Magazine article Geographical

Uncommon Ground: A Word-Lover's Guide to the British Landscape

Magazine article Geographical

Uncommon Ground: A Word-Lover's Guide to the British Landscape

Article excerpt

UNCOMMON GROUND: A Word-Lover's Guide to the British Landscape

by Dominick Tyler, Guardian Faber [pounds sterling] 16.99 (paperback)

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If you've ever taken a swim in a lake you will no doubt have felt some thermal stratification: the difference between the frigid depths and that topmost layer of sun-heated water can be painfully obvious. Whose experience of that glorious strata of warm water would not be enhanced by being able to describe it by its equally glorious proper name, the epilimnion? Our relationship with the landscape is undoubtedly strengthened by our ability to accurately evoke it to others.

Tyler's book, a robust little paperback designed for the glove compartment or haversack, seeks to illuminate the rich heritage of vocabulary used to describe the British countryside. In assembling this collection of endangered words and phrases he celebrates and protects the language which has connected us to our surroundings for millennia. …

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