Patrick Foote’s book The Origin of Names, Words and Everything in Between is a fun read for anyone who loves trivia and language. Beginning by discussing his own name Foote sets up an interesting discussion of language and the evolution of words that is perfect for any word-lover.
Just as the title promises Foote discusses how names and words gained their meaning. In some cases this focuses on geographical places and landmarks, including countries, cities, buildings, and even mountains. In other sections he focuses on various animals from throughout the many kingdoms. He includes insects, mammals, fish, and even a very fun fictional lizard known for attacking Tokyo. I particularly enjoyed the section on historical titles and the examination how certain historical figures gained their monikers and just what those additional elements to their names mean.
Outside of people and place, Footer examines objects, some of which you have certainly come in contact with in your daily life. This includes the computer, video game consoles, teddy bears, even the Barbie Doll. My second favorite section of The Origin of Names looks at abstract words, which gives an insight into the growth of language and was just interesting to see for some words that I had never thought about in detail before. There is also a section devoted to companies and how they established their names and Foote ties up the book with a focus on the planets. The tone of The Origins of Names is fun and upbeat and it feels as though Foote is talking with you about his passion. This conversational tone makes everything easier to grasp and enjoyable. If you love words or know someone who enjoys finding out new things you should pick up a copy of The Origin of Names, Words and Everything in Between today.
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