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The Language of Sailing

Richard Mayne

Cover Picture of The Language of Sailing
Series: Language Of
Categories: Language
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (220 pages)
(Pub. Apr 2000)
Out of Stock
  • Description
  • Author
  • There have been many dictionaries explaining to laymen the technical terms of sailing. None of them, until now, has systematically set out to explore their etymology and evolution. The Language of Sailing demonstrates how many of the English and American words in question are derived - often in complex and controversial ways - from other languages, mainly European. The diction of the sea, in fact, is a huge and hybrid skein, much of it traceable as far back as Sanskrit. It shows how seafaring knitted Europeans together, sometimes in conflict and rivalry, often also in comradeship when sailing crews could be as multinational as today's international conglomerates.
    Not the least of the secrets revealed in The Language of Sailing is the number of occasions when the Oxford English Dictionary - without which no such work could be possible - has itself proved fallible, undecided, and sometimes just plain wrong.
    But this book is not intended simply for the entertainment of sailors and scholars. Sly humour stalks its pages. So does an immense amount of practical, up-to-date information. Novices invited to crew for sailing friends should slip a copy in their duffel bags. If nothing else, it will serve for games of maritime Trivial Pursuit. Anyone interested in English literature will find here an unusual and suggestive resource.
    RICHARD MAYNE, born in London, read History at Trinity College, Cambridge, and completed aPhD there. Among many vocations, he was a senior official of the European Union and apersonal assistant to its founder Jean Monnet and to the first President of the EECCommission, Walter Hallstein. He was for several years a ... read more
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