Words on the Move
34%
off

Words on the Move : Why English Won't - And Can't - Sit Still (Like, Literally)

4.13 (1,063 ratings by Goodreads)

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 2 business days
When will my order arrive?

Description

A bestselling linguist takes us on a lively tour of how the English language is evolving before our eyes -- and why we should embrace this transformation and not fight it

Language is always changing -- but we tend not to like it. We understand that new words must be created for new things, but the way English is spoken today rubs many of us the wrong way. Whether it's the use of literally to mean "figuratively" rather than "by the letter," or the way young people use LOL and like, or business jargon like What's the ask? -- it often seems as if the language is deteriorating before our eyes.

But the truth is different and a lot less scary, as John McWhorter shows in this delightful and eye-opening exploration of how English has always been in motion and continues to evolve today. Drawing examples from everyday life and employing a generous helping of humor, he shows that these shifts are a natural process common to all languages, and that we should embrace and appreciate these changes, not condemn them.

Words on the Move opens our eyes to the surprising backstories to the words and expressions we use every day. Did you know that silly once meant "blessed"? Or that ought was the original past tense of owe? Or that the suffix -ly in adverbs is actually a remnant of the word like? And have you ever wondered why some people from New Orleans sound as if they come from Brooklyn?

McWhorter encourages us to marvel at the dynamism and resilience of the English language, and his book offers a lively journey through which we discover that words are ever on the move and our lives are all the richer for it.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 149 x 217 x 25mm | 363g
  • New York
  • English
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 1627794719
  • 9781627794718
  • 476,626

Review quote

"Witty and wise, John McWhorter's "Words on the Move" is an adventure and a romp, full of surprises and delights. If you love language, you will love this book. You'll never think of language in the same way again."--Deborah Tannen, university professor and professor of linguistics, Georgetown University, and author of "You Just Don't Understand"
show more

About Professor of Linguistics John McWhorter

John McWhorter is an associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University and is the author of more than fifteen books, including The Language Hoax, The Power of Babel, and Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue. He writes for TIME, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic, and his articles have also appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, and The Daily Beast.
show more

Rating details

1,063 ratings
4.13 out of 5 stars
5 39% (414)
4 40% (425)
3 17% (186)
2 3% (28)
1 1% (10)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X