News Release

Southeastern professor publishes "The Word on Words"

Contact: Rene Abadie


     HAMMOND – Words are the tools that professor and writer Norman German works with on a daily basis.
     An author of novels, short stories and popular magazine articles, the Southeastern Louisiana University English professor is now sharing his passion for words in a new book that taps into the knowledge and experience gained through his 30 years of teaching writing and etymology courses.
     “The Word on Words: The Play of Language” takes an innovative, interactive approach to vocabulary building and uses humor and etymology – or word origins – as memory devices to help build a more dynamic vocabulary.
     “This is not your parents’ vocabulary book,” German said, referring to the books of years ago that pushed obscure and rarely used words designed to make an individual appear to be well educated. The words he incorporates in “The Word on Words” have practical, everyday applications in education, business, law, medicine and other disciplines.
     The book has five major focuses: vocabulary, etymology, memory devices, usage and the ludic or playful aspects of language. It defines 1,500 words used in a wide range of areas in the context of fascinating essays about their origins and roots.
     German – who has had a fascination with words since his youth – said he wrote the book to serve as a general text for students preparing for aptitude or admission tests, such as the SAT, ACT or GRE or as a supplemental text for individuals who are acquiring English as a second language.
     “With only a few tantalizing exceptions, I chose to not introduce obscure words that few people use,” he said. “I’ve taught vocabulary and word origins for years, but I’ve never read or heard a single instance of words like ‘condign’ or ‘temerarious’ being used. While these words appear in good vocabulary books, the authors seemed to be reaching for words that few had heard of in order to justify the existence of the book.”
     Linda J. Palumbo and Frank J. Gaik, authors of “Vocabulary for a New World,” said German’s book illuminates, noting that he “charms us with his tales of words and their histories, making this one of the few books that could be placed in Reference or in Travel.”
     The American book review magazine “Kirkus” praised “Word on Words” for the way it reinforces reader retention with exercises, puzzles and quizzes. “It’s a fun read that sparkles with photographs, bright colors and crazy-quilt fonts; but this smorgasbord is still a serious textbook – readers will gain not just a store of factoids but a sharpened ability to analyze new words and a deeper appreciation for the history and beauty of the language.”
     “Word on Words” is available through

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