In The Disappearing Dictionary, linguistics expert Professor David Crystal collects together delightful dialect words that either provide an insight into an older way of life, or simply have an irresistible phonetic appeal. Like a mirror image of The Meaning of Liff that just happens to be true, The Disappearing Dictionary unearths some lovely old gems of the English language, dusts them down and makes them live again for a new generation.
dabberlick [noun, Scotland]
A mildly insulting way of talking about someone who is tall and skinny. 'Where's that dabberlick of a child?'
fubsy [adjective, Lancashire]
Plump, in a nice sort of way.
squinch [noun, Devon]
A narrow crack in a wall or a space between floorboards. 'I lost sixpence through a squinch in the floor'.
Crystal focuses on the here and now of eloquent speaking—from pitch, pace, and prosody to jokes, appropriateness, and how to wield a microphone. He explains what is going on moment by moment and examines each facet of eloquence. He also investigates topics such as the way current technologies help or hinder our verbal powers, the psychological effects of verbal excellence, and why certain places or peoples are thought to be more eloquent than others. In the core analysis of the book, Crystal offers an extended and close dissection of Barack Obama’s electrifying “Yes we can” speech of 2008, in which the president demonstrated full mastery of virtually every element of eloquence—from the simple use of parallelism and an awareness of what not to say, to his brilliant conclusion constructed around two powerful words: dreams and answers.
With The Story of English in 100 Words, David Crystal took us on a tour through the history of our language. Now, with Spell It Out, he takes on the task of answering all the questions about how we spell: "Why is English spelling so difficult?" Or "Why are good spellers so proud of their achievement that when they see a misspelling they condemn the writer as sloppy, lazy, or uneducated?" In thirty-seven short, engaging and informative chapters, Crystal takes readers on a history of English spelling, starting with the Roman missionaries' sixth century introduction of the Roman alphabet and ending with where the language might be going. He looks individually at each letter in the alphabet and its origins. He considers the question of vowels and how people developed a way to tell whether or not it was long or short. He looks at influences from other cultures, and explains how English speakers understood that the "o" in "hopping" was a short vowel, rather than the long vowel of "hoping". If you've ever asked yourself questions like "Why do the words "their", "there" and "they're" sound alike, but mean very different things?" or "How can we tell the difference between "charge" the verb and "charge" the noun?" David Crystal's Spell It Out will spell it all out for you.
Proverbs are fascinating in what they tell us about a culture's view of everyday life: whether it be the importance of animals or the significance of the weather, proverbial wisdom is a key factor in understanding different peoples and cultures. Here David Crystal, the world's leading commentator on language, takes us on a global tour of the world's proverbs. Whether you are in Andorra, China or Tierra del Fuego, there is a nugget of local wisdom to inform and entertain.
Some proverbs to entertain:
• When two elephants struggle, it is the grass which suffers. (Zanzibar)
• One must chew according to one's teeth (Norway)
• Admiration is the daughter of ignorance (Spain)
• A blind man needs no looking glass (Scotland)
• Never bolt your door with a boiled carrot (Ireland)
• Don't call the alligator a big-mouth till you have crossed the river (Belize)
• An untouched drum does not speak. (Liberia)
• Do not try to borrow combs from shaven monks. (China)
He says bath, while she says bahth.
You say potayto. I say potahto
-wait a second, no one says potahto. No one's ever said potahto.
From reconstructing Shakespeare's accent to the rise and fall of Received Pronunciation, actor Ben Crystal and his linguist father David travel the world in search of the stories of spoken English.
Everyone has an accent, though many of us think we don't. We all have our likes and dislikes about the way other people speak, and everyone has something to say about 'correct' pronunciation. But how did all these accents come about, and why do people feel so strongly about them? Are regional accents dying out as English becomes a global language? And most importantly of all: what went wrong in Birmingham?
Witty, authoritative and jam-packed full of fascinating facts, You Say Potato is a celebration of the myriad ways in which the English language is spoken - and how our accents, in so many ways, speak louder than words.
In The Story of English in 100 Words, an entertaining history of the world's most ubiquitous language, David Crystal draws on one hundred words that best illustrate the huge variety of sources, influences and events that have helped to shape our vernacular since the first definitively English word—‘roe'—was written down on the femur of a roe deer in the fifth century. Featuring ancient words (‘loaf'), cutting edge terms that relfect our world (‘twittersphere'), indispensible words that shape our tongue (‘and', ‘what'), fanciful words (‘fopdoodle') and even obscene expressions (the "c word"...), David Crystal takes readers on a tour of the winding byways of our language via the rude, the obscure and the downright surprising.
