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06 March 2010

Book Review: A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi": The Origin of Foreign Words Used in English by Chloe Rhodes


Title: A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi": The Origin of Foreign Words Used in English
Author: Chloe Rhodes
Publisher: Readers Digest
Publication Date: March 4, 2010
Hardcover: 176 pages
ISBN: 978-1606520574
Genre: Reference, Etymology

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About the Book:

Carpe Diem and Become a Word Connoisseur!

English is filled with a smorgasbord of foreign words and phrases that have entered our language from many sources -- some from as far back as the Celts. A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi," which tells the story of how many of these expressions came to be commonly used in English, will both amaze and amuse language lovers everywhere. You'll be fascinated to learn, for instance, that . . .

* ketchup began life as a spicy pickled fish sauce called koechiap in seventeenth-century China?
* honcho came from the Japanese world hancho, which means squad chief? The world was brought to the United States something during the 1940s by soldiers who had served in Japan.
* dungarees comes from the Hindi word dungri, the thick cotton cloth used for sails and tents in India?

Organized alphabetically for easy reference, A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi" tells the little-known origin of some of these thousands of foreign words and phrases -- from aficionado to zeitgeist. Inside, you'll find translations, definitions, origins, and lively descriptions of each item's evolution into our everyday discourse. With this whimsical little book, you'll be ready to throw out a foreign word or phrase at your next party, lending your conversation with, well, a certain je ne sais quoi.


My review:

A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi": The Origin of Foreign Words Used in English by Chloe Rhodes is an absolutely delightfully charming book filled with foreign words used within the English language, the origins of the words, their original definitions as well as how the word came about, the current meaning and an example of usage of the word. My family as well as I had a lot of fun discovering the meanings of many words as well as the origins of some of our favourites such as "Reductio ad Absurdum". A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi" makes for a fun book to read through, use for reference or give to any lover of etymology as a gift.

About the Author:

Chloe Rhodes is a freelance journalist who has worked for The Telegraph, Guardian and The Times as well as numerous other respected publications. She lives in North London with her husband.

I received a complimentary copy of A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi": The Origin of Foreign Words Used in English by Chloe Rhodes from FSB Media. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.

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6 comments:

Becky said...

Sounds pretty interesting, I think I would like to know all these little facts. You would be constantly surprised

Jennifer said...

Becky,

This was indeed a fun and rather educating read. The whole family as interested in learning about the various words. We had a great time.

Jennifer

fredamans said...

I'm glad you gave it 3.5 stars... I have to read this one.... it's always easier if others somewhat enjoyed it too.

Geri said...

I am so glad I read your review Jennifer! I saw this book and sort of passed over it..I didn't take the time to see what it is about. Your review has really sparked my interest...I will be buying this one..sounds like such great fun!

J.T. Oldfield said...

This sounds awesome! But then again, I'm a total linguistic nerd.

J.T. Oldfield said...

This sounds awesome! But then again, I'm a total linguistic nerd.