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Slayer Slang: A Buffy the Vampire Slayer Lexicon 1st Edition

19 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195175998
ISBN-10: 0195175999
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The cult TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which follows a California cheerleader's crusade against the undead, has spawned websites and posting boards, novels, comics and, in the academy, Buffy Studies. This volume, a glossary of the show's distinctive dialect ("Buffyspeak"), is a strange marriage of a fan guide and a linguistics textbook. Referencing the original 1992 film as well as the TV show, the almost 75 novels and novelizations based on the character, the official and unofficial web posting boards and other media associated with the "Buffyverse," the monograph comprises an affectionate but technical paean to American slang and youth culture in addition to its 150-page glossary. As a study of actuation (the origins of new words), lexical gaps (concepts without names), loose idioms, new syntactic patterns and ephemeral language in all things Buffy, the book may be slow-going for the average fan, but the glossary itself offers entertaining browsing for diehard and casual watchers of the show. "The micro-history of the word Buffy is a veritable saga," Adams writes with relish. Indeed, the glossary includes nearly 40 variations on the name: Buffyatrics (older fans of the show), Buffinator (Buffy herself or one who criticizes Buffy) and Franken-Buffy (monster in the guise of Buffy), to name just a few. Readers can also delight in a breakdown of Buffy's distinctive and amusing use of suffixes ("mathiness," "lunchable"), and its celebration of the prefix uber- ("ubernerd," "uberachiever"). Each exhaustive glossary entry includes parts of speech, etymology, definitions and illustrative quotations from magazine articles, posting boards and countless episodes (writer, date and speaker cited). Ultimately, the book is for a very niche audience of Slayer-obsessed linguists-other readers may be baffled by this blend of academia and pop-culture mania.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"If you're curious about the word 'ubersuck,' or just want to remember which episode you first heard it in, this is the place to look. As Buffy would say, it is not uncool."--Kansas City Star

"While we were caught up in the drama of the battles against the undead...linguist Michael Adams was concentrating on the words. Slayer Slang is a combination dictionary of slayer slang/guide to the Buffyverse/textbook. Just consider it another sign Buffy will live forever."--Sacramento Bee

"Even if you never watched the show, Slayer Slang provides major clueage about the formation of slang terms in general. Slang, after all, is where language vrooms and vibes--or, in the case of Buffy, where it vamps."--Hartford Courant

"In applying linguistic analysis to the show, Adams not only shows how brilliant and innovative the writing was but also its toggling relationship to and influences upon popular culture."--Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

"Will satisfy the inner geek of a Buffy fan."--Kansas City Star


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (November 18, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195175999
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195175998
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.7 x 5.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By J. Roberts VINE VOICE on September 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I can sum up the first 125 pages of this book as follows: Slayer slang is very creative, occasionally rebellious, and slang should be appreciated for what it is.
Michael Adams makes these three points repeatedly and often, giving case after case after case for each one. It's not a bad thing to make a point strongly, but making it repetitively gets a little tiresome.
Still, the prose flows well, and his arguments are clear and well-put, so it's not as though it's simply a hundred pages of retreaded material. Adams' points may well be new ones to the ears of some, and in that case the essays are definitely worth the read.
Of course, that leaves us with almost 200 pages of glossary, the part of the book that provides us with the most useful and most interesting information. The entries are formatted clearly, providing plenty of quotation to put the words in context, and the selection is broad, covering not only the episodes, but also the original movie, the Bronze message boards, newspaper and magazine articles and books and graphic novels.
I wouldn't count this as a "must-have" for hardcore fans of the show, as they either know the words already or don't need a hardcover glossary to catch up. This book is most useful for people with a casual interest in linguistics and the show, as well as those who are just interested in slang and its place in modern society.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If the question is posed as to whether "Slayer Slang: A `Buffy the Vampire Slayer' Lexicon" by Michael Adams will introduce more fans of the late lamented cult television series to the study of philology or send more philologists to check out the series on DVD and/or in syndication, then I would have to cast my vote for the first option. Hopefully, fans will recognize that their enjoyment of slang on "BtVS" has always entailed an appreciation of the presentation and analysis of the peculiar use of language on the various episodes and related paperback novels, all of which are now rendered as "texts" in this academic endeavor by Adams.
The first half of the volume presents what are essentially a series of essays. "Slayer Slang" looks at both the series as a phenomenon and the role that both slayer jargon (words peculiar to the occupation of being a slayer) and slayer slang (the pointed way in which Buffy and the Scoobies speak, with all their attendant pop culture references) in establishing the show's successful slayer style. If you can follow how slayer jargon can turn into slayer slang, then you are holding your own on the academic side of the equation. But the success here is in the details, and when Adams explains how Faith's idiosyncratic slang differs from Xander and the others most readers should be able to appreciate the analysis. "Making Slayer Slang" covers the attraction of prefixes and the happy endings provided by using suffixes, with Adams become absolutely wistful as he covers the impressive number of words contributed to the lexicon by using "-age" as a hyperactive suffix.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amy Weihmann on June 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I am not a huge Buffy fan (I've just seen the last couple of seasons) but I got this as a present and it's GREAT. You really get a feel for how English is changing and how tv shows like Buffy are pushing the boundaries of our language.
There's a lot of information here but it's not hard to read. I read a lot of it straight through. I thought I was pretty strict about "correct grammar" but this guy makes some really good points about how language changes. He really won me over.
The words from the show are so funny! I'm going to use a lot of them, especially "much," like "lame much?" or "late much?"
I recommend this for anyone who likes Buffy, or for anyone who just likes words.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Emily Hall on November 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
A cool idea that repeats itself a bit too much - the explanatory chapters reiterate glossary info, and there are just a few too many source listings for most of the words. I wouldn't normally admit to reading all the Buffy tie-ins, but some of them definately aren't worth citing. There also seems to be a lot net slang included for no reason other than it "originating" on a fan related board. A nifty idea, but I'm not sure it's worth the pageage - Adams definately comes across as an overzealous fan.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I'm a big fan of the show (I guess that means I'm a Buffyholic) and this book sums up why. The writers are so playful with language, and by incoporating youth culture slang and morphing it into Buffyspeak they bring an authenticity to the show. A sense of the real. And that's saying something for a show about vampires. I love how serious the glossary is too. Makes me want to become a professor of Buffy studies. I love this dictionary. It's so much fun!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Vv Chong on May 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is probably the only Buffy book which has bored me. I thought I was interested in Buffy-speak, and that's why I bought this book. But it only took about two paragraphs to put me to sleep, every time. It's very, very dry, and I think that people who don't have an academic background in linguistics would find it as impenetrable as I did. I'm sure that it's a very thorough piece of work - I just wasn't able to understand much of what Adams wrote. One other thing I didn't like was that much of the language referred to is used only on the fan discussion boards e.g. The Bronze. In my opinion, only Buffy-isms found in the show itself should have been included.
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