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.
Wheelock’s Latin 7th Edition retains its signature core of authentic Latin readings—curated from the works of Cicero, Vergil, and other major Roman authors of classical literature, drama, and poetry, as well as inscriptions, artifacts, and even authentic graffiti—that demonstrate the ancient Romans’ everyday use of Latin: Latin as a living language.
With expanded English-Latin/Latin-English vocabulary sections, tightly retooled comprehension and discussion questions, self-tutorial exercises, translation tips, etymological aids, maps, and dozens of photos and illustrations that capture aspects of classical culture and mythology, Wheelock’s Latin 7th Edition is the essential resource for students beginning their journey into the heart of the classical world.
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.
Linguistics has long shied away from claiming any link between a language and the culture of its speakers: too much simplistic (even bigoted) chatter about the romance of Italian and the goose-stepping orderliness of German has made serious thinkers wary of the entire subject. But now, acclaimed linguist Guy Deutscher has dared to reopen the issue. Can culture influence language—and vice versa? Can different languages lead their speakers to different thoughts? Could our experience of the world depend on whether our language has a word for "blue"?
Challenging the consensus that the fundaments of language are hard-wired in our genes and thus universal, Deutscher argues that the answer to all these questions is—yes. In thrilling fashion, he takes us from Homer to Darwin, from Yale to the Amazon, from how to name the rainbow to why Russian water—a "she"—becomes a "he" once you dip a tea bag into her, demonstrating that language does in fact reflect culture in ways that are anything but trivial. Audacious, delightful, and field-changing, Through the Language Glass is a classic of intellectual discovery.
Exercises throughout provide opportunities for puzzling out concepts, committing terms and data to memory, and applying ideas. A comprehensive glossary and up-to-date bibliographies help to guide further study.
The story of the world in the last five thousand years is above all the story of its languages. Some shared language is what binds any community together, and makes possible both the living of a common history and the telling of it.
Yet the history of the world’s great languages has rarely been examined. ‘Empires of the Word’ is the first to bring together the tales in all their glorious variety: the amazing innovations – in education, culture and diplomacy – devised by speakers in the Middle East; the uncanny resilience of Chinese throughout twenty centuries of invasions; the progress of Sanskrit from north India to Java and Japan; the struggle that gave birth to the languages of modern Europe; and the global spread of English.
Besides these epic achievements, language failures are equally fascinating: why did Germany get left behind? Why did Egyptian, which had survived foreign takeovers for three millennia, succumb to Mohammed’s Arabic? Why is Dutch unknown in modern Indonesia, given that the Netherlands had ruled the East Indies for as long as the British ruled India?
As this book engagingly reveals, the language history of the world shows eloquently the real characters of peoples; it also shows that the language of the future will, like the languages of the past, be full of surprises.
Presents a highly accessible introduction to the study of language in real-life social contexts around the world Combines classic studies on language and cutting-edge contemporary scholarship and assumes no prior knowledge in linguistics or anthropology Features a series of updates and revisions for this new edition, including an all-new chapter on forms of nonverbal language Provides a unifying synthesis of current research and considers future directions for the field
“English accents are the sexiest.”
“Americans have ruined the English language.”
Such claims about the English language are often repeated but rarely examined. Professor Lynne Murphy is on the linguistic front line. In The Prodigal Tongue she explores the fiction and reality of the special relationship between British and American English. By examining the causes and symptoms of American Verbal Inferiority Complex and its flipside, British Verbal Superiority Complex, Murphy unravels the prejudices, stereotypes and insecurities that shape our attitudes to our own language.
With great humo(u)r and new insights, Lynne Murphy looks at the social, political and linguistic forces that have driven American and British English in different directions: how Americans got from centre to center, why British accents are growing away from American ones, and what different things we mean when we say estate, frown, or middle class. Is anyone winning this war of the words? Will Yanks and Brits ever really understand each other?
These topics are presented in such a way that students can examine the inherent diversity of the communicative systems used in the United States as both a form of cultural enrichment and as the basis for socio-political conflict. The author team outlines the different viewpoints on contemporary issues surrounding language in the US and contextualizes these issues within linguistic facts, to help students think critically and formulate logical discussions. To provide opportunities for further examination and debate, chapters are organized around key misconceptions or questions ("I don't have an accent" or "Immigrants don't want to learn English"), bringing them to the forefront for readers to address directly.
Language and Linguistic Diversity in the US is a fresh and unique take on a widely taught topic. It is ideal for students from a variety of disciplines or with no prior knowledge of the field, and a useful text for introductory courses on language in the US, American English, language variation, language ideology, and sociolinguistics.
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.
The pun is commonly dismissed as the lowest form of wit, and punsters are often unpopular for their obsessive wordplay. But such attitudes are relatively recent developments. In The Pun Also Rises, John Pollack-a former World Pun Champion and presidential speechwriter for Bill Clinton-explains why such wordplay is significant: It both revolutionized language and played a pivotal role in making the modern world possible. Skillfully weaving together stories and evidence from history, brain science, pop culture, literature, anthropology, and humor, The Pun Also Rises is an authoritative yet playful exploration of a practice that is common, in one form or another, to virtually every language on earth.
