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The Language of Names: What We Call Ourselves and Why It Matters
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The Language of Names: What We Call Ourselves and Why It Matters

3.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  67 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
As delightful and playful as it is profound and serious, The Language of Names is an absolute original -- a fascinating book that reveals us to ourselves, that demonstrates the endless variety of ways in which names shape our daily lives. Drawing on social and literary history, psychology and anthropology, anecdotes, and life stories, biographer Justin Kaplan and novelist ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 10th 1999 by Touchstone (first published 1997)
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Erin
Mar 18, 2015 Erin rated it it was ok
If this book were a student paper, I would give the authors this feedback:
1. Where is your thesis?
2. For every sentence of example, write at least two sentences of analysis.
This book was primarily a series of loosely related anecdotes organized thematically. There were so many examples given that the authors never really developed their ideas very much. I can't even say what the point of the book was.
Early on they lost a lot of credibility with me by quoting Washington Irving's biography of Chri
...more
Nancy
Oct 06, 2009 Nancy rated it it was ok
See, now, this could have been a pretty good book. It had a lot of interesting chapters, even if they tended to skim the surface of what initially promised to be a rather fascinating subject. But it's a BIG subject, and the book is relatively short, so you know...one shouldn't expect too much. It's interesting to read about names and social structures...and names and their mystical power...character names in literature. All that was cool, and I was enjoying it. But then, dear me, they got to the ...more
Tishia
Aug 16, 2012 Tishia rated it liked it
It could've been better. Neverthless, it was good enough that I have it sitting on my bookshelf and I read it again now and then. It is a bit dry, but if you read it as if it's a college thesis, you shouldl be fine.
Bookwyrmgyrl
If you like to know where words come from and what names mean, then you will probably like this book. It is filled with lots of etymology and fun little factoids. The focus is on names in the United States.
Katrinka
Oct 04, 2012 Katrinka rated it liked it
At times interesting, at times tedious, with some questionable notions about the power of names that would make a fabulous book for discussion.
Caitlin
A random collection of how people/places got their names. I was hoping for a more meaty exploration of the sociolinguistics involved in naming.
emilie
Aug 11, 2007 emilie rated it liked it
This book is all over the place. That being said a great factoid for the origin of names and theory around naming in general.
Jessica Howard
Jul 14, 2007 Jessica Howard rated it it was ok
Shelves: language
I really think that a book on language and the importance of names should NOT have so many typos.
SmarterLilac
Feb 13, 2009 SmarterLilac rated it it was amazing
Outstanding. A great resource for those of us into onomastics.
Jonathan
Nov 21, 2009 Jonathan added it
Shelves: linguistics
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