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Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story (Paperback)
  • Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story (Paperback)

Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story (Paperback)

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Paperback 448 Pages / Published: 24/04/2014
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From minding your Ps and Qs to wondering why X should mark the spot, Alphabetical is a book for everyone who loves words and language. Whether it's how letters are arranged on keyboards or Viking runes, textspeak or zip codes, this book will change the way you think about letters for ever.

How on Earth did we fix upon our twenty-six letters, what do they really mean, and how did we come to write them down in the first place? Michael Rosen takes you on an unforgettable adventure through the history of the alphabet in twenty-six vivid chapters, fizzing with personal anecdotes and fascinating facts. Starting with the mysterious Phoenicians and how sounds first came to be written down, he races on to show how nonsense poems work, pins down the strange story of OK, traces our seven lost letters and tackles the tyranny of spelling, among many, many other things.

His heroes of the alphabet range from Edward Lear to Phyllis Pearsall (the inventor of the A-Z), and from the two scribes of Beowulf to rappers. Each chapter takes on a different subject - codes, umlauts or the writing of dictionaries. Rosen's enthusiasm for letters positively leaps off the page, whether it's the story of his life told through the typewriters he's owned or a chapter on jokes written in a string of gags and word games.

So if you ever wondered why Hawaiian only has a thirteen-letter alphabet or how exactly to write down the sound of a wild raspberry, read on . . .

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
ISBN: 9781848548886
Number of pages: 448
Weight: 292 g
Dimensions: 197 x 131 x 31 mm

[Michael Rosen's] beguiling journey through the alphabet will entrance anyone interested in the quirks of language and its history . . . Rosen has written a charming and thought-provoking book about what written language represents, how we use it, and the joys and mysteries therein. His humor and obvious love for his subject are winning elements * Publishers Weekly *
Enjoyable history of the alphabet * The Times *
Substantial and engaging * Guardian *
Forget party crackers - when you settle down to the turkey and trimmings this year simply make sure you have this book to hand. There's even a chapter devoted to family friendly alphabet games: perfect for playing after the Queen's been on. That letters can and should be fun, not just functional, is one of the main messages of this book * Sunday Telegraph *
The perfect book for anyone who relishes the intricacies of language and letters . . . [Rosen] reveals a gift for seamlessly meshing hard information, personal anecdote, jokes and puzzles with educational, cultural and linguistic questions and wry, pointed, observations . . . There are delights in this book for all ages * Australian *
[Michael Rosen] gives each letter a neat CV . . . enjoyable * The Times *

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“A fascinating insight”

Apparently this is the book Michael Rosen has always wanted to write, and I can see why. Written language is a uniquely human invention, and as such, exploring its development can tell us so much about ourselves. In... More

Paperback edition
5th July 2014
Helpful? Upvote 36

“Fascinating journey through the alphabet!”

This book takes you though the alphabet, letter by letter. Michael Rosen tells us the origin of each letter, how it can be pronounced, and then adds an essay on some literary topic (e.g. D is for Disappeared Letters... More

Paperback edition
13th August 2014
Helpful? Upvote 30

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