Dr. Goodword has decided to recommend his favorite language books for the consideration of those visiting his website. He started with the excellent Collins foreign language dictionaries and language courses that he has used himself for over 40 years. Now he is selecting his favorite titles from the library he uses writing the daily Good Words, beginning with books by three of his favorite wordsmiths. You can depend on any book selected for the alphaDictionary Bookstore to reflect Dr. Goodword's teaching philosophy for the past 40 years: all will be entertainingly educational.
Reading the OED
One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages
by Ammon Shea
"I'm reading the OED so you don't have to. If you are interested in vocabulary that is both spectacularly useful and beautifully useless, read on...." So reports Ammon Shea, the tireless, word-obsessed, and more than slightly masochistic author of Reading the OED. The word lover's Mount Everest, the OED has enthralled logophiles since its initial publication 80 years ago. Weighing in at 137 pounds, it is the dictionary to end all dictionaries.
In 26 chapters filled with sharp wit, sheer delight, and a documentarian's keen eye, Shea shares his year inside the OED, delivering a hair-pulling, eye-crossing account of reading every word, and revealing the most obscure, hilarious, and wonderful gems he discovers along the way.
"To enthusiast Shea, the 137 pounds is as nothing, the tiny print is no impediment, and getting through the nearly 22,000 pages is just a labor of love. Working on the idea that you always imitate the source of your inspiration and power, Shea plowed through all said pages and managed to do so in one year and arranged some of his chief findings in alphabetical order, from whence we come to learn such terms as "father-better" and "twi-thought." Much better than a word-a-day approach, and containing infinitely more clever ideas and usage, Shea's treatment features a wry approach to his love of the language and what appears to be a staggering amount, literally, of caffeine." —Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR.
Sixth Edition, 2 Volumes; with CD-ROM with Free Tote
Oxford University Press
(Also available in e-book formats)
Here is the only general English dictionary you will need for the foreseeable future. If the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary is the mother of all dictionaries, the Shorter is its most accomplished offspring. At one-tenth the size of OED—and a fraction of the price—the Shorter offers just the words since 1700 with the quality of lexical excellence of its parent dictionary. Indeed, no other dictionary, apart from the OED itself, comes close to the Shorter's range and depth, offering over 500,000 definitions that cover virtually every word or phrase in use in world-wide English
Each entry offers everything you would expect from a leading unabridged dictionary: it identifies each word's various meanings, origins, part of speech, pronunciation, and combinations in which the word is often found, as well as cross-references to related words. The Shorter, however, offers something that no competitor can match: the historical, literary approach made justly famous by the OED. Thousand upon thousands of changing meanings are followed throughout their history, illustrated by 85,000 quotations from 7,000 authors.
The sixth edition of the SOED has opened its pages to the thousands of new words which have come into use since the previous edition and which have expanded the precision and expressive power of English. Here are such new words as Afrobeat, carbon-neutral, darknet, heaviosity, impactful, knuckle-dragger, nanomaterial, retro-futurist, smoosh, testosteronic, webinar, and thousands more. (To call someone a testosteronic, retro-futurist knuckle-dragger is no longer an incomprehensible insult). Click here for more information or to buy.
The Search for the Origins of Language
by Christine Kenneally
(Also available in e-book formats)
The Authratatie Topic-By-Topic Dictionary of American Lingoes from All Walks of Life
by Paul Dickson
From Abracadabra to Zeus
by the Houghton Mifflin Company $12.95
Words That Have Shaped America
David K. Barnhart and Allan A. Metcalf
A gold mine of fascinating word origins.
by Merriam-Webster Publishers
The Life Stories of over 12,000 Words
edited by Glynnis Chantrell $12.95
by Joseph Shipley
by Ross Petras