scandal sexual lies l'rom l’rotumo on. which Kerr attributes to the ‘decline ol‘ethics. honesty and truth in the late 20th century.

This selection proyes that sensitiyity to lying has decreased as greed and seltishness time increased. with the popular press feeding our yoracious appetite for untruths. While :six'on was sunk oy er Watergate. Reagan suryiy‘ed lrangate. and ‘l'hateher has shaken oil both the Belgrano and Westland deceptions. x\s 'l'enncsscc Williams said. ‘Nlendacity is a system that we liye in~ and. it seems. one ol which we are increasingly tolerant.

While ‘pious tirauds‘. or white lies. and the humorous lies ot' l’epys.

'l‘w ain and Wilde are hugely entertaining. the book is also chilling and tlitlttc‘tlc‘ in its selection oi the political disinl‘ormation ol'. tor example. llitler. Stalin and our own dear(’luirchill. Mark Twain acknowledged so) dit‘t'erent ways ol' lying. most Uintlc‘li are represented here. Only one query» why exclude the greatest literary lies. lrom .‘y'iacpherson‘s ( )ssian to the l litler diaries torgery'.’ ( Richard (ioslani


l MotherTongue: The English

Language Bill Bryson t l lamish

l larnilton £14.90) the dominance ol tingliin as a world language. liar trom causing astandardisation ol'speech. has led to a bewildering richness ol' Vocabulary and syntax. taking this tact as his starting point. Bill Bryson has written a readily comprehensible. thought—prtiyoking and humorousaccount olthc language. ;\iter a bricl history oi its origins and deyelopment. the author assesses the impact ol tinglish throughout the world. and ends with a look at its luture.

.-\ thoroughly entertaining introduction to a subiect which is all too olten the arid pros ince ol' the pedant. lloI/ier loiigiu' is replete w ith absurd examples ot the uses to which linglish is put. such as the .lapanese clothing company which



emblazoned its'li-shirts’ with the slogan ‘Too Fast 'I'o l.i\'e. loo Young To Happy”. The power of language to deceiye is also well documented. In 1074 the [S army asked soldiers to list a number ol named loods‘ in order of preference: one ol' them. 'lunistrada‘. had been inyented tor the test. but despite the tact that it did not exist. soldiers rated it more highly than aubergines or lima beans.

Subiected to more rigorous scrutiny. howey‘ct‘. .WUl/lt’l’ Tongue does seem a rather la/y account in seyeral respects. Despite celebrating the language's diyersity'. it regards Home (’ounties linglish as pre-eminent: hence the assertion that the words bin/1. herd and worse hay'e identical yowel sounds. Similarly. Bryson. contrary to the historical eyidence. states unequiyocally that Scots is 'clearly' based on tinglish‘. He also has a l'ondness l‘or asking questions when he should be giying answers. The book. then. is stronger on anecdote than accuracy. and alter a while even the randomly selected humorous examples begin to pull. Robert McCrum’s 'l‘x’ieSIory oiling/is‘lz and

Billy Kay‘s .St'ots‘.‘ 'Hie .tlit/ier Tongue

are both better examplesol what can be done in a one—y'olumc account of a language. but. to giy'e Bry'son his due. neither title is nearly so amusing. (Stuart Bathgate)


I Dictionary otContemporary Slang ‘l'ony'l'horne (Bloomsbury Hill”) 'liliot‘iic‘s delinition oi 'BI‘itlsli' is l'airly elastic. and as Usual I'ey‘oly es around the (. apital. l lowey er obscure and localised the rhyming slang. it it originated in london. it w ill be guaranteed a ‘British‘ stamp. .\orth ol .\'ew castle. torgct it; you will hay e garnered a working

know ledge ol .lamaican patois betorc coming across a single example ol Scots Vernacular,

'l'he idiom ol the Sloane Ranger sits side-by—side with drug—users‘ lingo. gay argot. .»\ustralian and American slang and more nicknames lor the genitals and the act ol copulation than you could ey er remember should you w ant to. What starts out as a laugh becomes rather depressing as you notice the monotony and cruelty ol the sex-associated words.

lixamples are draw n lrom sources like newspapers. especially the quality press. (hi/y l’oo/s imi/ Horses. 'ltit/er and lf/i/e. (l: and .loe ()rton's diary (the last two are popular sources). But I can't help teeling that ’l‘horne has been oy er-generous to I’m are liye. which. mainly through Barry l lumphries "Barry Mackenzie strip. seems to haye giy'en the tinglish language a cornucopia ot' terms. Was the euphemism ‘discussing l 'ganda‘ eyer really used outside their olliccs'.’l think we should be told (Alastair \labltott)



ANTIOUARIAN k t‘ '3' 3s d‘;“.:ll_‘ ~;‘ 4‘

9 . Q " at ‘3' ( v a 3‘ o. i t- m ' 3541:}...- \(s‘:gfig!:: I 3. :‘E 35m??? 3) U ~ i O s r” . ' .. a é ' f #1 if a: ' I é ~ 9 ‘~ § (Glasgow) Ltd .


A Scottish Company sinc§_j1'z$1

SCOTTISH BOOK FORTNIGHT EVer‘J’l‘S (20th October - 3rd November)


George Macdonald Fraser reading from and signing copies ol "Flashman and the Mountain of Light.“

(Collins £12.95) at 12.30 p.m. on Monday 22nd October in 57, St. Vincent St.

hieet Dav1d Craig

reading from and signing copies ol "On the Crofter’s Trail" (Jonathon Ca we it 2.93) at 6.30 p.m. on Tuesday 23rd October in 57, St. Vincent St.

Adeet Pamela Robertson (Eda

signing copies of "Charles Rennie Mackintosh: Tin: Architectural Papers" (White Cockade l’ublisl’iing .5 i To and giving an illustrated talk entitli mi; "Mackintosh and Architecture" at 6.30 p.m. on Wednesday 24th (iciioljier in 252 , Byres Rd.

Meet Andrew Yule biograpl‘ier ot "The Best Way to Walk: The Chic 1‘»? urra Sto " (Corgi g9”) and Ma1d1e Murray tor a signing session, talk and \ltit‘i' at 6.30 p.m. on Thursday 25th October in 57, St. Vincent St.

Mine and at hteet

John Byrne signing cowies of "Your Cheatin’ Heart" (BBC Publications florist; tying in with the current Bl'Et series at 6.30 p.m. on Wednesday 24th October in Volumes, 63—65 Queen St.


lliel l\l if t ‘etw'