Press Release

Is the English Language Greek to You? Don't Know "Caveat Emptor" from a "Cul-de-Sac"?

New Dictionary Makes You a "Connoisseur" of Foreign Phrases

(ARA) - Do you ever feel like the English language you've spent a lifetime speaking is, well . . . changing? If so, you're not alone. New words are added to the dictionary each year, challenging Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public to keep up with those vocabulary wizards, the Joneses.

Foreign phrases, in particular, are entering our language at unprecedented speed via the Internet and other media. They're ushered in on newscasts and lifestyles pages, and as slang from the frontiers of film and fashion.

Most of us probably didn't blink an eye when the comedy sequel "Hot Shots! Part Deux" arrived in theaters in the early `90s. The title may have been tongue-in-cheek (and a little silly), but it didn't require any explanation to audiences who've grown accustomed to a foreign element in their pop culture. 

As an integral part of our evolving global community, foreign phrases are becoming household terms faster than you can say "nouveau arrivé" (French for "new arrival"). But even if you flunked your high school German class, you can still add firepower to your linguistic arsenal and impress your friends by picking up the new World Dictionary of Foreign Expressions: A Resource for Readers and Writers

Two decades in the making, the dictionary includes foreign phrases from over twenty languages-including Spanish, Hindi, Chinese, German and Afrikaans. Neil Steinberg of the Chicago Sun-Times notes that ". . . a quick scan provides intriguing expressions in language from Sanskirt to Yiddish. Not too quick, though, since almost every entry invites contemplation."

Indeed, many native-English speakers might be surprised to discover the source of some of the foreign phrases that have inundated everyday English. Did you know that words such as "index" and "recipe" were of Latin origin? How about guessing which language the word "taboo" comes from? If you guessed any of the romance languages, move your game piece back three spaces and make a mental note to visit Tahiti soon ("taboo" is Polynesian for "forbidden or not permitted, especially by religious or social beliefs").

Yet you may be surprised to discover how many foreign phrases and expressions you use every day, often to soften the blow of a word's true meaning. Euphemism-substituting a less distasteful term-is a popular reason for adopting the foreign. Pet owners do this when they "neuter" Fido, while similarly treated choir boys become "castrati" (the practice, "grace à dieu," is mercifully extinct).

Whether you're a traveler hoping to increase your worldly vocabulary, or a first year law student who can't quite put your finger on the multitude of Latin phrases coming up on the next exam, the World Dictionary of Foreign Expressions is sure to assist in your quest for a few "bon mots" (French for "a clever, witty saying or remark").

For more information on the new World Dictionary of Foreign Expressions, contact the book's publisher at Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers website. The dictionary can be purchased at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. 

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