WHAT A FUNNY THING TO SAY! by Bernice Kohn

WHAT A FUNNY THING TO SAY!

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The flexibility of language is the message here and Kohn begins with the usual dissection of Indo-European and Anglo-Saxon roots, of foreign borrowings and compound words, of words with colorful origins (bloomers, assassin, patter) and of slang. But this etymological primer, which while casual relies on mostly familiar examples (like good old antimacassar and sandwich), is followed by an introduction to several special offshoots of English that kids can learn and play with on their own, from Cockney rhyming slang (""I went up the apples and pears to find my struggle and strife Bopeep"") and Pidgin to Pig and Pelf Latin and the endlessly expanding possibilities of the game of ""stinky pinky."" Though factually slight, the text does successfully make the connection between word play and word origins, between informal and formal language -- thus encouraging children to think of language as an infinitely expandable tool rather than a formidable set of rules and definitions.

Pub Date: Feb. 15th, 1974
Page count: 68pp
Publisher: Dial