Around the World in 80 Words : a Journey through the English Language.

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Jones, Paul Anthony, 1983-
Imprint:Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2020.
Description:1 online resource (286 pages)
Language:English
Subject:English language -- Etymology.
Names, Geographical.
HISTORY / General.
English language -- Etymology.
Names, Geographical.
Electronic books.
Format: E-Resource Book
URL for this record:http://pi.lib.uchicago.edu/1001/cat/bib/12284278
Hidden Bibliographic Details
ISBN:022668282X
9780226682822
Notes:79. Coventry, UK: send to Coventry
Print version record.
Summary:"In Around the World in 80 Words, Jones tells the story of eighty English-language words that are specially related to a place. He tells us, for example, where the name for the Canary Islands came from, the relationship between the town of Jáchymov in the Czech Republic and the word "dollar," and he dispels the myth that the term "limerick" comes from the last name of Edward Lear. Throughout this engaging journey, the reader gains valuable insights into culture and history through the intersection of language and place"--
Other form:Print version: Jones, Paul Anthony. Around the World in 80 Words : A Journey through the English Language. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, ©2020 9780226682792
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Etymologist Jones (Word Drops: A Sprinkling of Linguistic Curiosities) delivers a fabulous and erudite survey of words inspired by place names. Some of his examples are well-known and look straightforward, but have more involved origin stories than readers might have guessed. The manila folder, for instance, ended up sharing its name with the Filipino capital because it was originally made from manila hemp, a source of cheap paper grown exclusively in the Philippines. Meanwhile, Turkey lent its name to a species of North American wildfowl thanks to the tendency of Europeans, while exploring the Americas, to use "turkey" as a catchall term for exotic bird species. Other words are lesser-known but equally fascinating, including the archaic vandemonianism, or "rowdy behavior," from Van Diemen's Land, today's Tasmania and a onetime penal colony. Many of Jones's entries illustrate the tangled process of linguistic evolution, with "vaudeville" mutating from "vau-de-vire," from a town in Normandy known for a raunchy medieval singer, and the Indigenous name for Alaska's Admiralty Island, Xootsnoowú, having been Anglicised and truncated by visiting sailors--among whom the potent moonshine brewed on the island was legendary--to "hooch." Logophiles will have a ball. (Sept.)

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Review by Publisher's Weekly Review