We love a well-placed semicolon, hate serial commas and remain forever tormented per the acceptability of split infinitives. What can we say? We’re word nerds. Luckily, three new books have our linguistic interests at heart:
If you’ve ever wondered about how the way you speak reflects who you are, you’ve got to read psychologist James Pennebaker’s The Secret Life of Pronouns. This gripping look at “function words” (I, me, it, for, etc.) explores everything from politicians’ use of the word we–not as inclusive as you may think–to Oprah’s Twitter lexicon.
Think you’ve out-groan punning? Not so, says speechwriter John Pollack in The Pun Also Rises, which makes the case for wordplay’s rich history and cognitive importance. From the visual jokes found in Egyptian pyramids to the final rounds of the world pun championship, Pollack shows the science and joy of subversive language.
Finally, as much we like using words, we also like looking at them. Simon Garfield’s new book, Just My Type, is a deft and downright fun study of typeface that asks the question: What does your favorite font say about you? Learn how Trajan became the movie-poster go-to and how Gotham may have helped Obama’s White House bid.