The Wonder of Whiffling: (and Other Extraordinary Words in the English Language)

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Penguin Adult, Sep 24, 2009 - Humor - 243 pages
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Fresh from his adventures hunting down exotic words in languages all over the world, author of the bestselling The Meaning of TingoAdam Jacot de Boinod set himself the task of exploring the beauties, oddities and downright hilarities of the language that started off his love affair with words - English.

TheWonder of Whifflingis a hugely enjoyable, surprising and rewarding tour around the language of the British Isles (with plenty of fine coinages from our English-speaking cousins across the pond, Down Under and elsewhere). Discover all sorts of words you've always wished existed but never knew, such asfornale, to spend one's money before it has been earned; cagg, a solemn vow or resolution not to get drunk for a certain time; and petrichor, the pleasant smell that accompanies the first rain after a dry spell.

Delving deep into the language with the most words in the world, Adam Jacot de Boinod also discovers why it is you wouldn't want to have dinner with a vice admiral of the narrow seas, why Jacobites toasted the little gentleman in black velvet, and why a Nottingham Goodnightis better than one from anywhere else.

From rural English counties and remote ex-colonies, from the jargon-loving armed forces to the corners of the schoolyard, from Anglo-Saxon to trailer-park slang, Adam Jacot de Boinod presents English as you've never heard it before.

(Oh, and as for whifflers, whether you prefer yours whistling lightly, talking nonsense, constantly changing their mind, or leading processions, you'll find them all in here . . .)

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About the author (2009)

Adam Jacot de Boinod's interest in foreign languages was first aroused when doing research for the BBC programme QIand subsequently developed into a full-on vokabulyu(Russian - passion for foreign words). While searching through 280 dictionaries, 140 websites and numerous books on language, he developed an undoubted samlermani(Danish - mania for collecting), became close to being fisselig(German - flustered to the point of incompetence) and narrowly avoided karoshi(Japanese - death from overwork).

He is now intending to nglayap(Indonesian - wander far from home with no particular purpose).

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