Best Allan A. Metcalf books

OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word

Allan Metcalf

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It is said to be the most frequently spoken (or typed) word on the planet, more common than an infant's first word ma or the ever-present beverage Coke. It was even the first word spoken on the moon. It is "OK"--the most ubiquitous and invisible of American expressions, one used countless times every day. Yet few of us know the hidden history of OK--how it was coined, what it stood for, and the amazing extent of its influence.

Allan Metcalf, a renowned popular writer on language, here traces the evolution of America's most popular word, writing with brevity and wit, and ranging across American history with colorful portraits of the nooks and crannies in which OK survived and prospered. He describes how OK was born as a lame joke in a newspaper article in 1839--used as a supposedly humorous abbreviation for "oll korrect" (ie, "all correct")--but should have died a quick death, as most clever coinages do. But OK was swept along in a nineteenth-century fad for abbreviations, was appropriated by a presidential campaign (one of the candidates being called "Old Kinderhook"), and finally was picked up by operators of the telegraph. Over the next century and a half, it established a firm toehold in the American lexicon, and eventually became embedded in pop culture, from the "I'm OK, You're OK" of 1970's transactional analysis, to Ned Flanders' absurd "Okeley Dokeley!" Indeed, OK became emblematic of a uniquely American attitude, and is one of our most successful global exports.

"An appealing and informative history of OK."
--Washington Post Book World

"After reading Metcalf's book, it's easy to accept his claim that OK is 'America's greatest word.'"
--Erin McKean, Boston Globe

"Entertaininga treat for logophiles."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Metcalf makes you acutely aware of how ubiquitous and vital the word has become."
--Jeremy McCarter, Newsweek

America in So Many Words: Words That Have Shaped America

Allan Metcalf

Best price for this book: $ 8.34

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America in So Many Words presents a unique and fascinating historical view of this country's language. It chronicles, year by year, the contributions we have made to the vocabulary of English and the words we have embraced as the nation has evolved. From canoe (1555), and corn (1608), to newbie (1993), and Ebonics (1997), a prominent word for nearly every year in the history of our nation is analyzed and discussed in its historical context. The result is an engaging survey of American linguistic culture through the centuries. The authors - both lifelong students of American English - bring a great depth of understanding to the words that have made the nation and the language what they are today.

From Skedaddle to Selfie: Words of the Generations

Allan Metcalf

Best price for this book: $ 7.96

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From baby boomers with 'groovy' and 'yuppie,' to Generation X with 'whatever' and 'like,' each generation inevitably comes to use certain words that are particular to its unique time in history. Those words not only tell us a great deal about the people in those generations, but highlight their differences with other generations.

In this entertaining compilation, Allan Metcalf, author of OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word, shows that each generation--those born within the same roughly 20-year time period--can be identified and characterized by its key words. Metcalf tells the story of the history and usage of these words, starting with the American Revolution and ending with the post-Millennial Homeland generation. With special attention to the differences in vocabulary among today's generations--the sometimes awkward Millennials, the grunge music of Generation X, hippies among the Boomers, and bobbysoxers among the Silents--From Skeddadle to Selfie compiles dozens of words we thought we knew, and tells the unheard stories of each and how they accompanied its generation through its time.

How We Talk: American Regional English Today

Allan Metcalf

Best price for this book: $ 16.04

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Where are you when people • go to the coast instead of the beach • tote things as well as carry them • wait on line instead of in line • get groceries in a paper sack instead of a paper bag • say things like “The baby needs picked up” and “The car needs washed” • eat solid rectangular doughnuts that are also called beignets • complain when something is spendy (“costly”) • are chilled by a blue norther • ask for tonic instead of soda • go “dahntahn” to shop.

Allan Metcalf answers these and many other fascinating questions in his new book, How We Talk: American Regional English Today. In short, delightful essays, Metcalf explains the key features that make American speech so expressive and distinct. He begins in the South, home of the most easily recognized of American dialects, and travels north to New England, then on to the Midwest and the far West, even to Alaska and Hawaii. It’s all here: the northern Midwest “Fargo” accent, Louisiana Cajun and New Orleans Yat, dropped r’s as in Boston’s “Hahvahd Yahd,” and intrusive r’s as in “Warshington,” especially common in America’s midlands. With additional chapters on ethnic dialects and dialects in the movies, Metcalf reveals the resplendence of one our nation’s greatest natural resources — its endless and varied talk.

Writing to the Point, Sixth Edition

Allan Metcalf

Best price for this book: $ 29

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An every-day writing method for people who need to think and write quickly -- in the classroom, on the job, at test-taking times, in life itself -- which always works, and which generations of students have been grateful for having mastered.

The World in So Many Words: A Country-by-Country Tour of Words That Have Shaped Our Language

Allan Metcalf

Best price for this book: $ 6.99

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"Biblically speaking, the first paradise was the Garden of Eden. But linguistically speaking, it was a Persian amusement park. Or, more precisely, it was the walled park of a Persian ruler or noble, observed more than two thousand years ago by a young Greek named Xenophon." Allan A. Metcalf shows us paradise and a whole lot more in his whirlwind tour of languages that have made contributions to our own. Starting in Europe, the original home of English, he takes us around the world, country by country, language by language. We see a geyser in Iceland, take a siesta in Spain, and receive justice in Italy. In Africa we feel the warm harmarttan wind, visit an Egyptian oasis, and learn about mysterious voodoo. We travel to northern India, where we seek the elusive goat antelope called the serow; to icy Tibet, where the even more elusive yeti dwells unseen among the rocks; to Tahiti, where we get a tattoo; to Samoa, where we are shown how to cover it up with a lavalava. We encounter buccaneers from Brazil and Paraguay, caciques from Guyana and Surinam, bunyips from Australia, and zombies from Congo. As experienced on Metcalf's tour, the English language is more wonderful and exotic than you've ever imagined -- a truly multicultural language for a multicultural world.

OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word

Allan Metcalf

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[ OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word [ OK: THE IMPROBABLE STORY OF AMERICA'S GREATEST WORD BY Metcalf, Allan ( Author ) Apr-01-2012[ OK: THE IMPROBABLE STORY OF AMERICA'S GREATEST WORD [ OK: THE IMPROBABLE STORY OF AMERICA'S GREATEST WORD BY METCALF, ALLAN ( AUTHOR ) APR-01-2012 ] By Metcalf, Allan ( Author )Apr-01-2012 Hardcover

Allan Metcalf

Best price for this book: $ 15.44

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Presidential Voices: Speaking Styles from George Washington to George W. Bush

Allan Metcalf Professor

Best price for this book: $ 8.34

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Perhaps more than anyone else, politicians are what they say — and how they say it. In Presidential Voices, Metcalf examines both how the presidents have spoken to the American public and how the American public has wanted its presidents to speak.
Drawing on a wide variety of sources, Metcalf shows what contemporaries have said about the chief speakers in the White House. He explores the distinctive words that our presidents favored (and in many cases coined), along with the regional accents that livened the Oval Office. In addition, he uncovers the hidden influence of speechwriters and the changing media on how presidents present themselves to voters. He concludes his survey of presidential speech with entertaining linguistic portraits of all forty-three presidents.
From Silent Cal to the Great Communicator, Presidential Voices sheds new and original light on the ways in which our commanders in chief have commanded the language. After reading this book, you will never again take what our president says for granted.

Language Variety in the South Revisited

Best price for this book: $ 27

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Top linguists from diverse fields address language varieties in the South.

 
Language Variety in the South Revisited is a comprehensive collection of new research on southern United States English by foremost scholars of regional language variation. Like its predecessor, Language Variety in the South: Perspectives in Black and White (The University of Alabama Press, 1986), this book includes current research into African American vernacular English, but it greatly expands the scope of investigation and offers an extensive assessment of the field. The volume encompasses studies of contact involving African and European languages; analysis of discourse, pragmatic, lexical, phonological, and syntactic features; and evaluations of methods of collecting and examining data. The 38 essays not only offer a wealth of information about southern language varieties but also serve as models for regional linguistic investigation.