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Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries

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Binding: Hardcover
List Price: $35.65
Our Price: $13.69 CAD
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Bargain Book Copy


Many of us take dictionaries for granted, and few may realize that the process of writing dictionaries is, in fact, as lively and dynamic as language itself. With sharp wit and irreverence, Kory Stamper cracks open the complex, obsessive world of lexicography, from the agonizing decisions about what to define and how to do it, to the knotty questions of usage in an ever-changing language. She explains why small words are the most difficult to define, how it can take nine months to define a single word, and how our biases about language and pronunciation can have tremendous social influence. And along the way, she reveals little-known surprises—for example, the fact that “OMG” was first used in a letter to Winston Churchill in 1917.

Word by Word brings to life the hallowed halls (and highly idiosyncratic cubicles) of Merriam-Webster, a startlingly rich world inhabited by quirky and erudite individuals who quietly shape the way we communicate. Certain to be a delight for all lovers of words, Stamper’s debut will make you laugh as much as it makes you appreciate the wonderful complexities and eccentricities of the English language.

NOTE: This title is a Bargain Book Copy, purchased direct from various publishers as excess inventory or a store return. The book is in new condition and will, in most cases, have a small dot or line on the edge of the book. It may also have a price sticker on it from the original store it was returned from. In a rare case the actual cover for a book might not match the one in the display picture. For more information please refer to the information page Our Product.

Due to many publishers not providing a Canadian list price the Canadian list price shown is an estimation based upon the US list price multiplied by the current exchange rate.

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ISBN: 9781101870945
Publisher: Pantheon Books
Language: English
Page Count: 320
Size: 8.59" l x 5.80" w x 1.09"
Series: N/A