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The Evasion-English Dictionary [Bargain Price] [Paperback]

Maggie Balistreri
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 26 2003

"Maggie Balistreri takes dead aim at the 'Like, whatever' faction of English speakers . . . clear-minded grammar wins out in the end. Bravo."-Garrison Keillor

This scathingly funny dictionary of euphemisms translates the, like, banalities of contemporary speech.


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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Cultural criticism takes the form of a dictionary in this slender, amusing volume. Balistreri has become aware-and wants to make us all aware-of the little linguistic games we play in order to "duck the truth," the words we use not to reveal our meaning but to mask it. Saying "I feel unproductive," she notes, is more acceptable to ourselves than plainly stating, "I am unproductive." Or how about "I hate to say it but..." (as in "I hate to say she's fat...")? Balistreri unearths the underlying meaning: "I can't believe I'm saying this; it's so uncharacteristic of me." Balistreri, who runs the language and poetry webzine CafeMo.com, is a subtle interpreter of linguistic evasions and rhetorical tics. Read this, and you may think twice the next time you're tempted to say "like" (translation: "think, brain, think!").
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-The author takes on the real meaning of "whatever," "like," "I think," and other common words and phrases that put spin on meaning and avoid honest communication. Arranged alphabetically, each entry includes a paragraph of explanation of the evasive word and suggests substitute definitions. There are more than one or two meanings for frequent words. "Whatever" has the most-they include the "apathetic" whatever, the "yeah so" whatever, the "who am I to judge" whatever, and the "faltering cliche" whatever. The word "like" also has several uses here, one of which is the staller. "Poetry, yeah me too. I love like Robert Frost." And "You're from Belize? That's like, South?" The word "think" is used to replace the more truthful "know." "I just wanted to explain and apologize for just up and leaving like that. I mean, I didn't want you to think I'm an asshole or something." Teens will recognize these speech evasions and excuses in everyday language and may be inspired to try out the blunt definitions in their own conversation and writing. Do these dodges promote civility or conceal the truth and promote sloppiness? This tiny, sturdy paperback will inspire debate and discussion in the cafeteria and the classroom.
Jackie Gropman, Chantilly Regional Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and Profound Oct. 13 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
At first glance this book may seem to be just another funny little mock dictionary. It is funny, and it is a little mock dictionary of sorts. But when you sit down and start reading it, you begin to realize that it's much much more. Balistreri has written a subtle, sophisticated and clever commentary -- that's very fun to read -- on how we use the simplest and most benign-seeming words to evade the truth. Not so much to lie to others as to lie to ourselves, to lie about ourselves and what we're truly thinking.
We all know that we don't always say what we mean, but Balistreri shows just how often we do this -- more often than you think! -- and how often these (self-)deceptions lurk behind our use of the basic elements of language. Happily, Balistreri presents these thought-provoking revelations in a highly entertaining, bitingly humorous way. This is the kind of book that's so smart and funny that you'll repeatedly have the urge to read passages aloud to the nearest victim.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Witty, Funny, and Like, Right On! Jan. 11 2004
Format:Paperback
In this witty and extremely funny little book, Maggie Balistreri, has been able to step back and listen, really listen, to not only what we, as a culture, are saying, but how we say it, and bring it all home, to our attention.
Balistreri not only has provided humorous examples of office-speak, relationship banter, parenting jibberish, and teen-speak, but she makes you think about what you are saying, really.
Two of my favorite sections are "whatever" and "like." I had no idea there were that many different meanings attached to the word "whatever." And, "like" is my favorite pet peeve of today's English.
The book is such a delightful read, I could hardly put it down, and was unable to resist reading passages to my friends, especially those whose speach patterns were found in the book.
The book was so enjoyable, I could not resist a second read as well.
Well worth your time and money.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book...please! March 22 2004
By A. Ort
Format:Paperback
Contrary to what the author thinks, I blame the viral use of the word 'like' - the precursor to the computer virus - on ... Shaggy from Scooby-Doo. Who didn't let that little munchy craving, paranoid pothead infect us all?
The word is everywhere, ubiquitous, nonsense and useless. Finally, finally, finally, someone exposes the term for what it is - evasion. She breaks it down and reveals its many uses. Other terms such as 'whatever' are give due treatment as well. The book is linguistically sound and is humorous, if you get the joke.
I cannot recommend this book enough if you wish to expose the virus and root it out of your vocabulary.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's Funny Because It's True. Oct. 29 2003
Format:Paperback
If your bedside table pile includes Bierce and Mencken, you'll want to add this book to the stack. It's a pleasurable skewering of evasive language (even when it's your evasions that are the ones, like, being skewered), done with such gorgeous logic and good humor that you DO feel the terrible urge to read bits of it out loud to those nearest and dearest to you. Ignore that urge and give those near and dear their own copies. (Just don't be surprised when they start to read aloud to YOU.)
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