Short Cuts: A Guide to Oaths, Ring Tones, Ransom Notes, Famous Last Words, and Other Forms of Minimalist Communication

ISBN : 9780195389135

Alexander Humez; Nicholas Humez; Rob Flynn
320 ページ
148 x 217 mm

Our everyday lives are inevitably touched-and immeasurably enriched-by an extraordinary variety of miniature forms of verbal communication, from classified ads to street signs, and from yesterday's graffito to tomorrow's headline. Celebrating our long history of compact speech, Short Cuts offers a well-researched and vibrantly written account of this unsung corner of the linguistic world, inspiring a new appreciation of the wondrously varied forms of our briefest exchanges. Alexander Humez, Nicholas Humez, and Rob Flynn here shed light on an ever-growing field of minimalist genres, ranging from the bank robbery note to the billboard, from the curse hurled from a car window (or the Senate floor) to the suicide note, and from the ghost-word to the ring tone. The book is divided into ten sections, such as In the Dictionary..(discussing such topics as the Wiktionary, Dords, Sniglets, and Mountweazels), In and Out of Trouble..(error messages, weasel words, the pre-nup), and On the Lam..(ransom notes, wanted posters, APBs). The authors look at the comic strip's maladicta balloon and the dinner-interrupter's robocalls, the advice column and the obit, and the many ways your personal appearance tells us who you are, from the message on your gimme cap to the tattoo with your S.O.'s name on your ankle. Uncovering the elegance, the humour, and the unspoken implications in these fleeting communications, this book provides a satisfying thoroughness and an abundance of connections that unravel how the oath became the swearword and the calling card morphed into the tweet. And of course, no treatment of short-form communication would be complete without investigating the structures, components, and etiquette of instant messaging. For readers who love language and enjoy rummaging through the cultural baggage that comes with it, Short Cuts gathers an engaging sampler of the most delightful and cogent-and above all brief-forms of contemporary English.


Alexander Humez holds a Ph.D. in Indo-European Linguistics. He has authored or co-authored both trade and reference books, including collaborations with his brother such as On the Dot, Latin for People, Alpha to Omega, A B C Et Cetera, and Zero to Lazy Eight (with J. Maguire). Nicholas Humez, in addition to the above collaborations, is the author of Silversmithing: A Basic Manual and a columnist for VERBATIM, The Language Quarterly. Rob Flynn writes for the computer industry. He has authored and co-authored several books, articles, and screenplays.