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Fred Ludowyk

Fred Ludowyk reviews ‘Words, Words, Words’ by David Crystal

June-July 2006, no. 282 01 June 2006
David Crystal has written numerous books on language – ‘over 100’ proclaims the cover blurb. In the chapter titled ‘Wordbirths’, Crystal muses on how rare it is to know who created a new word. In this regard, at the Australian National Dictionary Centre we have been tracing the term barbecue stopper, which is first recorded in the Sydney Morning Herald, 27 October 2001: ‘That’s one r ... (read more)

Frederick Ludowyk reviews 'The Cambridge Guide to English Usage' by Pam Peters

August 2004, no. 263 01 August 2004
The Cambridge Guide to English Usage is written by the Australian academic Pam Peters, and is an interesting extension of the work she published in The Cambridge Australian English Style Guide (1995). This time Peters examines more than 4000 issues of word meaning, spelling, grammar, punctuation and style as exemplified in the Englishes of the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The boo ... (read more)

Fred Ludowyk reviews 'A Conga Line of Suckholes: Mark Latham’s book of quotations' by Mark Latham

December 2006–January 2007, no. 287 01 December 2006
This is a selection of the quotations Mark Latham collected during his time in local and federal politics. The quotations are arranged alphabetically by subject, from ‘Aboriginal People’ to ‘Working Class’. Given Latham’s career, it is not surprising that the emphasis is on political quotations and quotations from politicians. Some quotations are quite familiar, as with Winston Churchil ... (read more)

Fred Ludowyk reviews 3 books about language

October 2005, no. 275 01 October 2005
Books on language have been immensely popular in recent years. Simon Winchester’s The Surgeon of Crowthorne (1999) was a study of the relationship between James Murray, the editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, and the insane citation collector Dr Minor. Winchester followed this with The Meaning of Everything (2003), a history of the Oxford English Dictionary project. In Australia, the recept ... (read more)

Fred Ludowyk reviews 'Cheerio Tom, Dick and Harry: Despatches from the hospice of fading words' by Ruth Wajnryb

September 2007, no. 294 08 November 2022
This is a book about words that are on their way to the dictionary cemetery where they will be stamped with the labels ‘archaic’ or ‘obsolete’. Of course, unlike us, these dying words will achieve a kind of eternity through being permanently displayed in dictionaries, but the time will come when no living person possesses them as part of their actual speech. Ruth Wajnryb proposes that a ho ... (read more)