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Allan A. Metcalf

Born: 1940 in Clayton, Missouri
Pen Name: Allan Metcalf

Connection to Illinois: Metcalf grew up in Chicago's Hyde Park.

Biography: Allan Metcalf is Professor of English at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois. He earned a B.A. from Cornell University and M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Metcalf is the former executive secretary of the American Dialect Society, a national scholarly association for the study of American English, past and present and a forensic linguist.


Primary Literary Genre(s): Fiction; Non-Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers

Allan A. Metcalf on WorldCat:

Selected Titles

America in so many words :
ISBN: 0395860202 OCLC: 42856014

Houghton Mifflin, Boston : ©1997.

In chronological order, Barnhart and Metcalf give the history and usage of words and phrases that Americans have added to the English language, from canoe and skunk in the 1500s to soccer mom, Ebonics, and millennium bug in the 1990s.

An Index by region, usage, and etymology to the Dictionary of American regional English, volumes I and II.
ISBN: 0817306943 OCLC: 27266306

Published for the Society by the University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa : ©1993.

Essentials of writing to the point /
ISBN: 0155017098 OCLC: 32015077

Harcourt Brace College Publishers, Fort Worth, TX : ©1995.

From skedaddle to selfie :
ISBN: 019992712X OCLC: 918941295

"From baby boomers with 'groovy' and 'yuppie, ' to Generation X with 'whatever' and 'like, ' each generation inevitably comes to use certain words that are particular to its unique time in history. Those words not only tell us a great deal about the people in those generations, but highlight their differences with other generations. In this entertaining compilation, Allan Metcalf, author of OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word, shows that each generation--those born within the same roughly 20-year time period--can be identified and characterized by its key words. Metcalf tells the story of the history and usage of these words, starting with the American Revolution and ending with the post-Millennial Homeland generation. With special attention to the differences in vocabulary among today's generations--the sometimes awkward Millennials, the grunge music of Generation X, hippies among the Boomers, and bobbysoxers among the Silents--From Skeddadle to Selfie compiles dozens of words we thought we knew, and tells the unheard stories of each and how they accompanied its generation through its time"--

How we talk :
ISBN: 0618043624 OCLC: 44683508

Houghton Mifflin, Boston : ©2000.

"Not everyone knows it, but everyone speaks some form of regional dialect, and everyone has some kind of accent. But what are the accents of American English? Where do its regional dialects begin and end? What sorts of quirks and variations can be expected in particular localities? Language researcher Allan Metcalf answers these and many other questions in this entertaining and informative look at our language today. Moving region by region, and state by state, Metcalf identifies key features that give American regional speech its distinctive character and expressiveness. Join Metcalf on his tour of America's linguistic landscape, and be ready to be surprised at how much you didn't know about your native tongue."--Jacket.

  Language in Education: Theory and Practice Chicano English
ISBN: 0872811077 OCLC: 5960251

Center for Applied Linguistics, Arlington, Va. : ©1979.

OK :
ISBN: 0195377931 OCLC: 670228836

Oxford University Press, Oxford ; 2011.

It is said to be the most frequently spoken (or typed) word on the planet, more common than an infant's first word ma or the ever-present beverage Coke. It was even the first word spoken on the moon. It is "OK"--The most ubiquitous and invisible of American expressions, one used countless times every day. Yet few of us know the secret history of OK--how it was coined, what it stood for, and the amazing extent of its influence. Allan Metcalf, a renowned popular writer on language, here traces the evolution of America's most popular word, writing with brevity and wit, and ranging acro.

Predicting new words :
ISBN: 9780618130085 OCLC: 49843979

Houghton Mifflin, Boston : ©2002.

Examines the phenomenon of new word creation, offering criteria for predicting the success of new words and including the American Dialect Society's listing of words of the year from 1991 to 2001.

Presidential voices :
ISBN: 0618443746 OCLC: 60386369

Houghton Mifflin, Boston : ©2004.

Research to the point /
ISBN: 0155014811 OCLC: 32466233

Harcourt Brace College Publishers, Fort Worth : ©1995.

The life of guy :
ISBN: 0190669209 OCLC: 1085589382

Had you said "What a guy!" in 17th-century England, anyone would have understood you were admiring a flaming effigy of Guy Fawkes of the Gunpowder Treason Plot. 0How times have changed! In America and, indeed, most of the English-speaking world, "guy" is so embedded in daily speech that we scarcely notice how odd it truly is: a singular "guy" referring to males only, a plural "guys" encompassing the entire human race. The journey from England's greatest villain to America's favorite second-person plural pronoun offers a story rich with surprising and unprecedented turns. 0Through his trademark breezy, highly readable style, acclaimed writer Allan Metcalf takes us deep into this history, uncovering the intrigue, murderous plots, and torture out of which the word emerged in 1605. From there, it's a thrilling run through 17th-century England, bloody religious controversies, and across the Atlantic to America, where the word took on a life of its own, exploding into popular culture and day-to-day conversation. From the disappearance of <"thou,>" to George Washington and the American Revolution, to the modern revival of Guy Fawkes in V for Vendetta, Metcalf explores the improbable history of a simple word so indispensable to our daily lives, and that evokes deep insights into the evolution of English itself.

The world in so many words :
ISBN: 0395959209 OCLC: 41380428

Houghton Mifflin, Boston : ©1999.

An international tour of words that have shaped the English language explores the etymology of words such as paradise, siesta, geyser, justice, tattoo, and zombie.

Writing to the point /
ISBN: 0974407194 OCLC: 660169846

Birch Grove Publishing, Roseville, MN : ©2008.