The Secret Life of Words by Henry Hitchings
How English Became English

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 5 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

Words are essential to our everyday lives. An average person spends his or her day enveloped in conversations, e-mails, phone calls, text messages, directions, headlines, and more. But how often do we stop to think about the origins of the words we use? Have you ever thought about which words in English have been borrowed from Arabic, Dutch, or Portuguese? Try admiral, landscape, and marmalade, just for starters.



The Secret Life of Words is a wide-ranging account not only of the history of English language and vocabulary, but also of how words witness history, reflect social change, and remind us of our past. Henry Hitchings delves into the insatiable, ever-changing English language and reveals how and why it has absorbed words from more than 350 other languages—many originating from the most unlikely of places, such as shampoo from Hindi and kiosk from Turkish. From the Norman Conquest to the present day, Hitchings narrates the story of English as a living archive of our human experience. He uncovers the secrets behind everyday words and explores the surprising origins of our most commonplace expressions. The Secret Life of Words is a rich, lively celebration of the language and vocabulary that we too often take for granted.


 

About Henry Hitchings

See more books from this Author
Henry Hitchings was born in 1974. He is the author of The Language Wars, The Secret Life of Words, Who’s Afraid of Jane Austen?, and Defining the World. He has con­tributed to many newspapers and magazines and is the theater critic for the London Evening Standard. He lives in London.
 
Published September 29, 2009 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 449 pages
Genres: Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Secret Life of Words

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

English has been and no doubt always will be a salmagundi, the author declares, blending words from many other tongues into one splendid, ever-changing linguistic dish.

| Read Full Review of The Secret Life of Words: How...

The Guardian

See more reviews from this publication

The Secret Life of Words: How English Became English by Henry Hitchings Buy it from the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop English is sometimes seen as ...

Apr 12 2009 | Read Full Review of The Secret Life of Words: How...

The Guardian

See more reviews from this publication

English has been branded "a whore among languages" that has proved shamelessly "open to offers" from words of more than 350 other vernaculars.

Apr 03 2009 | Read Full Review of The Secret Life of Words: How...

Bookmarks Magazine

The Secret Life of Words is a wide-ranging account not only of the history of English language and vocabulary, but also of how words witness history, reflect social change, and remind us of our past.

Nov 30 2008 | Read Full Review of The Secret Life of Words: How...

Book Geeks

Please welcome the newest addition to the Bookgeeks crew, Ben Parker, who kicks off by reviewing a book that takes as its subject the very tools of the reviewer’s trade – words… We are currently experiencing the fastest pace of neologisms, adoptions and coinages since the time of Shakespeare, th...

May 28 2009 | Read Full Review of The Secret Life of Words: How...

Reader Rating for The Secret Life of Words
77%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 34 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×