Monday, March 22, 2010

Review: A Certain “Je Ne Sais Quoi” by Chloe Rhodes

Organized alphabetically for easy reference, A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi" is an accessible lexicon of foreign words and phrases used in English, containing everything from aficionado (Spanish) to zeitgeist (German). Inside you'll find translations, definitions, origins, and a descriptive timeline of each item's evolution. Entries include:

* À la carte: from the card or of the menu (French)
* Fiasco: complete failure (Italian)
* Dungarees: thick cotton cloth/overalls (Hindi)
* Diaspora: dispersion (Greek)
* Smorgasbord: bread and butter (Swedish)
* Cognoscenti: those who know (Italian)
* Compos mentis: having mastery of one's mind; with it (Latin)

Attractively packaged with black and white illustrations, this whimsical yet authoritative book is a great gift for any etymologically fascinated individual. Use this book to reacquaint yourself with the English language, and you'll be compos mentis in no time.

Received from the publicist for review.

This was a charming little book. It was organized alphabetically, which made for easy skimming.

This one gets four stars. I was very pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed it. I learned quite a bit and it was fun to find out the true origins of words. Discovering the wide variety of word origins – from French to German to Afrikans to Japanese – was genuinely enlightening. This is definitely highly recommended and would make a lovely gift for any word lover.

★★★★ = Really Liked It


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