Friday, July 14, 2017

Booknote: Speaking American

Josh Katz, Speaking American*: how y'all, youse, and you guys talk: a visual guide. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.  ISBN: 9780544703391.

Genre: nonfiction
Subgenre: maps, geography, language studies, Americana, trivia.
Format: hardback
Source: Berea branch of the Madison County (KY) Public Library

The book is mainly a collection of maps and charts showing different American language and word usage customs. You learn about things like where in the United States people say "soda" versus "pop" or how do you pronounce the word "pecan." According to the author, with a few select questions on how people pronounce certain words and/or use a specific word, say "hoagie" versus "hero" versus "sub," you can pretty much tell where someone is from in the U.S.

The book starts with an introduction, then it has five parts, a conclusion, and indexes for terms and places. Each part has a variety of maps and graphics, and it ends with small sections on "how to pretend you're from. . . " that expand on a specific city or region. The visual guide is also colorful and eye catching.

Overall, I find the book to be interesting and entertaining. Fans of trivia, Americana, language, and geography will find it of interest. This is a good selection for public libraries, and I'd say some academic libraries may consider getting it. In the end, it is one I really liked.

4 out of 5 stars.

This book qualifies for the following 2017 Reading Challenges:

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