Yes, that’s right. It’s a book about words. Much like a dictionary. (See, Mrs Fanner? I wasn’t kidding back in Std 2 when I told you that I liked to read dictionaries for fun.)
And before you think, “Oh my goodness how boring why would anyone want to read a book about words”, let me remind you that you are currently on the Interwebs, reading largely insignificant snippets about someone else’s life. So let’s not throw stones, shall we?
So, back to the book. I bought it at one of those evil Exclusive Books sales a couple of years ago, and then stuck it on the shelf along with all the other Sale Orphans. (Expect a lot of book reviews in the near future, as I slowly remember how to read things on actual paper.) Because of this it’s a little out of date now.
See, it’s actually an annual publication describing neologisms and changing language usage, and this is the one for 2006. Not really a problem though, because it seems that I’m not quite as on top of linguistic developments as I had thought. I learnt many new (old) words and phrases, such as this one:
flashpacker: a more affluent type of backpacker, usually in their late 20s or 30s, who takes time out from their career to seek adventure.
and this one:
eugeroics: drugs which reduce the need to sleep. Although a term dating back to the 1990s, eugeroics (derived from Greek eus, good, possibly combined with egeirein, meaning ‘arousal’), were originally prescribed to treat sleeping disorders.
and quite delightfully, this one:
body spam: undesirable physical contact by strangers.
I was relieved to see a few words I recognised in there, like blook and geekfest and freecycling and lifehacking. Mashup was in there too, but we’re all a bit bored of that now, aren’t we? Aren’t we, Google?
So I suppose you could call this a paper-based version of Urban Dictionary – minus the idiocy, of course. It covers a lot more than just online language trends, with chapters on, amongst other things, politics, fashion, food, business, disease and crime. There’s even an entire chapter devoted to the language of the poker table.
It’s a great book, actually, and I fully intend to buy the more recent ones too… just as soon as I’ve made my way through the 50,000 other Sale Orphans threatening to collapse my bookshelf.
You can get hold of The Language Report here.