The World in So Many Words: A Country-by-country Tour of Words that Have Shaped Our Language

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Houghton Mifflin, 1999 - Reference - 298 pages
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"Biblically speaking, the first paradise was the Garden of Eden. But linguistically speaking, it was a Persian amusement park. Or, more precisely, it was the walled park of a Persian ruler or noble, observed more than two thousand years ago by a young Greek named Xenophon." Allan A. Metcalf shows us paradise and a whole lot more in his whirlwind tour of languages that have made contributions to our own. Starting in Europe, the original home of English, he takes us around the world, country by country, language by language. We see a geyser in Iceland, take a siesta in Spain, and receive justice in Italy. In Africa we feel the warm harmarttan wind, visit an Egyptian oasis, and learn about mysterious voodoo. We travel to northern India, where we seek the elusive goat antelope called the serow; to icy Tibet, where the even more elusive yeti dwells unseen among the rocks; to Tahiti, where we get a tattoo; to Samoa, where we are shown how to cover it up with a lavalava. We encounter buccaneers from Brazil and Paraguay, caciques from Guyana and Surinam, bunyips from Australia, and zombies from Congo. As experienced on Metcalf's tour, the English language is more wonderful and exotic than you've ever imagined -- a truly multicultural language for a multicultural world.

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THE WORLD IN SO MANY WORDS: A Country-by-Country Tour of Words That Have Shaped Our Language

User Review  - Kirkus

An entertaining and instructive etymological, around-the-world tour of English. Metcalf follows up the recent America in So Many Words (not reviewed), co-authored with prominent linguist David ... Read full review

The world in so many words: a country-by-country tour of words that have shaped our language

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Metcalf, professor of English at MacMurray College and executive secretary of the American Dialect Society, traces words from all over the world right to our back door. Many traveled from their native ... Read full review

About the author (1999)

Allan Metcalf is a professor of English at MacMurray College, executive secretary of the American Dialect Society, and author of books on language and writing. His books on language include AMERICA IN SO MANY WORDS (with David K. Barnhart), THE WORLD IN SO MANY WORDS, HOW WE TALK: AMERICAN REGIONAL ENGLISH TODAY, PREDICTING NEW WORDS, and PRESIDENTIAL VOICES. His books on writing include RESEARCH TO THE POINT and ESSENTIALS OF WRITING TO THE POINT. He lives in Jacksonville, Illinois.

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