How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.
Please Note: This is a new edition of a previously announced text
This book is about language designed to mean what it does not seem to mean. Codes protect secrets. Symbol and magic hide meanings to imperil or delight. Languages made to confuse let insiders talk openly without being understood by others. Barry Blake looks in depth at these and many more and illuminates the most arcane and curious uses of language.