Secret Language: Codes, Tricks, Spies, Thieves, and Symbols (Paperback)
  • Secret Language: Codes, Tricks, Spies, Thieves, and Symbols (Paperback)
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Secret Language: Codes, Tricks, Spies, Thieves, and Symbols (Paperback)

(author)
£11.99
Paperback 342 Pages / Published: 07/07/2011
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This book is about language that is designed to mean what it does not seem to mean. Ciphers and codes conceal messages and protect secrets. Symbol and magic hide meanings to delight or imperil. Languages made to baffle and confuse let insiders talk openly without being understood by those beyond the circle. Barry Blake looks at these and many more. He explores the history and uses of the slangs and argots of schools and trades. He traces the centuries-old cants used by sailors and criminals in Britain, among them Polari, the mix of Italian, Yiddish, and slang once spoken among strolling players and circus folk and taken up by gays in the twentieth century. He examines the sacred languages of ancient cults and religions, uncovers the workings of onomancy, spells, and gematria, looks into the obliqueness of allusion and parody, and celebrates the absurdities of euphemism and jargon. Secret Language takes the reader on fascinating excursions down obscure byways of language, ranging across time and culture. With revelations on every page it will entertain anyone with an urge to know more about the most arcane and curious uses of language.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199691623
Number of pages: 342
Weight: 370 g
Dimensions: 191 x 130 x 27 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Review from previous edition 'Secret Language' will delight anyone willing to while away a lazy afternoon, crossword in hand. * Kerstin Hoge, Times Literary Supplement *
An enthralling survey. * Jonathan Sale, The Independent *
What we have here is a wonderful weekend read. * The Times *
A serious wolf of a book about linguistics wrapped in the sheep's clothing of frisky pleasure in the originality and versatility of words. * The Times *
The subtitle is both accurate and cryptic, and provides only a hint of just how intriguing and diverting a book this isPart of the fascination of the book comes from noticing how often these modes of concealment resemble one another, or bleed togetherIt is good to have a book that gives you something to ponder without being ponderous itself. And it can be recommended in particular to anyone disposed to find language itself, as such, a source of pleasure. * Scott McLemee, writing in nside Higher Education *

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