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ISBN: 0395780322

ISBN13: 9780395780329


For twelve years Jim Crotty has been traveling this great country in his roving Monkmobile (don't ask) and in the process has discovered how Americans really speak, from coast to coast and border to border - from Bible Belt Banter to Vegas Vernacular, from Redneck Rhetoric to New England Niceties: Things you need to know about Boston before you go there: Quahog (say co-hog) - oil-slickened red-tide clam, prized by Bostonians for its taste; Santa Fe...


Format: Paperback

Condition: Like New

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Customer Reviews

4 ratings

How to talk like an American

This is a book that is great for reading while waiting in the car or the doctor's office. I wish it were twice as extensive. I enjoy the placing of words in categories. When my family moved to Houston, TX from Fort Wayne, IN when I was 8, I noticed I couldn't understand older men at first. Part of this was accent; part of it was words. Cactus, y'all, dust storm, soda (we had pop) were just some of the words I had to learn. They just don't come up often here in Indiana. Some things were very different - no winter coats, no heavy sweaters; however, if you go into a store in Houston now, it looks exactly like one in Boston.

Fun book

I enjoyed reading all sections of this book, but especially the parts about the places I've been. It included phrases from my birthplace of Chicago that I didn't even realize the rest of the country doesn't use. For example, "gapers delay": the traffic jam caused by people slowing or stopping to stare at something, like an accident. My only complaint is that his description was too narrow. In Crotty's definition, a gapers delay is caused one particular billboard which I'm sure is gone by now. But believe me, the gaper's delay is still there somewhere.

Savvy, irreverent, but accurate journey into slang-world

"How to Talk American" is an irreverent but surprisingly accurate (at least based on my experience) guide to the local slang and terminology of various American cities, regions, and subcultures. Crotty's book delves deep into the lingo of places and people that the reader would not otherwise experience (no matter who that reader is). Perhaps the main value of this book, however, is its demonstration that, despite the rapid homogenization (or McDonaldization) of our society, there is still a rich supply of local terms, or words shared by a limited group of people with shared interests, and that these terms have not (yet) been appropriated by the larger culture. Surprisingly, these terms are for the most part actually interesting and funny, especially when viewed through the eyes of the roving and perceptive author. If this book has a weakness, it lies in the plot and character development. Wait--there is no plot and no character development--it's a guide to slang! OK, if this book has a weakness, it is that at times the author is overambitious and includes some terms better left out and fails to focus on a smaller and perhaps more representative sample. But that fault can be readily forgiven. It's a good, if not a quick, read, and it's absolutely indispensable for anyone who has more than a passing interest in the state of American language.

great fun . . .especially liked the "midwest" section

this compilation of phrases, slang, and witicisms really tickled me! Especially enjoyed the midwest section as I was born in Omaha, NB and raised (reared?) in Indiana and Iowa . . .fun!
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