WORDS AND WAYS OF AMERICAN ENGLISH by Thomas Pyles

WORDS AND WAYS OF AMERICAN ENGLISH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An excellent book, hampered by an awkward title, but that-nonetheless- meets a very real need. Meneken's incomparable American Language (three volumes of it) and rapp's English Language in America and several other studies, less widely known, have stimulated interest in the subject among the knowledgeable minority. Here- in one volume- is a lively survey which makes good reading, provides at least a taste of the scope in those above named, and gives the interested student a sense of the vitality of our own American English. He discusses the sources of our speech, the homespun quality, the coinages, adaptations, foreign survivals. He gives enough instances of historical, sociological, geographical factors to back up claims made for usages which one section considers correct, another incorrect. He compares American and British word usages, pronunciation, and that indefinable problem of intonation which forever separates us. He regrets excessive dependence on the authority of the school-master (he is one himself- at the University of Florida), feeling that the dangers of ""purity by prescription"" lead to loss of color, flavor, ease. The practical value of the book will depend to a great extent on the type of index.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1952
Publisher: Random House