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
A very good mix of knowlege, humour and interest. I didn't mind missing parts because I can listen again.
"Brilliant and hilarious book"
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!!
"Words, words, words."
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.
"Incredible, intelligent, funny, but challenging"
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?"
Great book really interesting learning where the words I know and use come from would recommend it also has loads of humour in it
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.
"Deep and Interesting History of Words and Phrases"
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.
"Delightful way to explore the English Language"
This is just wonderful. I've listened a few times, because there is a lot of information within these witty words. I chuckle quite often, and feel all the better, and a little more learned, for having listened to it. Possibly not one for a serious academic - but a lighthearted one might pick up a point or two. Each section of the book is rather like taking a walking tour of the linguistic highlands alongside a word nerd with a well developed sense of humour.
There is the section on "Concealed Farts." In a nineteenth-century dictionary, the author found this definition for 'fice': "A small windy escape backwards, more obvious to the nose than ears; frequently by old ladies charged [blamed] on their lap-dogs..... And fice itself comes from the Old English fist, which likewise meant fart. In Elizabethan times a smelly dog was called a fisting cur, and by the eighteenth century any little dog was called a feist, and that's where we get the word feisty from. Little dogs are so prone to bark at anything that an uppity girl was called fiesty, straight from the flatulent dogs of yore. This is a point well worth remembering when you're next reading a film review about a 'feisty heroine.'"
Laugh and learn (even though the facts may err on the side of the trivial) - it's the best way to do it =)
"A Fun Listen"
an interesting and wondering book, with a good narrator and which at 6-7 hours is a perfect length for its content.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.