20世紀クロノペディア―基礎知識辞典 新英単語で読む100年 単行本 – 2001/7
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In Twentieth Century Words, lexicographer John Ayto takes us on an exhilarating tour of our century, charting it decade by decade by way of the words we've coined to mark our passage through time.
Ayto looks at some 5,000 words and meanings, from "flapper" to "flower power" to "road rage." We learn the birth dates of words such as "movie" (1910s), "barbecue" (1930s), Beatlemania (1960s), and "foodie" (1980s). Ayto also treats us to many surprises as well. Did you know, for instance, that "atomic energy" was coined in the 1900s, "rocket ship" in the 1920s, "hologram" in the '40s, and "modem" in the '50s? And in addition to the main alphabetic sequence of entries, the book also offers boxed features on topics of special interest, such as words arising from World War II ("bazooka," "jeep," "bikini").
With a thoughtful essay to introduce each decade, and thousands of evocative words and phrases, Twentieth Century Words will enthrall all word lovers as it opens a unique window on the last one hundred years. --このテキストは、絶版本またはこのタイトルには設定されていない版型に関連付けられています。
This book, which I picked up 4-5 years ago, is another outstanding book by John Ayto, whose 'Word Origins' I have used for many years. But Word Origins is highly condensed, with limited information - this one is much better, going into an explanation of the word, and also the context in which the word was coined. Mr. Ayto also provides an extract of the passage where the word is first known to have been used. In some cases, he also adds some unique information about the word or his own insight.
You can dip into this book at random (entries are arranged alphabetically within the ten separate chapters for ten decades), or locate something more specific, using the common index at the end. I personally would have preferred the book to give all the word alphabetically, and provided a decade-wise index at the end. This would have made browsing easier, especially as there is a limited connection between the decade and the coining of a particular word.
The book also includes words that have fallen out of use. Sometimes this fading away is mentioned - at other times it is not. Overall, there are about 5,000 entries over 626 pages. So you get about a tenth of a page, on an average, for each entry. The book is bound very nicely (signature binding), on good paper, and the typeface is a pleasure to read.
The entries are fascinating. For instance, I had been trying to figure out when the Nazis adapted the Sanskrit word Swastika for their symbol. This book tells us that actually they never did - it was an English translation (1932) of the German word `Hakenkreuze', which means 'hook-cross'. And it also provides an invaluable quote from 'Nordicus' where it was first used:
"Thousands flocked to his standard - the 'Hakenkreuze' - (swastika), the ancient anti-semitic cross in a color scheme of red-white-black in memory of the colors of the old army".
Amazing work, with painstaking scholarship. With works like this, no wonder that English today dominates International intercourse. The book is not likely to be issued in paperback, as it is not really a general-interest book. A must-buy if you love words.
There are many surprises, at least for me. For example, "enthuse" as a verb is not listed because it actually came into use in the 19th Century. "Ska," referring to a kind of popular music of Jamaican origin, first made its appearance in 1964. I would have guessed the eighties as the earliest. "Atomic bomb" amazingly enough first appeared in 1914 (anticipating the Manhattan Project by about thirty years!) in something from H.G. Wells, and in 1917 there was this bit of irony from S. Strunsky, "When you can drop just one atomic bomb and wipe out Paris or Berlin, war will have become monstrous and impossible."
In some of the entries we can see the early development of a word. "Feminazi," for example entered the world of print in 1990 (I would have thought earlier). Ayto quotes the Atlanta Journal and Constitution first using it like this, "Let commie-liberal, femi-nazis and other bleeding hearts quibble over that." Then Rush Limbaugh is quoted in 1992 as saying that the real agenda of the feminazis "is to see that there are as many abortions as possible." By 1994, however the word had become almost benign as in this quote from Ms Magazine: "I fight my way to my destination, finally arriving in bad mood, militant black woman, cranky feminazi."
There's a certain artificiality to dividing the growth of the language by decade, but of course it is a handy organizing device as long as one remembers that, for example, the so called "sixties" really didn't begin until about 1964 when the U.S. got involved in Vietnam, and didn't end until sometime in the early seventies. The etymological history here supports that notion by revealing that "miniskirt" first appeared in 1964, and that "freak" and "freak out," meaning to undergo an intense emotional experience, became words in print in 1965. If you're like me and like to curl up in bed with a good usage dictionary (Bergan and Cornelia Evans's A Dictionary of Contemporary American Usage (1957) for example), Twentieth Century Words will not only be a special treat, but a little overwhelming as you realize just how much lexical information you have in your hands. Proscriptive grammarians and those who think we ought to guard the English language the way the French Academy protects French from the horrors of "franglais" should beware since Ayto's user-based collection can offend sensibilities with its democratic bias. The "f-word," for example, appears in various guises, and a lot of not really established slang ("diss," "tubular," etc.) appearing alongside established usages.
There is an index listing the words alphabetically, which is very handy, and a table in the introduction giving examples of some surprising pre-twentieth century coinages, e.g,, "contact lens," "milk shake," "acid rain," etc. Some really recent words that didn't make the book include "bobos" (from the popular book Bobos in Paradise by David Brooks) and "hottie" (for an attractive member of the opposite sex). Ayto writes that there are an average of 900 words per year that come into the language, about 90,000 for the twentieth century, so we have in this book perhaps the most important five or six percent.