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review:

TONGUE TWISTING

Chris Auman

Slip of the Tongue Katie Haegele


Slip of the Tongue: Talking About Language
Katie Haegele
[Microcosm Publishing]

Katie Haegele is a freelance writer and a research assistant at a linguistics institute. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications (Utne Reader, Adbusters, Bitch, etc.) and her travel column “The Dubliner” even won an award from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. She is also the creator of the long-running zine, The La-La Theory, which analyzes various linguistical (I want that to be a word) subjects. For someone so involved in language, words and the writing process, it was a shock to learn that she finds the act of writing so difficult. In the introduction to her recent book of collected writings, Slip of the Tongue, Katie states, "I don't find writing easy to do, not even a little. I don't even enjoy doing it most of the time." Writing is hard work, no doubt, but Haegele makes it seem so easy, or maybe I should say, her writing is so easy to read one would think the process to be effortless. Not the case, apparently.

This book is broken down into two sections. The first is a collection of essays; the second contains journalistic pieces. In the first section, Katie gives her thoughts on various subjects related to language, which includes selections such as "Who Gives a Fuck About an Oxford Coma," "On the Word Slut" and "The Prick with the Stick." Don't worry, these essays are not as bawdy as all that, but they are interesting. Section two features writings on the history of graffiti in Philadelphia, the origin of the word 'ye' (as in ye olde this or that) and the logic behind the La-la Theory which posits that human language was developed as an imitation of music.

In these short pieces, Katie reveals a lot about herself as she ponders these many things related to language. Words are loaded, they are powerful and they can have a huge effect on us. It's hard work turning thoughts into words and getting them down on paper. It's hard work, yes, but somebody's got to do it and thankfully one of those somebodies is Katie Haegele. [thelalatheory.com]

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