Read Filthy English: The How, Why, When and What of Everyday Swearing by Peter Silverton Free Online
Book Title: Filthy English: The How, Why, When and What of Everyday Swearing|
The author of the book: Peter Silverton
Edition: Portobello Books
Date of issue: December 1st 2009
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 8.53 MB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1293 times
Reader ratings: 5.1
ISBN 13: 9781846271687
Read full description of the books:
I am not quite sure what this book wants to be. For a serious linguistic paper, it is not in-depth enough and relies too much on anecdotal evidence and not enough on actual research. For a typical popular science book that is supposed to appeal to people with no previous knowledge of linguistics, it is far too dry and consists of too many lists. There are just long lists of dates detailing which dictionary added which swear word when and even longer lists of what different things mean in other languages.
Those lead to another problem. I can obviously only judge the German ones but what the author claims is just wrong. In one chapter he writes that Fünf gegen Einen (Five against One) was German slang for masturbation. I never heard that one and a quick survey among my (online)friends brought no results either. It’s possibly something regional or (more likely) terribly out of date but it’s definitely nothing as omnipresent as the English wanking to which he compares it (that would be wichsen just in case you need to know). Later he describes Schweinehund (pig-dog) as one of the worst German swears which again is wrong. It can be used as an insult but rarely is (your “inner pig-dog” is that voice that tells you that you rather stay lazily at home and watch TV instead of doing sports or some work). I can’t say much about the other languages – except that he has the oddest way to explain Russian spelling and I only understood it because I re-read the passage repeatedly and knew enough Russian to eventually get what he was trying to say – but it does not give me much confidence that the passages on other languages are better. It is understandable that it might not be that easy to find native speakers who are happy to talk about swearing but I’m wondering anyway why a book that’s called Filthy English needs that much information about non-English swearing.
Now I am trusting the author to at least know his own language so I won’t question the claims he makes about English and one could simply ignore everything about foreign languages. However, that still leaves you with a quite boring book. As mentioned a lot of it are just lists of the first appearances of various words in print (which is actually somewhat interesting) and very extensive lists of which dictionaries first printed fuck or wanker when (which really isn’t at least not in that much detail). The stories about how people reacted to the first fuck etc. in a newspaper, on TV or on a record again are quite intriguing but the author’s personal anecdotes about his experiences with swearing are mostly too drawn out (and full of self-important name-dropping).
DNF at 60% .
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