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review 2017-05-09 00:00
Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries
Word by Word: The Secret Life of Diction... Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries - Kory Stamper Until a few years ago, I had a very specific idea of what "loving the English language" meant. It meant that there was a holy "Good English" to which I ascribed, and though I loved to play with words, "can" and "may" were different, "who" and "whom" differentiated the knowledgeable from the chaff (though I've always had a hard time knowing when it was the right time to use it). People who used "Good English" were smart, and I wanted to be as smart as possible. Most people do.

A few years ago, I realized how incredibly, utterly, pointlessly stupid I was being by trying to be "smart". The tide changed; I became exhausted of people persnicking about apostrophes, jabbing about figuratively vs literally, etc etc. Maybe this was all particularly hurtful because I was forced to look at how horrible I was being when I was on the other side of the conversation. To try and feel smarter, it involved a lot of time putting other people down, through simple mistakes I could hardly deny I was above or beyond. As I grew and my tastes and interests changed, I became less interested in the Godlike Perfect English that didn't exist, but Mankind's Fluid English that was always changing, and that none of us has a real claim to. What importance is "can" or "may" when I know what a person means by the statement? Why are my parents' heavily accented English put to disregard when they had spent longer than my entire life in this country, but made the apparently selfish decision to not grow up with the language. In contrast, I spent all of my middle school years using the word "random" to mean anything from the typical definition to "a thing that is cool"?

I love English - Stamper does too, and it's nice to read a book that loves words from an expert background, and a background that says it's okay that words change, that you're not better OR WORSE for using "literally" in a figurative sense, especially when there are at least a dozen words that meant the opposite of what they meant at inception (and we also spent an entire year using "-ception" as a way of saying "a thing inside a thing" and everyone knew what we meant). And she does it in a way that exhibits her own love of language, playing with it in a frothy light way that highlights the random (literally [actually]) changing rules we use with it. I love love love it. It acknowledges our linguistic faults as not necessarily being faults, our dialects making us unique, and that language can be what we make it. Specifying a right way vs a wrong way to use a word often comes months or years after that word is already being used that way. Anyway, did you know that David Foster Wallace, general dick about using English the "right" way used "literally" in a figurative sense?

Lexicographers are merely the ones who watch us and try to help us navigate waters if we're unfamiliar with them. They're meticulous when they can be, broad when they're forced to be. If anything, it reminds us that we're all human, and that we're the ones who created English, and if to err is human, then... well... Lexicography doesn't come off as a rip-roaringly wild kind of profession, but its charm is the dedication everyone you bump into through the course of the books pours into their work. A month spend revising the word "take"? Christ. That is dedication. It's sad then, that it has to end on such a bittersweet note: a reminder of the intense changes the internet and technology has brought to the world, and that information has become increasingly seen as free, for better or for worse, which results in lower profits.

But this book has brought a new delight and window to my life to the world of the English language, and a deep appreciation for the people who devote their lives to it. I love love loved it.

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review 2016-09-21 00:00
Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary
Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary - Oxford Dictionaries,Susan Rennie,Quentin Blake,Roald Dahl I love Roald Dahl because thanks to him and Johnny Depp with his spectacular Willy Wonka I discovered Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and an imaginary world interesting and captivating. I read all the Wonka books and I continued with many others as well.

So I requested without any kind of hesitation apart a Road Dahl biography for trying to understand much better who this author was in real life, The Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary by Susan Rennie and Roald Dahl published by the Oxford University Press thinking just later...

Bloody hell, I am italian and now?

When I opened this dictionary at first I was a bit "scared."

Well, I can tell you I would have wanted a similar italian or English or Latin or Greek or french dictionary like this one!

It's truly truly, truly funny, humorous, and your children will fall in love for it.

It is completely colored, funny, thanks to Quentin Black's illustrations and captivating. Thanks to a lot of anecdotes, stories, new words created by Dahl your children will learn with joy and happiness not just the most common English words, but also other funny new ones inserted in Dahl's books. Dahl was a creative like PG Wodehouse.

So be careful when they will speak to you after that they will have read this dictionary. Maybe they will use Dahl's words...
You can't never know..

So, dear parent don't worry, be hopscotchy! ;-) and buy this dictionary without any kind of perplexities to your children. Money very well spent trust me because, for once, I can tell you this, they will open the dictionary with love and curiosity and they will read it with interest!

I thank NetGalley for this book.
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review 2016-09-05 23:45
First Dictionary
The American Heritage First Dictionary - American Heritage Dictionaries

It is important to begin using dictionaries as soon as possible with young learners.  I would be certain to have a dictionary like this one available to any kindergarten through fifth grade class.  It would be optimal to have one per student or at least one per every two to three students. 

With the youngest of learners, they can simply be introduced to what a dictionary is!  A great activity is for them to copy words for the letter of the week or the letter the class is most focused on.  For example, if a class is working on writing certain letters, have the students look for five words that begin with those letters and copy them into their journals.  Then, ask the students to draw a picture for each of those words they chose.  This is a great reading and writing activity although it seems so simple. 

grade level equivalent: 2.7
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review 2015-08-18 08:56
Word Mysteries and Histories: From Quiche to Humble Pie - Robert Claiborne,American Heritage Dictionaries,Barry Moser

I love reading about the histories of words, the etymology of language, especially in English since it's my mother tongue.


This book is almost 30 years out of date, however, and I obtained it through a strange series of happenstance. The black and, well, cream colored wood engraving print illustrations by Barry Moser are beautiful and I am very tempted to cut or copy them out and frame them on a wall. The choice of words explained are interesting, and some of the stories are interesting, but most are about as dry as I remember my linguistics textbook being. It's better suited to being a coffee table book for the academically inclined guest in my opinion, and I'll probably keep it just for that reason.

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review 2014-10-13 00:00
Boomboxes & Dictionaries
Boomboxes & Dictionaries - the_misfortun... Boomboxes & Dictionaries - the_misfortune_teller I still think Stiles was an ass in these. A month after their hookup, Derek shows up at Stiles' college. More sex, more fighting, and Stiles FINALLY admits that he wants to try a relationship with Derek.

Series says more is to come, but as it's been over a year, I'm not holding my breath on that one.
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