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America in So Many Words: Words That Have Shaped America - download pdf or read online

By David K. Barnhart

ISBN-10: 0395860202

ISBN-13: 9780395860205

The US in such a lot of phrases provides a distinct and engaging historic view of this country's language. It chronicles, 12 months through 12 months, the contributions we have now made to the vocabulary of English and the phrases now we have embraced because the country has advanced. From canoe (1555), and corn (1608), to beginner (1993), and Ebonics (1997), a in demand observe for almost each year within the background of our country is analyzed and mentioned in its historic context. the result's a fascinating survey of yankee linguistic tradition during the centuries. The authors - either lifelong scholars of yankee English - deliver an exceptional intensity of knowing to the phrases that experience made the country and the language what they're this present day.

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Sample text

So the settlers thought of the frontier not as a marked border Page 36 but as the place where civilization dwindled away and wilderness began.  Where northerners said carry, southerners said tote.  So it is not surprising that tota and tuta, meaning "to pick up" or "to carry" in Bantu languages of west central Africa, have been proposed as precursors of this word whose origin is undetermined.  But today tote is known throughout the English­speaking world thanks to the tote bag, an invention of about 1900.

The British criticized it in the eighteenth century but picked it up themselves in the nineteenth. " Nowadays it needs no lengthy discussion to acknowledge the continuing usefulness of the word. " The lieutenant governor, William Stoughton, was a member of the Harvard Class of 1650, and on the occasion reported by Sewall he was helping the college renew its charter.  An 1882 book on women's education refers to "the Alumnae and Alumni of Oberlin," the first college that was coeducational (1881, another American word).

By 1636, while they were lengthening their profits, they had shortened the name to wampum.  The shells were strung as beads or woven into belts not only as a medium of exchange but also to record diplomatic relationships among the Indian tribes and to show kinship.  Such "documents" were entrusted to a wampum keeper who, when disputes arose, would produce the treaty belt and expound the terms of the agreement.  Exploring the lands acquired in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark carried with them five pounds of white wampum along with glass beads in many colors.

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America in So Many Words: Words That Have Shaped America by David K. Barnhart


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