"Intriguing. It is good to have a book that gives you something to ponder without being ponderous itself. And it can be recommended in particular to anyone disposed to find language itself, as such, a source of pleasure."--InsideHigherEd.com
"Covers a lot of ground. Reminds us that the rehearsal of that moment when concealing becomes revealing is a powerful resource-one might even reserve the word divine for it."--TheNation.com
Barry Blake looks at these and many more. He explores the history and uses of the slangs and argots of schools and trades. He traces the centuries-old cants used by sailors and criminals in Britain, among them Polari, the mix of Italian, Yiddish, and slang once spoken among strolling players and circus folk and taken up by gays in the twentieth century. He examines the sacred languages of ancient cults and religions, uncovers the workings of onomancy, spells, and gematria, looks into the
obliqueness of allusion and parody, and celebrates the absurdities of euphemism and jargon.
Secret Language takes the reader on fascinating excursions down obscure byways of language, ranging across time and culture. With revelations on every page it will entertain anyone with an urge to know more about the most arcane and curious uses of language.