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alinna
Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2011 6:57:32 AM
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Hi,

I am trying to find books that would help me learn expressions, words, way of structuring the sentence in British English as they were used in the 1930's and 1950's. Do you have any suggestions?
Thank you,
Alina
thar
Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2011 7:17:22 AM

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You mean fiction? Try Dorothy L Sayers, writing in the 20's and 30's, not just the detective stories, also essays, plays. Accessible (ie not boring!) but still written by a good writer. Certainly she uses phraseology of the day.
srirr
Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2011 7:21:18 AM

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Dictionary?
pedro
Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2011 7:37:26 AM
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For a start you might want to look at the link. Anybody have feedback on these?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_lexicology_and_lexicography

alinna
Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2011 8:01:46 AM
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Thank you for your replies. My mistake, I should have mentioned that I am looking for fiction.
nowherenothere
Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2011 9:08:35 AM
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Maybe Huxley's Brave New World. Or James Joyce, or George Orwell, or Kipling, or Yeats, or any of the other early to mid twentieth century British or Irish and English and Scottish writers. There was a plethora of literary talent from the UK and Ireland in that era. Tolkien too for that matter, maybe especially Tolkien in some regards? or C.S Lewis.

You may find T.H. White's The Once and Future King enjoyable and helpful.

thar
Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2011 9:55:55 AM

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nowherenothere wrote:
Maybe Huxley's Brave New World. Or James Joyce, or George Orwell, or Kipling, or Yeats, or any of the other early to mid twentieth century British or Irish and English and Scottish writers. There was a plethora of literary talent from the UK and Ireland in that era. Tolkien too for that matter, maybe especially Tolkien in some regards? or C.S Lewis.

You may find T.H. White's The Once and Future King enjoyable and helpful.



It depends on what you want, I would add the caution that some of these writers are quite idiosyncratic, and use words in their own particular way.

eg Lewis, Tolkien, Orwell, White, Huxley are writing science fiction and fantasy. They deliberately use language and descriptions to make their worlds seperate from Britian in the 1930s. Great writing, but it will tell you more about language of strange future and fantasy worlds than the use of language in Britain at that time.

And Joyce? again, a must-read for a knowledge of literature, but the language is VERY individual, and nothing means what it would normally mean. Not a source book for English usage.

-no offence, nowhere, I just think this should come with a warning Anxious
intelfam
Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2011 11:53:57 AM
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What about George Orwell? Road to Wigan Pier has great use of everyday english, in his descriptions although the reported speech is not so reliable.
If you want a work of fiction, read the record of Parliamentary Debates of the time! I think you would learn a lot of figures of speech and sentence construction.



guitar53
Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2011 12:08:25 PM

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Vocabulary: Edgar Rice Burroughs (Mars series) and Edgar Allen Poe (complete works)... your vocabulary will be so bombastic, it will melt peoples minds
nowherenothere
Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2011 12:50:57 PM
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Yes indeed Thar, you're correct. However, Joyce's The Dubliners was pretty much down to earth.

Alinna, if you're looking for vocabulary, syntax and expressions popular in 1930s to 1950s in Britain, your best bet may be archived newspapers, magazines, tabloids and periodical literature.

Thar is correct, you may not find exactly what you're looking for in works of fiction. If you want to read fiction of the era looking for insight into sentence structure of the day, short stories published in that time frame may be helpful. Especially if they contain character's dialog and conversation. Most writers craft their words for publication such that the general literate public can easily understand the stories. Joyce is possibly an exception with his notable 'master works' but you may pick up some vocabulary.

Ray41
Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2011 9:19:45 PM

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Autobiographies and biographies are an excellent source if they cover the persons life during any period that you wish to learn from, as, not only will they give you the actual terminology, but you will also get an insight into life in that period of time.
This gives you the language of the period, and also puts it into context.
You will also, in most cases, learn some history.
The life of Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader, as in the book [and film] 'Reach for the Sky', written by Paul Brickhill is inspirational.
You can 'google' either autobiographies/biographies and you should get a good selection to choose from.
alinna
Posted: Friday, June 24, 2011 4:08:25 AM
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So lovely to see all your answers. Thank you.
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