Non-Fiction Book Reviews

Book Review: Let's Talk Turkey

By Sandy Amazeen Jul 22, 2008, 4:42 GMT

Book Review: Let's Talk Turkey

Ever wonder what going on the wagon has to do with drinking? Why does extreme behavior take the cake? And did Americans\' pocket change ever really include wooden nickels? Many of our most intriguing expressions grew out of once-familiar bits of American culture, the roots of which are now obscure. Respected linguist Rosemarie Ostler demystifies over 150 of these colorful homegrown figures of speech. She traces each saying from its ...more

Whether you throw in the towel, go cold turkey or live high on the hog, American’s have added plenty of colorful expressions to the English language that aren’t widely used outside the US borders. Now learn the origins of these and 150 more of the most widely used figures of speech in this educational, thoroughly entertaining book that examines how the expressions came to be a part of our daily language along with their original meanings. It also sheds light on how common expressions continue to evolve, gaining in popularity until they become an established part of American English.

Ostler examines time-honored phrases from a wide variety of sources including the great outdoors, politics, animals, marksmanship and food. They reflect the strange, wild country that faced the largely clueless colonists as they struggled to cope with an entirely different way of life thus providing an interesting window on our past. A fascinating look at the emergence of American phraseology that will interest anyone who has ever wondered how “playing possum” or “waiting for the other shoe to drop” became such a part of the English language.

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