THE CAT'S ELBOW And Other Secret Languages by Alvin--Ed. Schwartz

THE CAT'S ELBOW And Other Secret Languages

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The latest of Schwartz's gab-happy collections introduces a variety of secret languages, from good old Pig Latin to Boontling, an actual dialect once spoken, Schwartz informs us, by the residents of Boonville, California. Schwartz gives us a Boontling glossary (60 of the more than 1000 words he says the Boonters once mixed with English), and for practice in decoding he tells ""The Old Woman and the Pig"" (here ""The Eeld'm and the Borp"") in Boontling. Practice samples from other languages (Ku from the children of Chernovsky, in Russia; Kinyume, a backwards language from East Africa; Cockney thieves' talk; and several others) are in the form of sprightly fiddles, rhymes, and smart remarks that are amusing in themselves and offer irresistible incentives for decoding. In the foreword, Schwartz assures his readers that a little practice makes these languages easy as iepay--""And nobody will understand what you are saying except your fofrorienondad."" There's an age when that's sufficient in itself-and, while the ""Sa-La,"" ""Ziph,"" and ""King Tut"" scholars still need the book, Zemach's dressed-up cats and peasanty people add to the folksy fun.

Pub Date: July 7th, 1982
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux