"Adams' theories are brilliant, and he draws on a startlingly diverse universe to illustrate his points, leaping without apparent effort from Chaucer to stamp collectors; from snowboarders to UPS drivers; from T.S. Eliot to Charles Dickens; from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
to The Simpsons
. With a love of the subject matter and a glorious grasp of the language, he carries you effortlessly from one big idea to another. What a book!"
--Tom Dalzell, editor of The Routledge Dictionary of Modern American Slang and Unconventional English
"A lively and engaging look at English slang and its multitudinous forms."
--Ben Zimmer, The Visual Thesaurus
"The depth of the argumentation and the richness of the writing and the archive make Slang
a text that is at once highly readable and theoretically productive."
--Phillip M. Carter, Language in Society
"Michael Adams's Slang
is not a collection of words but an examination of the scope and function of slang in our language and our lives. It's scholarly yet highly readable--just as you would expect from the author of Slayer Slang
--Jan Freeman, Boston Globe
"Brilliant.... Adams' theory of slang as a poetic device is truly insightful."--Semiotica
"This is an intelligent book, executed with passion. Slang
offers important comment and documentation on an aspect of our culture that is very often overlooked."--January Magazine
"Book length studies (as opposed to dictionaries) of slang are few and far between, so with this volume Adams has done scholars, students, and aficionados of slang a great service. Adams has a knack for illuminating both linguistic ephemera and its underlying principles. Speaking to the general reader, the author uses linguistic jargon sparingly, puts scholarly observations in everyday terms, and illustrates key ideas with in-depth examples rather than drive-by word citations. This book is a must for libraries and lovers of language. Essential." --CHOICE
"[A] lively and informative book."--Library Journal
"Slang is the wink-wink, nudge-nudge of language. It gives the illusion (and creates the impression) that it is all, like, edgy and cazh, but Michael Adams shows it is much more than just flash and trash. This book puts slang near the center of human language, and our journey to it is, as Jo said in Little Women
(1868) 'fun, and no grubbage.'"--Richard W. Bailey, Professor of English Language and Literature, University of Michigan
"Slang: The People's Poetry
takes the study of slang well beyond words and phrases and into the discursive functions as well as the cognitive underpinnings of slang. Adams' knowledge of high culture and low culture as well as his careful observation of contemporary language use make his analysis of slang fresh and appealing to twenty-first century readers."--Connie Eble, Professor of English, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill