Fanboys and Overdogs
The language report
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year Published: 2005
Pages: 163pp Price: $25.95 ISBN: 0-19-280676-9
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Susie Dent is a word expert featured on British TV and radio (also see Barber below). This is the third annual tour of new slang and buzzwords, principally in the UK; as well, this "language report" seeks to update the other two. New words are constantly entering our language, and of late, these have apparently come from the worlds of politics, fashion and media, business and trademarks. Newly minted words on the international stage (beyond the UK) include "crackberry". My own suggestion to this will be "redberry", now being used to describe the cheaper Chinese knockoffs. In case you are wondering, "fanboy" is a male fan of geek culture (there is a fangirl), and "overdog" is a successful person who is dominant in one's field (although Oxford uses the phrase "in their field" when defining the singular word). Here's a puzzler: chapter 15 deals with "dogs" and their use as catchphrases, but there is no reference here to "overdogs". Chapter topics embrace headline writers, business speak, the language of undergarments, a comparison of Johnson's 1755 dictionary with the OED of 2005, the rise of swear words, and what looks to be a long commercial for the OED online (not a free service). VIP words of late have included SARS (2002), podcasting (2004) and sudoku (2005). These are found in the last chapter which deals with VIP words of the previous 100 years (one per year).
Audience or interest level: the curious, reporters looking for a soft story, word freaks, general reference.
Some interesting facts: "Creativity is at the expense of linguistic correctness, and goes hand in hand with a dumbing down. Complaints about the state of English tend to focus on two areas: bad usage, and bad language. Laments continue over a perceived decline in standards."
What I don't like about this resource (its shortcomings): UK orientation. One new word is "third" (1/3 of a UK pint of beer, less than 7 ounces).
What I do like about this resource (its positives): the commentaries on tabooed words, and there is also an index leading to a direct entry for the new words.
Quality-to-Price Ratio: 89
[Review by Dean Tudor]
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