*Hisses at book*
There. That’s over with. I found this book more annoying than informative as you may have guessed if you were following my status updates. The authors supposedly chose their pronunciation representations based on what looks easiest to understand but I frequently struggled to interpret what they meant and whether differences from what I would have chosen represent the differences in our accents. It’s also very American-centric although it mentions a few alternate British pronunciations. As I am neither, I found this a little annoying. The grating attempts at representing French sounds were more or less expected although I generally disagreed with them.
My status updates:
This quote illustrates some of the issues I'm having with this book:
It's hard leaving out the (wrong) extra a in triathlon. It's up there with athlete and arthritis, both of which almost compel some people to throw in an extra a. For triathlon in particular, it sounds more natural, even though it's clearly wrong and the spelling tells us so. The "thlo" combination is very rare in English and sounds extremely unnatural.
Maybe this seems straightforward to everyone else, but I couldn't figure out what pronunciation the authors were talking about. It took me a second read through to hypothesize that they might be discussing a previously unfathomable tri-ah-tha-lon pronunciation. Is that right? Does anyone actually say that?
O little book, you have amused me.
This short little book covers apostrophe usage with little asides like:
“See that fence over there? Take a nice comfy seat on it with me and watch them fight it out. The important thing is to know the meaning of each one, and remember, it’s just a fucking apostrophe.”
I should mention that this book covers current British usage, so North Americans may argue with some of it, but I’ve been noticing that NA has been following the British trends in apostrophe usage more and more anyway, so it may just be a matter of time. Also, although Griffin acknowledges the changing usages over time, he doesn’t really cover the evolution. It’s a really short book. I don’t regret getting it though.
Perfect for grammar geeks and those who appreciate a good swear. Some sections are best read out loud to unsuspecting people.
Thanks, MbD, for bringing this book to my attention!