New Book on word myths/misconceptions: Origin of the Speciious

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at MST.EDU
Thu May 7 00:34:50 UTC 2009

I've obtained copies of a few recently published books on words and will briefly share some relevant information about them with ads-l.  Btw, I have no financial interest in any of these books.

Here's the first one:

_Origin of the Specious: Myths and Misconceptions of the English Language_, by  Patricia T O'Connor and Stewart Kellerman.  New York: Random House.  296 pp., cost: $22.

Kellerman and O'Connor are a husband-and-wife team.  O'Connor is a former editor of the New York Times Book Review, and Kellerman is an editor of the New York Times and a foreign correspondent for UPI.

The book mentions various ads-l members, including  Michael Quinion,Sam Clements, Benjamin Zimmer, Barry Popik, Jesse Sheidlower, Arnold Zwicky, and myself.  Fred Shapiro's YBQ is mentioned in the bibliography.

Incidentally, cf. ads-l member David Wilton's _Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends_  (Oxford U Pr., 2004).

I'll have to look at the individual items a bit more before commenting on them.  For now, though, might I invite Patricia O'Connor and Stewart Kellerman to join ads-l.  It's free, we'll welcome their input, and the discussion here is enormously helpful for anyone writing about word origins.

Gerald Cohen

The American Dialect Society -

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