There have long been debates about 'correct' pronunciation in the English language, and Britain's most distinguished linguistic expert, David Crystal, is here to set the record straight. Sounds Appealing tells us exactly why, and how, we pronounce words as we do.
Pronunciation is integral to communication, and is tailored to meet the demands of the two main forces behind language: intelligibility and identity. Equipping his readers with knowledge of phonetics, linguistics and physiology - with examples ranging from Eliza Doolittle to Winston Churchill - David Crystal explores the origins of regional accents, how they are influenced by class and education, and how their peculiarities have changed over time.
In this book, David Crystal, one of the world's authorities on language, brings together for the first time the three major trends which he argues have fundamentally altered the world's linguistic ecology: first, the emergence of English as the world's first truly global language; second, the crisis facing huge numbers of languages which are currently endangered or dying; and, third, the radical effect on language of the arrival of Internet technology.
Examining the interrelationships between these topics, Crystal encounters a vision of a linguistic future which is radically different from what has existed in the past, and which will make us revise many cherished concepts relating to the way we think about and work with languages. Everyone is affected by this linguistic revolution.
The Language Revolution will be essential reading for anyone interested in language and communication in the twenty-first century.
In the author's own words, "How Language Works is not about music, cookery, or sex. But it is about how we talk about music, cookery, and sex-or, indeed, anything at all." Language is so fundamental to everyday life that we take it for granted. But as David Crystal makes clear in this work of unprecedented scope, language is an extremely powerful tool that defines the human species.
Crystal offers general readers a personal tour of the intricate workings of language. He moves effortlessly from big subjects like the origins of languages, how children learn to speak, and how conversation works to subtle but revealing points such as how email differs from both speech and writing in important ways, how language reveals a person's social status, and how we decide whether a word is rude or polite.
Broad and deep, but with a light and witty touch, How Language Works is the ultimate layman's guide to how we communicate with one another.
In this charming and informative book, Britain's leading expert on the English language talks you through every stage in your child's language development. Over thirty years after its original publication, this new and updated edition of Listen to your Child shows us that while the world our children are growing up in may have changed, one thing has not: parents still need to listen.
Gathering decades of research from psychologists and linguists, Professor Crystal shows how the more we know about language acquisition - from 'cooking' and 'babbling' to melodic 'scribble talk' and simple words and then to incessant chatter - the more there is to delight in.
From birth to the early school years, Listen to your Child provides a painless introduction to the study of child language acquisition as well as invaluable advice for parents.
But now, reflecting on a long and hugely successful career at the forefront of the field of English Language and Linguistics, David Crystal answers this question and offers us a special look behind the scenes at the adventures, rewards, challenges and pitfalls of his life in language.
Both an autobiography and a highly accessible introduction to the field of linguistics, Just a Phrase I’m Going Through illuminates and entertains us with its many insights into the ever-fascinating subject of language.
David Crystal is synonymous with language, both as a great populariser and linguistic pioneer, and his contribution to the field is unparalleled. This is a book not just for students and teachers but for all lovers of language.
For more about David Crystal at Routledge, visit: www.routledge.com/textbooks/9780415485746.
Starting in Wales and moving from England to San Francisco by way of, yes, Poland, Crystal encounters numerous linguistic side roads that he cannot resist exploring, from pubs to trains to Tolkien. Walking English captures the seductive, quirky, teasing, tantalizing nature of the language itself—a Bill Bryson-esque exploration of language by our foremost expert on the subject.
David Crystal has been described (by the Times Higher Education Supplement) as a sort of 'latter day Dr Johnson', a populist linguist who has promoted the study of the English language in an academic and broadcasting career that has so far spanned 40 years and nearly 100 books.
Now he has written an engaging travel book of more general appeal. Inspired by W. G. Sebald's ‘The Rings of Saturn’ and by Bill Bryson's books, he has combined personal reflections, historical allusions and traveller observations to create a mesmerising (and entertaining) narrative account of his encounters with the English language and its speakers throughout the world – from Bangor to Bombay and from Stratford to San Francisco.
‘By Hook or by Crook’ is an attempt to capture the exploratory, seductive, teasing, tantalising nature of language study. As such, it will appeal to the ever-growing market who like to be entertained as well as instructed.
In his engaging trademark style, Crystal addresses the online linguistic issues that affect us on a daily basis, incorporating real-life examples drawn from his own studies and personal involvement with Internet companies. He provides new linguistic analyses of Twitter, Internet security, and online advertising, explores the evolving multilingual character of the Internet, and offers illuminating observations about a wide range of online behaviour, from spam to exclamation marks.
Including many activities and suggestions for further research, this is the essential introduction to a critical new field for students of all levels of English language, linguistics and new media.