A quirky, entertaining and thought-provoking tour of the unexpected connections between words, read by Simon Shepherd. What is the actual connection between disgruntled and gruntled? What links church organs to organised crime, California to the Caliphate, or brackets to codpieces?
The Etymologicon springs from Mark Forsyth's Inky Fool blog on the strange connections between words. It's an occasionally ribald, frequently witty and unerringly erudite guided tour of the secret labyrinth that lurks beneath the English language, taking in monks and monkeys, film buffs and buffaloes, and explaining precisely what the Rolling Stones have to do with gardening.
©2012 Mark Forsyth (P)2012 AudioGO Ltd
Despite listening to this book 3 times over now I still am at a loss for the correct words to describe just how much I love it! Etymology can often be a dry subject but Mark Forsyth shows a real love and appreciation for the neglected words of our language. I was surprised at how how funny this book is and immediately had to down load his second book The Horologycon which was just as interesting and just as funny :) Can't recommend them highly enough!!
I really loved this book and the way it entwined words and their meanings together in a witty and sometimes intricate way. Anyone who enjoys tv programmes like Stephen Fry's QI will enjoy the trivia and references to our social, cultural and geographical history. I particularly took pleasure when words which I have always taken for granted suddenly took on new meanings and I had many eureka moments with the realisation of where these meanings came from. My only frustration; kept on having to pause and rewind, as the associations between words and their meanings moves through the text (you know what I mean) at some pace, I was still absorbing the previous paragraph when the equally interesting next section being narrated.
An excellent volume, well done Mr Forsyth.
Fascinating, Interesting, Brainstorming
It made me think that if they taught etymology in schools, we would have a head start when it comes to learning foreign languages.
Fantastic Book that I originally bought as a paperback for a flight to the USA, after the flight I found I wanted to finish the book - but had no time to do so, so I reverted to the audio book and have been amazing my friends with random bits of trivia ever since. For me the book of the year so far.
This is one of those titles that provides the listener with endless fodder for appearing well-educated when chatting with friends in the pub. The origin of words is often a very interesting topic; this publication proves, as so many other books on etymology have, that what you believed something meant was actually wrong. The changes in the accepted meaning of words, or, indeed how they are changed to fit human bias or assumptions (burnsides to sideburns is a good example), is well illustrated here - memes abound! The creation of a concatenation of words to show the change in their meaning from their origin is quite successful and often illuminating.
The narrator has a prissy, English accent, perfectly suited to the subject matter and quite good for delivering the witty asides that punctuate the book.
I would definitely recommend The Etymologicon to anyone with an interest in language.
The author takes your on a fascinating tour of the english language and circles all the way around to where he began in a really amusing way. Each chapter very neatly segues into the next with fun and surprising connections between words that most people wouldn't expect.
The only bad thing about this audiobook was that I could have gone on listening for weeks and I was pretty disappointed when it was over. It definitely could have been longer. Fingers crossed there will be a sequel!
Mark Forsyth's 'The Etmymologicon' is a mind-boggling journey through the English language with as many twists and turns as can be expected in such a vast expanse as the history of the spoken word. From the start, the narration by Simon Shepherd is clear and confident which makes the subject matter that much easier to comprehend. The narrator's vocal style and tone fit perfectly with the context of intellectual discussion and lost or hidden, and sometimes bizarrely fun, facts.
While the text/scripture resembles something more of a humurous edition of a thesaurus than a novel, it is nevertheless an extremely enjoyable "story" without actually having a narrative, or indeed following much of a path. This itself makes the ride more start-and-stop: one can easily turn on for 5-10 minutes or several hours at a time and be that much more educated in the process. However, this has one downfall - the sheer amount of new, interesting knowledge of the language and study of all those words makes continuous listening rather difficult: you might listen for 30 seconds and be lost in a sea of confusion with all sorts of lost explanations flouting about your mind that it becomes difficult to recall at any given time. I personally have found that I am only able to remember the last thing that is said before I pause it for the next journey to work.
Do not be put off by this - there is enough knowledge hidden throughout this audiobook that it makes perfect for several listens time and time again, as I fully intend to do (for the third time), and still come away from each listen with something new to share with unsuspecting friends and family who mistakenly ask, "So, read anything good lately?"
What a wonderful romp through how the meanings of words in our current vocabulary have developed over centuries. The history, development and useage of the words flow into a fascinating, often comical historical narrative, which Simon Shepherd narrates with great enthusiasm. A fun way to learn more about our linguistic heritage.
Simon Shepherd masterfully narrates this tale of the English language with enough colour and life so as to never let any person tire of it. The listener is taken on a wondrous adventure, covering many regions of the world. I don't know if the pronunciations of some of the more foreign words were always as correct as they could be, but Shepherd tackles them with a confidence which inspires the listener to believe that's how they were always intended to sound. Lovers of language and etymology would do themselves a disservice by missing out on this journey.
"Fascinating subject might not be for everyone"
witty, educational, British
Wry British humour
The subject matter itself is quite dry - it's the history of words & phrases in the English language. Some may find that knowing the origin of the word "heroin" might not be worth their time or Audible credit (it was a trademark by Bayer for a cough syrup). But for language & history buffs, this is a great investment of your time & money.
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