Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Um...: Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean

Rate this book
Um… is about how you really speak, and why it’s normal for your casual, everyday speech to be filled with verbal blunders — about one in every ten words. Why do they happen? Why can’t we control them? What can you tell about the people who make them?

In this charming, engaging account of language in the wild, linguist and writer Michael Erard also explains why our attention to some verbal blunders rises and falls. Why was the spoonerism named after Reverend Spooner, not some other absent-minded person? Where did the Freudian slip come from? Why do we prize "umlessness" in speaking? And how do we explain the American presidents who are famous for their verbal blundering?

You’ll have new ways to listen to yourself and others once you’ve met the people who work with verbal blunders every day — journalists, transcribers, interpreters, police officers, linguists, psychologists, among others — and when you’ve learned what verbal blunders tell about who we are and what we want.

A rich investigation of a fascinating subject, full of entertaining examples, Um. . . is essential reading for talkers and listeners of all stripes.

287 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2007

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Michael Erard

2 books37 followers

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
31 (10%)
4 stars
80 (26%)
3 stars
117 (39%)
2 stars
61 (20%)
1 star
11 (3%)

Loading...

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.