Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Book Review: The Lexicologist’s Handbook by Dane Cobain

About the Book:


Pronunciation: Lec-sic-ol-oh-jist        Type: Noun

Definition: A student of language, particularly the components of language such as the nature or meaning of words. Also, a compiler or writer of a dictionary.

Example: The lexicologist was overjoyed to discover that lugubrious† is a word.

Whether you’re an author, a poet, a songwriter or a student, The Lexicologist’s Handbook will introduce you to words that you’ve never heard before and change the way that you look at language.

Like a traditional dictionary but with the boring words left out, The Lexicologist’s Handbook will help you to broaden your vocabulary and impress your friends while entertaining you along the way. It’s the perfect book for all lexophiles.

My Thoughts:

I’m not one to sit and read the dictionary, but The Lexicologist’s Handbook by Dane Cobain intrigued me with its subtitle: A Dictionary of Unusual Words. Of course, what makes a word “unusual” is entirely subjective. Dane Cobain chose these words, and he considered them unusual. Some of the words were unusual to me (interlard), and some were not (lint). I found it fun to see how many words I already knew in each section. Chapter “F” contained sixty-two entries, and I knew 39 of them.

In The Lexicologist’s Handbook, the author would give a word entry which was followed by the pronunciation, grammatical part of speech, definition, and an example sentence. The pronunciation guide appeared to be Canadian or British English – similar to, but not the same as American English. The author noted that some words may act as more than one part of speech, depending on the sentence. In such situations, multiple sentences demonstrated the different uses. As for definition accuracy, I looked up some of the words in the Oxford English Dictionary, and Cobain’s definitions were in line. The example sentences were adequate, not particularly witty or entertaining. Learning new words and their definitions was what held my attention.

Content-wise, I must note that this book is intended for the adult general market. I noticed a tendency toward unnecessary sexuality in the example sentences.  For example, leitmotif (p. 184) – a theme that recurs throughout a musical composition or a literary piece. The example sentence: “The main leitmotif in Jeremy’s short story was his desire for animalistic sex.” Is animalistic sex something I want to read about? No. Could a non-sexual sentence have been used? Yes. Will other readers feel the same way as me? Maybe, or maybe not, but I am mentioning such content for readers who may have feelings one way or the other.

When I finished The Lexicologist’s Handbook: A Dictionary of Unusual Words by Dane Cobain I felt like a bit of a word-nerd, or a lexicologist, if you will. I marked many entries in the book as interesting words. Some of my favorites: flapdoodle, googlewhack, jeremiad, knurl, marmoreal, skald, and spondulicks.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

1 comment: