What does it mean to talk like an American? According to John Russell Bartlett's 1848 Dictionary of Americanisms, it means indulging in outlandish slang-splendiferous, scrumptious, higgeldy piggedly-and free-and-easy word creation-demoralize, lengthy, gerrymander. American English is more than just vocabulary, though. It's a picturesque way of talking that includes expressions like go the whole hog, and the wild boasts of frontiersman Davy Crockett, who claimed to be "half horse, half alligator, and a touch of the airthquake." Splendiferous Speech explores the main sources of the American vernacular-the expanding western frontier, the bumptious world of politics, and the sensation-filled pages of popular nineteenth-century newspapers. It's a process that started with the earliest English colonists (first word adoption-the Algonquian raccoon) and is still going strong today. Author Rosemarie Ostler takes listeners along on the journey as Americans learn to declare linguistic independence and embrace their own brand of speech. For anyone who wonders how we got from the English of King James to the slang of the Internet, it's an exhilarating ride.
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by Keith O'Brien
by Jeffrey Ostler
by Anne Lamott
by Linda Lael Miller
by Rebecca Kauffman
by Cynthia Lord
by Peter Meineck
by Timothy B. Shutt
by Christopher Moore
by Michael Thomas
"This audiobook doesn't reflect the vibrancy of its premise that American English, as opposed to other forms, has a freewheeling democratic component that reflects the ease with which it incorporates new words and new usages and embraces confounding complexities. While narrator Erin Bennett has a clear, bright voice, she presents this work as an academic exercise as opposed to an audiobook intended for a general audience. Part of the issue is the author's approach, but it's up to Bennett to make the words accessible. She does pace herself well and vary her pitch, and we can hear every word. In the end, though, Bennett could have done more to engage listeners and make this audiobook more meaningful. R.I.G. © AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine"
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