The Transpontine Series charts the language and history of America starting from Christopher Columbus and John cabot right the way through to 1976 in what is planned to be 20 books.
the Transpontine Series, which explores the language and history of the United States from the 15th-century period of Columbus and the discovery of the New World right through to the US bicentennial in 1976. These books focus primarily on language and the etymology of words that originate from America, set in the context of history and how those words came about.
The earliest words coined in America came either from the languages of the native people living along the eastern seaboard or from new combinations of existing English words. Only later did French and Dutch contribute some new words through the process of colonial interaction. Even more words came into American English from Spanish but all of these influences combined pale in comparison with the sheer volume of words that Americans invented, revived or gave new meaning to on their own. A great many of these have since spread throughout the world and settled as Standard English in their own right. The fact that they were once so-called Americanisms is long forgotten. This series attempts to shine a light on these wonderful words and the often-intriguing circumstances from which they arose
The history of America is vast and complex but much of it has been watered down to certain key political events while the broader chain of breakthroughs, achievements and small victories are overlooked. I am not a historian (that’s a, not an) and I never set out to write a history book. I am not American – I have never even set foot there. This series came about from my research into the American language and its words and my attempt to tell their individual histories in chronological order. The history of the United States emerged of its own accord – fascinating stories and tales that demanded to be told.
This series tells the story of America and how it shaped the English language, rather than the history of America. Every recounting of history will always be just one interpretation among many and the Transpontine Series seeks to tell a rather human story of America – the best bits, the quirky bits, the good and the bad and the forgotten. This one book grew to be a monster so large that it could not be told in one volume. Instead of cutting I have split this into a series and in doing so I have tried to uncover and reveal what I see are some real nuggets of American history. And this, of course, includes American words and their wordsmiths.
As you are about to discover, each year and decade that passed brought more and more new American words. There are many, many more than we appreciate. The book ‘A Dictionary of Americanisms On Historical principals’, published in 1951, is a remarkable dictionary consisting solely of words coined in America. How many words would you expect to find? How many pages? Well, the 2000-page folio volume contains something of the order of 50,000 words. This series only – only – makes room for about 3000 of them.
CANNIBAL – BOOK 1 –
Book 1 in the series, Cannibal, is powerful in setting up the scene and context for the circumstance that led the English to look west across the seas in the first place. It reveals that a lot explosive change took place well before the English arrived in Virginia and details how a flood of new words entered the English language from America in the century before this time and how America got its name.
ROANOKE – BOOK 2 –
As will be described in Roanake, Book 2 in the series, the Plymouth pilgrims endured months of travel to cross the ocean and reach New England, only to meet a local native within months of arriving living in their area who had crossed the Atlantic more than four times, who spoke English, had been to Spain and lived in London – all before the pilgrims themselves had even left Leyden in the Netherlands.
SKUNK – BOOK 3 –
This is the first of two books planned in a set of refreshingly simple guides to understanding and choosing wine. It is currently in production and will be available in 2015. Please sign up for our e-mail newsletter if you wish to register your interest in this or our other books.
Other planned books in the series are currently in production. If you are interested in knowning when these come out, then please add your details to our e-mail subscription list.
Frontier – The language and history of BRITISH AMERICA: From Penn and Salem witches to the Mississippi and Yankees (1651–1763) – Book 4 –
Sierra – The language and history of LATE COLONIAL AMERICA: From Yankees and Ben Franklin to New Spain and the Seven Years War (1740–1763) – Book 5 –
Buckshot – The language and history of THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION: From the Sugar Act and Locke to Independence and Noah Webster (1764–1790) – Book 6 –
Bourbon – The language and history of THE EARLY UNITED STATES: From tax rebellion and the Louisiana Purchase to Lewis and Clark (1791–1805) – Book 7 –
Stampede – The language and history of US WESTWARD EXPANSION: From the War of 1812 and Spanish America to an American Dictionary (1806–1835) – Book 8 –
The series will continue right through to the present day and eventually comprise a set of around 20 books.