Don't be a troglodyte. The zeitgeist these days is decidedly international, nicht wahr? If the thought of a polyglot salmagundi fills you with angst, well, no cojones, no glory. For Ketchup on Your Muumuu, Eugene Ehrlich, the high-muck-a-muck (from the Chinook) of mots justes, schleps a smorgasbord of borrowed bon mots out for a viewing. Each of the originally foreign words included here has crept its way into use by speakers of English--a language, says Ehrlich in his introduction, that "has long been an active borrower and lender." Some of the words included--hashish (Arabic), shampoo (Hindi), tutu (French)--are more common than others: favela (Brazilian Portuguese), izzat (Urdu), nautch (Hindi). Many debuted on the menus of ethnic restaurants. All receive star treatment from Ehrlich, who for each entry offers pronunciation, derivation, meaning(s), history and examples of use in English, and a heavy dose of humor. Call Ehrlich what you may--pundit, swami, maestro, savant. If you learn to gabble like the literati, no one will look askance the next time you spill ketchup on your muumuu at your local coffee klatsch. --Jane Steinberg
Ehrlich, the well-known wordsmith, author, and coeditor of The Oxford American Dictionary, has penned another of his popular word dictionaries. This time it is of English words borrowed from around the globe. The dictionary follows the standard format but also supplies pronunciation, origin, original meaning, the time period in which a word was adopted into English, and the current English meaning. Throughout, Ehrlich inserts his own commentary to add a light touch to the entries. The hundreds of definitions range from words that changed from their original meaning along their journey into the English language (such as the Spanish "aficionado"), to words that changed only a little (including the Italian "graffiti"), all the way to words that were adopted intact (such as the Turkish word "yogurt"). Fun and fanciful, this dictionary would make a fine addition to public and school libraries that collect widely in the area, but it is an optional purchase nonetheless.
-Neal Wyatt, Chesterfield Cty. P.L., VA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
|Product dimensions||5.7x1.1x8.6 inches|
|Shipping weight||1.2 pounds|
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