English is weird but funny - Richard Lederer, american writer


Richard Lederer was once asked where he would get all these funny stories he answered:

„Ever since I became a writer, I had found that questions the most difficult to answer and had only recently come up with an analogy that I thought would satisfy both my audience and me. Pouncing on the opportunity to unveil my spanking new explanation, I countered with, Where does the spider get its web? The idea, of course, was that the spider is not aware how it spins out its intricate and beautiful patterns with the silky material that is simply a natural part of itself.
Asking a writer to account for the genesis of his or her ideas is as futile as asking a spider the source of its web and method of its construction."

Richard Lederer

Introduction and bibliography

Richard Lederer was the kind of child who, almost as soon as he could talk, saw a butterfly and cooed, "Oh, goody. A butterfly will flutter by." Even as a high-school student, Richard knew that Elvis Presley, born three years before him, would become immortal because he recognized that "Elvis Lives" is a two-word anagram.

Richard Lederer entered Haverford College as a pre-medical student but soon found that he was reading the chemistry books for their literary value. Mr. Lederer became an English major and then attended Harvard Law School, where he found that he read the law cases for their literary value. So rather than fighting his verbivorous instincts, He switched into a Masters of Arts and Teaching program at Harvard. That led to a position at St. Paul\'s School, in Concord, NH, where he taught English and media for 27 years. Richard Lederer said that he would have gladly served them for the rest of his days, but having earned a Ph.D. in English and Linguistics from the University of New Hampshire inspired him to write books on language. The enthusiastic and popular response to these books, beginning with ‘Anguished English’, gave him the opportunity to leave the St. Paul\'s community to extend his mission to teach in the English language.

More than a million of his books are in print, most with Pocket Books and Dell. Richard Lederer has a column, "Looking at Language," which reaches more than a million readers through newspapers and magazines across the United States. His books have been nominated for the Book-of-the-Month Club as well as appearing in the Literary Guild alternate selections, and, in addition, his work has received positive reviews from the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, National Review, and Reader\'s Digest. On top of this, he is the Grammar Grappler for Writer\'s Digest, the Wizard of Words for Time Machine, and Verbivore for Salon magazine. His media work includes broadcasting regularly on a number of major market public and clear-channel commercial radio stations, including NYC, Wisconsin, and Boston Public Radio as well as, WHAM in Rochester and WSCQ in Columbia, SC. He has appeared a number of times on just about every major radio station in the U.S., including Larry King radio, the Osgood Files, G. Gordon Liddy, Tom Snyder, Roy Leonard, Dave Maynard, David Brudnoy, and television shows, such as the Today Show, and CNN Prime Time.

Analyzing the content of Richard Lederer’s entire book, would be as pointless as many, if not all, of the expressions in his book. Therefore I tried to analyze not only the underlying humor which sits in all of the listed expressions, but also the structure of communication and the derivation of language itself using the example of ‘Anguished English’.

Communication means the transmission of thoughts and emotions to other people using words and/or visual images. It is a means of letting one’s ‘inner self’ be known and understood by the ‘outside world’. Richard Lederer shows us in a funny way what can happen to the communication between human beings if either one or both of the communicating parties can not express themselves properly. A phenomenon of communication, and one reason that I am in the United States, is that any concept, idea, or object, no matter how sophisticated or culturally bound, can be translated into any other language. It may require additional words and perhaps visual cues,