Occasionally a quirky yet enjoyable book drops through the letterbox and this is one of them. For the grammar Nazis out there this book is a ‘must’ but it may have a limited interest to the great ARRSEliteratti!
- Paul Anthony Jones
The book is a series of words, short phrases in everyday English and yet each one is linked, sometimes very tenuously, to the next word. The book starts off with the word “Aardvaark” which means ‘earth-pig’ in Afrikaans and of course starts us off alphabetically. This leads to a statement that the phrase “when pigs fly” is different in Italian in that they say “when donkeys fly” which in turn leads to ‘zedonk’ which is a cross between a zebra and a donkey!
The book continues in this way for 246 very interesting pages (if that is your want!) and ends, in a circuitous way with the word “armour”!
The author has been very clever in linking, however loosely, the words and phrases so there is a continuous run through the book. This is not a book to read from cover to cover, although that is the way to get the full chain, but I doubt there are many on ARRSE with OCD who would do this. What the book does do though is give a humorous list of quirky words and phrases and in some instances gives the reason for their existence.
For instance,, he tells us that ‘o’clock’ is an abbreviation of ‘of the clock’ which I reckon most people know; but this allows a lead into ‘Grandfather clock’ and a lengthy explanation of how Victorians came to refer to ‘pendulum clocks’ as ‘grandfather clocks’; which in turn leads into ‘quatrayle’ which is your grandfather’s grandfather therefore your great-great-grandfather.
What may be of interest to the ARRSEliteratti world (or not as may be) is a thing much used on ARRSE, especially in the serious forums, is words like f@*%, or c&%$ in place or words not permitted – this is known as a ‘grawlix’.
As I say, this is not a book which many will rush out to buy but it is a quirky, informative and interesting tome for the pedants (Note: a pedant was originally a teacher) which it may also be of use to those who just love to shoot down grammar Nazis by providing ammunition!
The book is linked and almost circular in its journey in that it ends the book with the word ‘armoury’ – the collective name for Aardvarks!
Good for a laugh, and worth having on the bookshelf as a light look at the English language.
3/5 Mr MRHs.