Kate Burridge, Blooming English, Cambridge University Press (2004).
English is a most creative, changeable and imaginative language. Some words are invented to meet temporary needs and are quickly discarded; others carry meanings hundreds of years old. Language fascinates us, and we spend a lot of time playing with it, creating everything from puns, riddles and secret languages to wonderful prose and poetry. We also worry about it a great deal, looking up and checking words in dictionaries and usage guides, and arguing about definitions. This book celebrates our capacity to play with language, as well as examining the ways we use it: in slang and jargon, swearing, speaking the unspeakable, or concealing unpleasant or inconvenient facts. It is a book for browsing, for finding intriguing snippets about language, history and social customs, and a formidable weapon in word games.