The Lexicographer's Dilemma by Jack Lynch

The Lexicographer's Dilemma: The Evolution of "Proper" English, from Shakespeare to South Park by Jack Lynch
Stars: 4.5/5

If you like words--their history, the fights they cause and their creation--then give this book a gander.

The "Average Joe" probably isn't going to willingly pick up this book, although it's written to be easily accessible and enjoyable. And how many books discussing and analyzing the history of English can make that claim? Lynch uses a sense of humor, dry wit, and a balanced perspective in his writing, so that what could be long and tedious is educational and fun.

Yes, fun.

Some parts do drag a little, but like any nonfiction/educational book, the author does need to get across information which can be tedious at times. But for the most part, this is an easy book to read. It covers how English got to be so screwed up (via the linguistic mashup that was performed), the history of dictionaries, grammar books, the thesaurus, the lack of an Academy of English Language, and how language continuously changes. While it can't look at all of these topics in depth (there are too many topics covered for that), it does give a good summary and weaves the different points together to bring us to the current day.

I think my only "tsk, tsk" moment was that he used "sexual preference" instead of "sexual orientation." But that was once and not the focus of the book or the chapter (and perhaps a show of language use!). The copy was clean of grammatical mistakes and typos (which you would hope, considering the content, but I still like to point out). There is alot of pressure when writing a book like this, and Lynch pulled it off. Happy reading!

1 comment:

lbgregg said...

Hi Alex--

Just popping in to say how much I enjoy reading your reviews!