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by William Brohaugh
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Words Language & Grammar
  • Author:
    William Brohaugh
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  • Publisher:
    Writers Digest Books (December 1, 1997)
  • Pages:
    586 pages
  • Subcategory:
    Words Language & Grammar
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English through the ages. English through the ages. by. William Brohaugh.

English through the ages. Writer's Digest Books.

English Through the Ages has been added to your Cart. Unlike most books about words, this one is arranged chronologically, not alphabetically. The body of the work consists of a series of word lists.

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This book is particularly useful when you want to give your historical writing that extra oomph, and you want to use the right word for the right time. How about a quick insult? Flip to the proper time frame, say 1350, and Lo!

Published by Writers Digest Books (1997). Published by F&W Media, Incorporated.

Published by Writers Digest Books (1997). ISBN 10: 0898796555 ISBN 13: 9780898796551.

QUIDDITCH THROUGH THE AGES is one of the most popular titles in the Hogwarts school library

QUIDDITCH THROUGH THE AGES is one of the most popular titles in the Hogwarts school library. Madam Pince, our librarian, tells me that it is ‘pawed about, dribbled on and generally maltreated’ nearly every day - a high compliment for any book. Anyone who plays or watches Quidditch regularly will relish Mr Whisp’s book, as do those of us interested in wider wizarding history

Britain through the Ages The Romans in England 43BC till 410AD .

Britain through the Ages The Romans in England 43BC till 410AD Romans The Roman Empire was the largest Empire in the world at this time with most of Europe under the control of Rome. William becomes King William 1 Christmas day 1066 William is crowned king of England Feudal system brought in 1086 The Domesday Book is compiled, a complete inventory of Britain 1215 The Magna Carta is signed by King John 1348 The Black Death hits 1/3 of population dies The Tudor's Civil war between Lancaster and York Henry VII becomes King Stuarts 1509.

Tackling words, letters, grammar and rules, no sacred cow remains untipped as Brohaugh reveals such fascinating and irreverent shockers as: - If you figuratively climb the walls, you are crazy. If you literally climbthe walls, you are Spiderman. "Biting the Mother Tongue": English does not come from England.

Lists words, grouped by subject, that were in use in different time periods, including prior to 1150, and in increasingly smaller ranges to the present

This book is so cool... at least, in concept. I had to do a lot of googling to find out that this type of book does, in fact, exist. As far as I can tell, this might be the only one of its kind in terms of listing the words by date.
As some other reviewers pointed out, the index and organization could have been much more user-friendly with some slight alterations. For instance, the index lists the words in alphabetical order and gives a page number. Simple enough, right? Wrong. Because, when you turn to said page, you will have to find the relevant subject area (things like nature words, anatomy words, exclamations, etc.) AND THEN within the subject area--if you have guessed it correctly--you will have to go through word by word to find the one you are looking for and interpret its year because the "chapters" are date ranges like 1880-1895 and the words will be displayed alphabetically then by year then by subject matter.

For example (and ***I'm completely making the following information up***--not looking at the book at the moment), if you look up "horseshoe crab" it might direct you to page 652.
When you turn to my fictional p. 652, you see a bunch of lists in categories (Transportation, Housing, Nature, Exclamations, Human Anatomy), but decide on the Nature category. Below it you find a list something like this:
monarch butterfly 1712
raccoon dog (Japanese mammal) 1712
avocado 1713
petunia 1713
sea cucumber 1713
pin oak 1714
horseshoe crab
In this ***completely made up*** example, horseshoe crab would be from whatever the end year is for the chapter (looks like 1715 maybe, based on my other made-up example words).

It would be very helpful to have a page number AND a subject area listed in the index.
Also, they could have included the dates in the back so you can look up the word by date OR the date by word.

I sometimes have to look back at the key to interpret the year, because if a specific year is not listed it means the word existed by the last year in the range (1895, in my prior example), and it can get a little confusing. Sometimes there will be a mini one or two-word definition to explain which homonym is being represented, but it's not always clear what they mean.

