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Biting the Wax Tadpole

Misadventures of an Armchair Linguist

Questo libro può essere scaricato con iBooks sul tuo Mac o dispositivo iOS e con iTunes sul tuo computer. I libri devono essere letti con iBooks sia su Mac che su dispositivi iOS.


What can Johnny Cash’s lyrics teach us about the little-known Tangut dialect? Is ‘tabernacle’ really a swear word in Quebecois? Which language has absolutely no verbs? What is Earth’s politest insult? And what is biting the wax tadpole actually a translation of?*

Prepare for a hilarious rollercoaster ride through hundreds of well-known, obscure, difficult, dead and even made-up languages. Elizabeth Little has waded through innumerable verb tables in every available mood and tense, untangled up to eighteen cases of noun, and wrestled with all kinds of complicated adjective, participles and glottal stops to bring you the best and most bizarre quirks of the ways people communicate all around the globe.

From the language that has no different word for ‘blue’ or ‘green’, to why Icelanders need official permission to name their children, from what makes a Korean TV hit to what people might think you’re saying if you order eggs in Spain, Biting the Wax Tadpole will ensure you’re never lost for words again.

*Coca-Cola, would you believe it?

Da Publishers Weekly

15/10/2007 – In her debut book, writer and editor Little searches in “linguistic nooks and crannies” for the “quirks, innovations and implausibilities of the world’s languages,” threading witty pop culture references through tapestries of language trivia written with the not-so-linguistic reader in mind. (The title refers to the mistranslation in Chinese of “Coca-Cola.”) Little strips linguistics of its academic drudgery, showing how the Tangut language uses verbs by translating phrases like Johnny Cash’s lyric “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die”; referring to pop-culture icons like Al Gore, Jabba the Hutt and the Smurfs to get the point across; and covering every language from Yoruba, a West African language, to the verbless Kelen, invented as an experiment by a Berkeley undergraduate. The book contains charming anecdotes, witty sidebars, attractive illustrations (by Ayumi Piland) and comprehensive linguistics lessons on topics ranging from the well-known (“Verbs conjugate, nouns decline”) to the obscure (the disjunctive adjective: “The most infamous English example is 'hopefully,’ that famed bête noir of addled prescriptionist fussbudgets”). Little’s strong sense of humor never overwhelms her love of languages in this fascinating yet educational introduction to linguistics for a wide, pop-savvy audience.
Biting the Wax Tadpole
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  • 8,49 €
  • Disponibile su iPhone, iPad, iPod touch e Mac.
  • Categoria: Commedia
  • Pubblicato: 05/06/2008
  • Editore: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Pagine: 208
  • Lingua: Inglese
  • Requisiti: Per leggere questo libro, devi disporre di un dispositivo iOS con iBooks 1.3.1 o versione successiva e iOS 4.3.3 o versione successiva, oppure di un Mac con iBooks 1.0 o versione successiva e OS X 10.9 o versione successiva.

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