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Balderdash & Piffle

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  76 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Discover the fascinating stories behind the words and phrases we use every day. English is now the worlds most popular second language, understood by over 700 million people across the globe. Its use is amazingly broad: not only is it the language of Chaucer and Shakespeare, but also of hip-hop, international business and the internet (over 80% of home pages are in English ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 5th 2006 by BBC Books
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Jan 04, 2010 Brittany rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People interested in etymology
How I Came To Read This Book: I was doing an internship in the Books & Audiobooks department at the BBC UK and I spotted this book in our prizing archives. The nice ladies in my department told me I could snag a copy and bring it home with me, which I gladly did.

The Plot: This book is basically a study of some of our most popular phrases and expressions – a virtual treasure trove of some of the most fascinating stories of etymology out there. It does focus a fair bit on British slang and li
I've definitely been going through on an English language non-fiction splurge as of late. I picked this book up for 75p; I did watch the TV show, and I loved that so I thought the book would be a good read.

It is basically a collection of some of the most popular expressions and phrases in the English language - it's really a treasure trove of etymology stories! It really does cover a bit of everything - including many a profanity, which is always a bit of entertainment! The one story that stick
A very interesting book. I am fascinated by the English language, so much so that I wish I had enough money to do a course. But then if I had enough money to do a course perhaps I would do Theology. I digress.

Anyway, this isn't a scholarly tome but a fun look at the evolution of the English language. Some parts seem a little rushed, but it does provide a broad scope rather than an in depth analysis.

I'd certainly recommend the book, though it does cover profanity and swear words so if you're sens
Saint No Stopping Us

Five out of ten.

The stories behind the words and phrases we use every day. Interesting as a reference.

I have read better compilations of odd words.
Feb 17, 2012 Meagan marked it as started-to-read-but-didn-t-finish
I thought this book sounded delightful, and I have enjoyed books about language in the past. That perhaps, was the trouble. After reading the introduction as a sample chapter on the kindle, I didn't want to keep reading. The light, jovial tone came across as watered-down and condescending rather than charming...I'm sure there are some interesting word anecdotes in Balderdash and Piffle, but I didn't want to hear them in this way.
Jul 30, 2011 Misssharice rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in linguistics, words and their history and the English language.
Recommended to Misssharice by: The TV show Balderdash & Piffle
I really enjoyed this book about the history of the good old English language. This really stimulated an interest in where words come from and their origins. I especially enjoyed the chapter about swearwords as they are such widely used and controversial words.
Jul 20, 2008 Claire rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Claire by:
I really enjoyed this book. I enjoy words, language, idioms in general, so this book was well-matched to that interest. It's also well-written, light and entertaining. An enjoyable read for anyone who likes wordplay, puns or scrabble!
I loved finding out about the origins of the words in the book, words you never thought were as old as they are, modern phrases and where they've come from, it's all highly interesting!
Very interesting book, full of historical facts about the English language and funny life journeys of words.
Sahir D'souza.
Aug 08, 2013 Sahir D'souza. marked it as etymology
I remember thinking of this book as funny, especially the bad-word chapter.
Lots of entertaining stories about words.
I took my time but it is brilliant
Tom Latham
Origins of the English language.
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