Um. . . and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $15.95
  • Save: $2.00 (13%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In stock on October 28, 2014.
Order it now.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Acceptable | Details
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: This is an ex-library book. It may have plastic covering the book as well as library tags/stickers. The inside back cover has been stamped stating purchased at public sale. This book has been fairly well used and is in acceptable condition.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Um. . .: Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean Paperback – August 12, 2008


See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$13.95
$8.65 $5.49


Frequently Bought Together

Um. . .: Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean + Origins of the Specious: Myths and Misconceptions of the English Language
Price for both: $25.79

One of these items ships sooner than the other.

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (August 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400095433
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400095438
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Journalist and language expert Erard believes we can learn a lot from our mistakes. He argues that the secrets of human speech are present in our own proliferating verbal detritus. Erard plots a comprehensive outline of verbal blunder studies throughout history, from Freud's fascination with the slip to Allen Funt's Candid Camera. Smoothly summarizing complex linguistic theories, Erard shows how slip studies undermine some well-established ideas on language acquisition and speech. Included throughout are hilarious highlight reels of bloopers, boners, Spoonerisms, malapropisms and eggcorns. The author also introduces interesting people along the way, from notebook-toting, slip-collecting professors to the devoted members of Toastmasters, a public speaking club with a self-help focus. According to Erard, the aesthetic of umlessness is a relatively new development in society originating alongside advents in mechanical reproduction, but it may be on its way out already. Take President Bush, who exemplifies that the quirky casual, whether it is intentional or spontaneous, can inspire more trust than the slick and polished. Erard closes by examining our own propensity toward verbal missteps, demonstrating how the interpretation of blunders is inextricable from social expectations. While Erard's conclusion that meaning is socially and historically embedded may not be unfamiliar, his work challenges the reader to think about his or her own speech in an entirely new way. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"...An enjoyable tour of linguistic mishaps... ...Rewarding." New York Times Book Review

"...Challenges the reader to think about his or her own speech in an entirely new way." Publishers Weekly

"Mr. Erard's enthusiasm for his subject is infectious. He gets you wondering about blundering." Wall Street Journal


"...An absorbing survey of the (mis)spoken word, from ancient Egyptian cases of speechlessness to television bloopers..." O Magazine

"...A fascinating look at those two-letter words we all know and, uh, overuse." GQ

You can feel when an author is enjoying himself, and Erard's survey of these most common of dysfunctions in our dysfunctional society is written with unexpected humor, grace and high spirits." Louisville Courier-Journal

"...A nifty little book." Charleston Post and Courier

“An enjoyable tour of linguistic mishaps. . . . Rewarding. . . . It reveals the dynamic nature of the human mind.”—The New York Times Book Review“Engaging. . . . By focusing on what many of us overlook (or underhear?), Erard has further revealed the complexity and beauty of language. Perhaps he will make all of us both better listeners and, um, better speakers.”—The Seattle Times“A fascinating look at those two-letter words we all know and, uh, overuse.”—GQ“Erard's enthusiasm for his subject is infectious. He gets you wondering about blundering.”—The Wall Street Journal“Some people are bird watchers and learn a great deal about the birds they watch. Michael Erard watches word botchers and, in the process, enriches our experience of what language is about and what makes us human. After reading Um, you'll never hear the thud and blunder of everyday speech in the same way.”—Richard Lederer, author of Anguished English“Who'd have thought that a book called Um could be a page-turner? But Michael Erard's investigtions of "applied blunderology" come to something more than the familiar catalogues of verbal slips and gaffes from the high and the low. It's also a fascinating meditation on why blunders happen, and what they tell us about language and ourselves. At its deepest level,  Um is an exercise in the zen of attention, which tunes us in to the revealing noises and pauses that we spend most of our time tuning out.”—Geoffrey Nunberg, NPR commentator“A lascinating fook at yet another revealing instance of human imperfection.”—Kirkus (Starred Review)“Included throughout are hilarious highlight reels of bloopers, boners, Spoonerisms, malapropisms and ‘eggcorns'... His work challenges the reader to think about his or her own speech in an entirely new way."—Publishers Weekly

