The Last Word: Tales from the Tip of the Mother Tongue

The Last Word: Tales from the Tip of the Mother Tongue

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) Ben Macintyre

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  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Format: Paperback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 194mm x 28mm | 222g
  • Publication date: 6 September 2010
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1408804352
  • ISBN 13: 9781408804353
  • Illustrations note: B&W Inserts
  • Sales rank: 247,009

Product description

Do you know your geek-speak from your geek-chic? Ever wanted to put Humpty Dumpty together again? Can you distinguish Spanglish from Chinglish? We adapt words from other languages, from slang, from developments in science, literature and art. Learn the advantages of having your own signature word; why the lifts in the House of Commons have posh accents; and, discover the discreet art of the loophemism. Witty and utterly delightful, "The Last Word" will tease, tickle and tantalise those who enjoy all things lexical.

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Author information

Ben Macintyre is a columnist and Associate Editor on The Times. He has worked as the newspaper's correspondent in New York, Paris and Washington. He is the author of six previous books including Agent Zigzag, which was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award and the Galaxy British Book Award for Biography of the Year 2008. He lives in London with his wife and three children.

Customer reviews

By blazej aksamitek 28 Mar 2011 5

This series of columns about the language in its many forms made very nice reading. Informative, in parts hilarious, sometimes thought-provoking pieces contain a large number of facts and factoids concerning various foreign tongues. One detail, especially, I feel obliged to comment on: in the bit about the @ sign, the Author claims Polish people call it 'kotek', i.e. 'a kitten'. As a native speaker of Polish I know for a fact that my fellow Poles have never done so, even when drunk into linguistic oblivion. Hopefully, that is just one inaccuracy in the plethora of similar details, but I'd double check before propagating any of them further.
To end on a positive note: the piece on blurbs was simply great.

Review quote

'A sprinkling of delightful nuggets about the uses and abuses of the English language' Daily Telegraph Books of the Year 'After reading The Last Word you may feel compelled to tell a "fib" - a poem whose syllables follow the Fibonacci sequence - one of myriad delights in Ben Macintyre's musings on language. Discover the accidental poetry of e-mail spam and the literary joy of peculiar cricketing terms' The Times Books of the Year 'Macintyre is simply a splendidly well-read man ... These pieces come up fresh and even wiser, and all the better for being so collated' Observer