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Words and the First World War
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Table of Contents

Part I: Language, Dialect and the Need to Communicate 1. Slang, dialect and status 2. The need to communicate 3. Understanding 'the other' Part II: Language at the Front 4. Our language 5. Etymologies 6. How lingua franca developed 7. Glossaries 8. Language as weapon and trophy 9. Control, and self-control 10. Avoidance 11. Wordplay 12. The sound of war 13. Language in combat 14. The destruction of the body 15. Failure 16. Unacceptable weapons Part III: 'Us' and 'Them' 17. Race 18. Naming the enemy 19. How others spoke 20. Naming 'our' side 21. The female Part IV: The Home Front 22. Commerce and war language 23. DORA and the control of words 24. Outrage 25. Women and children Part V: Owning the Language 26. Class war 27. 'Not us' 28. Our language Part VI: Letting Go 29. Losing the language of war 30. The language of commemoration 31. Silence 32. Post-war war talk 33. War porn 34. Then and now Bibliography Index

Promotional Information

The First World War affected the English language and language used across the globe forever, irrevocably, and in ways that continue to apall and amaze. This detailed and meticulous account sheds new light on a huge topic that still affects the way we speak even now.

About the Author

Julian Walker is a writer, researcher, artist and educator. He is the co-author of Languages and the First World War: Communicating in a Transnational War (2016), the author of The Roar of the Crowd (2016) and Trench Talk (2012) among many others. His website is www.julianwalker.net

Reviews

Edifying and readable ... [An] indispensable reference [tool] for anyone researching twentieth-century history and literature, not only the documents of war. * Michigan War Studies Review *
This is a substantial book, dense but always accessible, covering both time and space. Gratifyingly, it sidesteps an all too common error that entraps books on words, of becoming no more than a padded dictionary. * The Daily Telegraph *
An illustrated analytical study, [Words and the First World War] considers the situation at home, at war, and under categories such as race, gender and class to give a many-sided picture of language used during the conflict. * The Spectator *
The most striking aspect of this work is its extraordinary scope of research and consequent breadth of material ... [This is] an invaluable resource for researchers in all aspects of the First World War, as well as for any reader interested in the relationship between the experience of war and the language which informs it and which it creates ... A comprehensive, important and useful contribution to scholarly work. * The English Historical Review *
Julian Walker's Words and the First World War provides a rich account of the linguistic world that emerged from the western front during the First World War. The book convincingly demonstrates that for British and Dominion troops, language functioned as a mechanism for coping with the traumatic experiences of war, a means of dealing with separation from home, and a way of mastering and knowing new, unfamiliar environments ... Words and the First World War provides a highly detailed discussion of its topic, based on extensive research of soldiers' diaries, letters, postcards, published memoirs, and trench newspapers, as well as newspapers and other materials produced on the home front. It constitutes one of the most authoritative discussions of trench talk and wartime slang, and forms part of a longer tradition of lexicography ... A comprehensive, colorful, and highly engaging exploration of how the First World War transformed the English language. * H-Net Reviews *
Words and the First World War is the first comprehensive scholarly examination of how the First World War shaped the English language. Drawing from an impressive range of sources, Julian Walker studies how the language of the front lines became adopted, adapted, and popularised in everything from private letters to newspapers to advertising. This book is destined to be the definitive study of trench talk, propaganda, and words that endured long after the Armistice. -- Marguerite Helmers, Professor Emerita, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, USA
Julian Walker's Words and the First World War is a fine study of the myriad ways soldiers used language as a tool of play and survival. At once moving and amusing, his book should be required reading for that broad section of the public still fascinated by the catastrophe we call the Great War. -- Jay Winter, Charles J. Stille Professor of History Emeritus, Yale University, USA
Walker's wide-ranging and engaging study of the 'linguistic phenomena' that marked the First World War and shaped its cultural memory makes an important contribution to our understanding of 1914-1918. Through media ranging from letters and postcards to advertisements and books Walker highlights an astonishing range of soldier slang, multilingual exchange, censorship of the written and spoken word (and the ways it was circumvented), home front and family colloquialisms, and the language of sacrifice and remembrance, all accompanied by striking illustrations. Words and the First World War masterfully highlights 'the huge and diverse culture of verbal and written communication' that marked the war years and its aftermath-a culture of words that continues to have resonance one hundred years on. -- Dr Jane Potter, Oxford Brookes University, UK

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