By Kate Burridge
Kate Burridge follows the overseas good fortune of Blooming English with one other pleasing day trip into the ever-changing nature of the complicated and alluring English language. If language is a wonderful backyard, full of unique hybrids in addition to conventional history specimens, then weeds also will thrive on its fertile grounds. Linguistic weeds could be outlined as pronunciations or structures which are not used. for instance, Burridge issues out how "aint" or double negatives have been at one time really applicable in daily talking and writing yet at the moment are categorized as "weeds" that are supposed to not have a spot in our vocabulary. And, as she so deftly comprehensive in Blooming English, Burridge is going on right here to additional have a good time our capability to play with language, and to ascertain the methods we use it: in slang and jargon, swearing, talking the unspeakable, or concealing disagreeable or inconvenient proof. during this new quantity she offers us one other enjoyable and informative paintings for relaxing searching; for locating interesting minutiae approximately language, background, and social customs; and for using as a peerless weapon in notice video games. Kate Burridge is the Chair of Linguistics at Monash college and a standard presenter of segments at the Australian Broadcast corporation.
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Extra info for Weeds in the Garden of Words: Further Observations on the Tangled History of the English Language
In the Reeves Tale Chaucer writes, ‘When this jape is tald another day, I sal be hald a daf, a cokenay’. In this sense it came to be applied contemptuously in the 1600s to a Londoner and eventually, in the 1800s, to the dialect or accent of the London Cockney. As is typical of secret languages, Cockney rhyming slang serves a number of purposes. Certainly it’s a verbal disguise that keeps all bystanders and eavesdroppers in the dark. But equally important is its social function – like slang generally, it defines the gang.
The (mostly liquidy) imagery here, you’ll notice, is strongly underpinned by sound association. All these words begin with ‘s’. Another characteristic of slang is reduction of form. Teenagers from all around the Englishspeaking world use terms like rents (parents), rad (radical), and dis (disrespect). But probably the most important feature of slang is that it’s unstable. In fact, by the time this book appears in bookshops, rents, rad and dis will probably be well and truly passé. The whole point of slang is to startle, amuse, shock.
For instance, interviewer Tim Bailey compliments Ky Hurst (winner of ‘One Summer’ Ironman competition at Coolangatta in 1999): ‘ … and with me is one champion, a phenomenal effort, Ky Hurst. You said you felt buoyant today, you proved that. Some of the best body-surfing we’ve ever seen’. Ky Hurst replies with a ‘yeah-no’ – yeah acknowledges the compliment (not to do so would seem ungrateful) and the following no effectively softens its impact. He continues his speech with a battery of hedging expressions such as ‘pretty’, ‘I think’, ‘you know’, finally attributing his achievement to the excellent beach conditions.