Also, I might have thought that with something like 50,000 words, every word I know from the 20th century and before would be included, but I have found exceptions. There are a lot of scientific words included that I have no idea what they are, too, so it's kind of a trade-off.

Still, very cool resource and fun to look through. Great for writing historical fiction I would think so words aren't anachronistic, even if it will take forever to look up specific words in question.
This reference is excellent for its purpose: a quick reconnoiter for when an English word, of more than 50,000 English words, was definitely in use. The "definitely" refers to the fact that the word was found in written form as of the date given. Especially relating to early centuries, this means that a word had probably been spoken for some time before that date. As late as 1841, according to Wikipedia, 33% of men and 44% of women in England signed their marriage certificates with a mark, meaning they couldn't write - but they were certainly creating language.

That said, there will be times when researching a word beyond this book may be necessary. For example, I remember a quote from a distant king of England (danged if I can find the reference, though) where he says, after a great battle, "That was a nice battle". Obviously, the adjective "nice" did not mean the same then as it does now, because he meant that it was a fiercely and strategically fought and won battle.

If you look up "nice" in "English Through the Ages", all it tells you is that the adjective "nice" appeared by 1300. If you had a character use the word "nice" in 1300 the way we use it now, it would be historically incorrect. On the other hand - I imagine few readers would notice. I am not an expert, it's just that the King's quote has always stayed with me (unattached to the speaker's name).

The book is presented in two sections. The first section is divided into 23 time periods, starting with "In Use by 1150" and ending with "In Use by 1990". Within each time period, words are divided into many categories, such as "Geography", "Mathematics" and "Entertainment".

The second section of the book is the index. This lists all the words alphabetically, and refers you to the correct page in section one. If a word has different meanings, or can be both a noun and a verb, the word will have more than one entry. For example, there are 11 entries for the word "Point", starting with "n spot, position" (which means Point as a noun meaning spot or position), with the second entry showing the verb: "Point v indicate, as in "point with your finger")".

This is a great set-up, giving you two ways to approach the information.

Lastly, this is a quick-shot reference book. It doesn't have the etymological details you'd find in a dictionary. If you don't expect it to be a dictionary, I think that, like me, you'll find it useful (and interesting).

As a reference, it is basically a book of long lists. But there are insets of additional information here and there, and they can be humorous. Such as: "Deja vu came into the language by 1905. Of course, when the phrase appeared, it already sounded familiar ... "

The edition date of the book I just purchased on this page is 1998.

Happy Reader
If you're writing historical romance -- or any genre romance set in the past -- this book is invaluable and a time-saver. Many readers of historical fiction are purists. The fewer mistakes you can make, as an author, the better.

I had been relying on my (massive, heavy) copy of the Oxford Dictionary, to tell me when a word was first in use. It was time consuming when I just wanted to get through the day's writing.

With "English Through the Ages," the process is lightning fast.

I haven't found any reference comparable to this book. My advice: If you're a writer, get your hands on a copy of this if/while you can.
Since I've always been fascinated by historical Linguistics, of course I found this book fascinating. I wouldn't say I couldn't put it down because it's not intended to be read through like a novel, but I did read the first thirty-something pages before stopping. It's not for everyone, but readers who are interested in the topic, or writers who want to be sure their historical fiction is accurate will be glad to have it.
For anyone interested in the history of words in the English language this is a valuable addition to your references. Set up like a modern thesaurus, it is also easy to use. While I consider it a worthwhile addition to my collection of similar sources and I would also recommend it for anyone seeking a single source for quick reference.
Very excellent resource for serious historical fiction writers. Also useful for anyone interested in etymological development. The organization of contents is difficult to use because the material is organized by date, instead of alphabetical. This requires the researcher to have at least some modicum of understanding of the dates words came into use.