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Got boring way too quick, and was simply a very dry, uninviting read.
Mikehill33
Like "very close veins" for "varicose veins", these are slips of the tongue that have become ossified so that the individual using the term thinks it is correct.
R. Hardy
The book is in various parts history, introduction to linguistics and journalistic narrative.
Jack Wathey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By R. Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on August 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Optical illusions are fascinating, because we all, at some level, think that seeing is believing, and are amazed to find in how many ways our eyes can be fooled. They are not just amusements, however; in the past few decades, neurological researchers have used the mistaken impressions such illusions give us to look deeply into the parts of our brains that process visual data. The neuronal machinery that makes the errors thereby reveals what it is silently doing when it is doing its usual error-free processing. Similarly, over the past few decades, speech errors have been harnessed to help understand the almost infinitely complex process it takes to make a sentence. That is one of the fascinating points in _Um... : Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean_ (Pantheon) by Michael Erard. Erard, who has an academic background in linguistics and English, is a freelance writer who has looked into what you might think of as a pretty limited field even for professor types. People say "um" a lot, and they mix up their word pronunciations and sentence structure. We generally ignore such flaws, no matter how universal they may be, and in fact we may be programmed to ignore them. Still, if they are universal, they must be mean something. Erard has wandered all over to visit researchers who are each looking deeply into a specific area of linguistic mistakes and bringing forth a new understanding of how language works. The result is an entertaining book that can only make readers appreciate how complicated spoken language is, and admire how it usually goes fluently.

What do all these "ums" mean? Not anxiety. One of the earliest products of "disfluency research" was that the number of filler words has no correlation with the level of anxiety.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By John S. Baker on September 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This excellent book separates itself from the 'tut tut' school of writing. If you like "Eats, Shoots and Leaves", you probably will not like this book. "Um..." is short on indignation and rich in facts.

Erard, the author, makes his case that verbal errors are part of the language. Just yesterday, I heard a BBC commentary state that 'this is a bridge we will have to gulf'. Erard starts with Spooner (now that you are jawfully loined) and shows the development of a theory of slips of the tongue and other, um, errors.

This is a serious linguistic work. If you enjoy indignation at 'these degenerate days', read D-ck C-v-tt and his ilk.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jon Hunt on May 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Michael Erard's terrific new book, "Um", covers everything from spoonerisms and malapropisms to eggcorns and mondegreens. If you haven't heard of the last two, they're covered here with aplomb (a plum?) as are dozens of examples of pause fillers. Since George Bush seems to have increased his summer reading over the past few years, this is one book the president shouldn't miss...he may be part of the impetus for its publication.

Ever since a friend of mine asked me at dinner years ago, "when will our waiter soove the serp?", I've been fascinated by the oddities that fly from innocent mouths. Erard categorizes these verbal miscues into all sorts of arrangements and a glossary at the end of the book is helpful in reminding the reader what material has been covered. The author looks at two areas that were of particular interest...how slips of the tongue differ in other languages and cultures and how children handle pauses and perseverations (for example) at various stages of their fluency development.

Erard has a clear and nicely-paced narrative style making "Um" such an enjoyable book. An appealing sequel would be one that comments on the three current presidential candidates and their varying contributions to public discourse, relative to what the author has written here. The next time I have my own slip of the ear (as when I heard someone say "grocery seats" when they meant "gross receipts") I'll refer back to "Um" and have a good laugh all over again.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Either high school or college-level literary libraries or those strong in psychology and language will find UM an excellent survey which considers the verbal blunder and its underlying psychology. With its strong introduction in the history of language and disfluency from ancient Greece to modern times to its survey of how slips of the tongue gained new meaning from psychology, both popular culture and literature figure in a survey which is a funny yet pointed study of everyday speech and language development. Both leisure readers and students of language alike will find it engrossing.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By M. Fetler on October 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Michael Erard provides an entertaining tour of common speech errors that ought to interest teachers, business people, or anyone whose interest is oral communication. Most people value the ability to speak smoothly, to pronounce words correctly, and to communicate thoughts clearly. Schools consider fluent speaking to be an important goal of instruction. Business leaders say that good verbal skills, the ability to get to the point, close the deal, or persuade is essential for success. Oral English fluency is an ideal in the United States. Nativist groups have tried and failed more than once to make English the national language. As the United States evolves into a richly diverse multilingual patchwork of communities, there is more and more concern with communication. Millions, if not hundreds of millions of public and private dollars are spent each year in pursuit of smooth talk.

Erard recognizes the aspirations of English teachers and business leaders, but suggests their goals may be permanently out of our reach. Even the best rehearsed actor makes occasional slips. To err is human. Speech is necessarily broken, punctuated by hesitation, delays, multiple starts, slips of the tongue, bloopers, slips and blunders. Electrical shock, beer, and Toastmasters can help to reduce, although not to eliminate the "mistakes."

Freud saw human errors, slips of the tongue, as peep-holes into the unconscious. Dark, unappeasable drives for pleasure and pain inevitably push through the veneer of civilization to hint at thoughts we are scarcely willing to tell ourselves. Freud's insights established the profession of psychoanalysis that thrives by listening for unintended meanings in speech.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?