Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Passion for Words

"Use your words!" If you're a parent, you've probably said that to your kids, or maybe your parents said it to you. We all use words every day to communicate without a thought as to the origins of language. Many famous folks have shared their thoughts about word usage, such as:

"Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often."
~Mark Twain

"We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out."
~Winston Churchill

Shakespeare said "What's in a name? that which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet" but the names we call things, the words we use to express ourselves, do have meanings and history that may have been forgotten.  Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and their development over time. Do you have a passion for words?  Do you enjoy reading about the history of everyday things?  If you would like to say what you mean and mean what you say, it might behoove you to check out some of the library catalog's offerings on etymology, which include:

Dying Words: Endangered Languages and What They Have to Tell Us by Nicholas Evans

What Language Is: And What It Isn't and What It Could Be by John McWhorter

The Story of English in 100 Hundred Words by David Crystal

Txtng: The Gr8 Db8 by David Crystal

OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word by Allan Metcalf

Words to Eat By: Five Foods and the Culinary History of the English Language by Ina Lipkowitz

The History of the English Language [3 part audiobook]

Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages by Ammon Shea

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English by John McWhorter

The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Words by Anu Garg

Inventing English: A Portable History of the Language by Seth Lerer

Casual Lex: An Informal Assemblage of Why We Say What We Say by Webb Garrison

The Real McCoy: The True Stories Behind Our Everyday Phrases by Georgia Hole

Chinese Calligraphy: From Pictograph to Ideogram - The History of 214 Essential Chinese/Japanese Characters by Edoardo Fazzioli

A Dictionary of New Mexico and Southern Colorado Spanish by Rubén Cobos

The Word Detective by Evan Morris

The Secret Lives of Words by Paul West

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

Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage [DVD]

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester

You can find more items on this topic in the catalog with a subject search using the word "Etymology". Some of these titles may be available in eBook format - simply use the drop-down menu at the top of the library catalog to change "View Entire Collection" to "eBooks", click on search, and you can easily find which ones!

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