The Evasion-English Dictionary Paperback – Bargain Price, Oct 26 2003
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
I liked the book, althought some of the sections seemed stretched. My only real complaint is over the price ... . Read morePublished on Jan. 17 2004
Balistreri highlights the subtle nuances that set the English language apart from all others. People seldom realize that they speak English so poorly, even those who are masters... Read morePublished on Dec 9 2003 by Jill
The whole book is provocative and hilarious, but I think the "like" section is its crown jewel(she details ten uses of this beloved discourse particle). Read morePublished on Nov. 22 2003 by El
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