Biting the Wax Tadpole: Confessions of a Language Fanatic

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Spiegel & Grau, 2008 - 186 pagine

When Chinese shopkeepers tried to find a written equivalent of Coca-Cola, one set of characters they chose was pronounced “ke-kou ke-la.” It sounded right, but it literally translated as “bite the wax tadpole.”

Language, like travel, is always stranger than we expect and often more beautiful than we imagine. In Biting the Wax Tadpole Elizabeth Little takes a decidedly unstuffy and accessible tour of grammar via the languages of the world—from Lithuanian noun declensions and imperfective Russian verbs to Ancient Greek and Navajo. And in one of the most courageous acts in the history of popular grammar books, she attempts to provide an explanation of verbal aspect that people might actually understand. Other difficult and pressing questions addressed in Biting the Wax Tadpole include:

*Just what, exactly, the Swedish names of IKEA products mean

*Why Icelandic speakers must decide if the numbers 1-4 are plural

*How Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) was able to take an otherwise unexceptional pair of breakfast foods and turn them into literary fodder for generations

*Why Joanie Loves Chachi was Korea's highest rated television show ever

*Why Basque grammar seems downright kooky to just about anyone who isn't a native speaker

 

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Biting the Wax Tadpole: Confessions of a Language Fanatic

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The bright yellow, orange, and pink cover, 28 cutesy cartoons, two-inch outer margins, and vast blank spaces give a children's-book appearance to this otherwise serious discussion of nouns, verbs ... Leggi recensione completa

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Sommario

INTRODUCTION
13
NOUNS
27
VERBS
61
NUMBERS
91
MODIFIERS
121
CONCLUSION
179
Copyright

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Informazioni sull'autore (2008)

ELIZABETH LITTLE is a writer and editor living in New York City. In 2003, she graduated from Harvard University with a degree in political science and language citations in Mandarin and Classical Chinese. She has worked as a literary agent and as a writer and editor for the Let's Go guide to China, and her writing has appeared in the New York Times. This is her first book.

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