar and it was very interesting to discover that many of these "golden rules" have no basis for their adoption and in fact in some cases are totally wrong.

A delightful book from beginning to end.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. Bragdon on August 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
Burridge writes about linguistically interesting phenomena, but in a style that a layman reader can grasp without much difficulty. She packs each page with copius examples that run the gamut of our fascinating English language. As a linguistics instructor, I intend to hang on to this one for the clarity of its style and substance of content. As an American English speaker I also find her Australianisms very interesting!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Simon Barrett on May 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
Not without its pleasures (once upon a time we could be kempt, corrigible, ert and wieldy, and full of ruth and list - and the singular of quince, chintz and bodice was quin, chint and body!) If Richard Lederer's your wacky, over-the-toppo uncle (and he is, he is) she's a companionable, and formidably erudite, auntie - but maybe one for the 'loobry' (as she puts it on p18), not the study.

As a sample of the erudition carelessly on display (p80) coney used to be pronunced like honey (or indeed bunny) - it changed when the word (spelt cunny) became a synonym for a female body part with an uncomfortable proximity to another such term. Cunny Island, anyone? It's time we brought cock back instead of rooster, too - a fine upstanding vocable. Then there's the archaic word for fart on p50 that I can't find anywhere else (is it April 1st?) and a French dialect term stuck improbably midway between gallus (cock) and cattus (cat) and meaning either, but she doesn't tell us what it is! (Is all this going to get past the firewall, I wonder?)
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