"Money was maliciously introduced in ancient times as a tool of enslavement" -
Michael Tellinger

"The present belongs to the future and future generations, and all old laws, religious and other, should be abrogated immediately. Free us!" - Vinay Gupta on Twitter

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." - R. Buckminster Fuller

"You find the strangest ways to be positive!" - Diane Duane, Wizards Abroad

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cool Cats, Top Dogs... (book review)

Just for fun... Continuing my quest for book recommendations I've made in the past, here's one I was reminded of this morning during a search for cat images (thanks, Harriet). It's actually quite a good book, well researched, and could be useful in language studies because it illustrates, through these examples, how language grows and develops in co-creation with various cultural forces. All that, despite the rather dorky cover. There are so many good books that don't get the readership they deserve, but thanks to the Internet, at least they don't become totally lost anymore once the intial publicity is done and the public moves on to the next bestseller. This was a fun review to write because it was a challenge not to indulge in animal puns, something all the other reviewers did. However, just at the end I did let loose a little... (review from SLJ)

Cool Cats, Top Dogs, and Other Beastly Expressions (1999) by Christine Ammer
Adult/High School: This book delves into the meanings and origins of some 1200 English expressions referring to animals. Most readers should find it impossible to resist a good browse through its nine sections covering words, phrases, and folklore related to cats, dogs, barnyard fowl, farm animals, wild animals, birds, reptiles, insects, and water creatures.

The literate and lively text both informs and entertains as it gives sources and offers examples of many common expressions that are widely used but, too often, are no longer thoroughly understood.

Whether the origins of the terms are found in other languages, in memorable literary phrases that caught on, in old beliefs about the nature of animals themselves, from the Bible ('scapegoat'), or from the barnyard ('ruminate'), readers will gain a new appreciation for the richness and playfulness of the English language. Those needing to ferret out the meaning of a particular expression can look it up in the index. Hot dog!