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Diane Publishing Books
Book of Babel: Words & the Way We See Things
Nigel Lewis. This extended essay-lexicon celebrates the creative confusion of the world’s languages as they interact in overheard “echoic” words, muddled popular etymologies, & the misunderstandings among cultures. This book examines the amazing & amusing “category mistakes” of metaphor. Why are whitecapped waves “white horses” in English, “sheep” in French, & “little goats” in Spanish? What is the connection between birds nests, baskets, & friendship? Eggs & eyes? Focuses on a single location to show how multiple meanings arose from the mixed & immemorial activities of peasant life. Shows ancient patterns of perception & prejudice at work as well as the resourceful power of the mind to reap a rich crop of meaning from a small seedcorn of words.
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