Home » Dry Rivers and Standing Rocks: A Word Finder for the American West by Scott Thybony
Dry Rivers and Standing Rocks: A Word Finder for the American West Scott Thybony

Dry Rivers and Standing Rocks: A Word Finder for the American West

Scott Thybony

Published September 1st 2000
ISBN : 9780826322616
Paperback
104 pages
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 About the Book 

All writers get stuck looking for the right word. Noticing that this was an acute problem for writers in the West because standard thesauruses face east, Scott Thybony started a file of western words. Sorting through spoken and written texts, heMoreAll writers get stuck looking for the right word. Noticing that this was an acute problem for writers in the West because standard thesauruses face east, Scott Thybony started a file of western words. Sorting through spoken and written texts, he looked, as he puts it, for grounded talk, place-linked words, both rooted and wind-blown. He ended up with a list of western place names, cowboyisms, American Indian words on permanent loan, Spanish terms, a sprinkling of Arabic, some scientific terms, and an assortment of random coinings, borrowings, and outright expropriations. Soon this evolved from a computer file to the book he calls Dry Rivers and Standing Rocks and describes as something resembling a thesaurus of western geography. Dry Rivers and Standing Rocks is full of information but its not really a reference book. It reads like poetry. But you dont need to be a writer to appreciate it. Readers, teachers, hikers, cartographers, even crossword puzzlers will love this book. Neither scholarly nor comprehensive, its a collection to make you think. It contains paired words like standing rock, grafts like snaggletooth, loners like hoodoo. It recharges the familiar in focusing on a word like yonder, which the author describes poignantly as compressing the history of the West into a single longing.Thybonys word finder for the American West functions as a cultural lens. Through it, all Americans can find the way we have been using the language and also the way we might use the language. Im not sure any book can have a higher purpose.--James R. Hepworth