At once entertaining and educational, this engaging book answers fundamental questions: Just what is a pun, and why do people make them? How did punning impact the development of human language, and how did that drive creativity and progress? And why, after centuries of decline, does the pun still matter?
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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.
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.
An eye-opening tour for all language lovers, What Language Is offers a fascinating new perspective on the way humans communicate. From vanishing languages spoken by a few hundred people to major tongues like Chinese, with copious revelations about the hodgepodge nature of English, John McWhorter shows readers how to see and hear languages as a linguist does. Packed with Big Ideas about language alongside wonderful trivia, What Language Is explains how languages across the globe (the Queen's English and Surinam creoles alike) originate, evolve, multiply, and divide. Raising provocative questions about what qualifies as a language (so-called slang does have structured grammar), McWhorter also takes readers on a marvelous journey through time and place-from Persian to the languages of Sri Lanka- to deliver a feast of facts about the wonders of human linguistic expression.
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)
Mankind has a distinct advantage over other terrestrial species: we talk to one another. But how did we acquire the most advanced form of communication on Earth? Daniel L. Everett, a “bombshell” linguist and “instant folk hero” (Tom Wolfe, Harper’s), provides in this sweeping history a comprehensive examination of the evolutionary story of language, from the earliest speaking attempts by hominids to the more than seven thousand languages that exist today.
Although fossil hunters and linguists have brought us closer to unearthing the true origins of language, Daniel Everett’s discoveries have upended the contemporary linguistic world, reverberating far beyond academic circles. While conducting field research in the Amazonian rainforest, Everett came across an age-old language nestled amongst a tribe of hunter-gatherers. Challenging long-standing principles in the field, Everett now builds on the theory that language was not intrinsic to our species. In order to truly understand its origins, a more interdisciplinary approach is needed—one that accounts as much for our propensity for culture as it does our biological makeup.
Language began, Everett theorizes, with Homo Erectus, who catalyzed words through culturally invented symbols. Early humans, as their brains grew larger, incorporated gestures and voice intonations to communicate, all of which built on each other for 60,000 generations. Tracing crucial shifts and developments across the ages, Everett breaks down every component of speech, from harnessing control of more than a hundred respiratory muscles in the larynx and diaphragm, to mastering the use of the tongue. Moving on from biology to execution, Everett explores why elements such as grammar and storytelling are not nearly as critical to language as one might suspect.
In the book’s final section, Cultural Evolution of Language, Everett takes the ever-debated “language gap” to task, delving into the chasm that separates “us” from “the animals.” He approaches the subject from various disciplines, including anthropology, neuroscience, and archaeology, to reveal that it was social complexity, as well as cultural, physiological, and neurological superiority, that allowed humans—with our clawless hands, breakable bones, and soft skin—to become the apex predator.
How Language Began ultimately explains what we know, what we’d like to know, and what we likely never will know about how humans went from mere communication to language. Based on nearly forty years of fieldwork, Everett debunks long-held theories by some of history’s greatest thinkers, from Plato to Chomsky. The result is an invaluable study of what makes us human.
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.
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'.
From the meatpacking plants that inspired Henry Ford’s first moving assembly line to the "domino theory" that led America into Vietnam to the "bicycle for the mind" that Steve Jobs envisioned as the Macintosh computer, analogies have played a dynamic role in shaping the world around us—and still do today.
Analogies are far more complex than their SAT stereotype and lie at the very core of human cognition and creativity. Once we become aware of this, we start seeing them everywhere—in ads, apps, political debates, legal arguments, logos, and euphemisms, to name just a few. At their very best, analogies inspire new ways of thinking, enable invention, and motivate people to action. Unfortunately, not every analogy that rings true is true. That’s why, at their worst, analogies can deceive, manipulate, or mislead us into disaster. The challenge? Spotting the difference before it’s too late.
Rich with engaging stories, surprising examples, and a practical method to evaluate the truth or effectiveness of any analogy, Shortcut will improve critical thinking, enhance creativity, and offer readers a fresh approach to resolving some of today’s most intractable challenges.
In this book, David Crystal, one of the world's authorities onlanguage, brings together for the first time the three major trendswhich he argues have fundamentally altered the world's linguisticecology: first, the emergence of English as the world's first trulyglobal language; second, the crisis facing huge numbers oflanguages which are currently endangered or dying; and, third, theradical effect on language of the arrival of Internettechnology.
Examining the interrelationships between these topics, Crystalencounters a vision of a linguistic future which is radicallydifferent from what has existed in the past, and which will make usrevise many cherished concepts relating to the way we think aboutand work with languages. Everyone is affected by this linguisticrevolution.
The Language Revolution will be essential reading for anyoneinterested in language and communication in the twenty-firstcentury.
Documents and examines the invention of a ‘new’ language between two boys in postcolonial Kenya Offers a unique insight into child language development and use Presents a mixed genre narrative and multidisciplinary discussion that describes the children’s border-crossing friendship and their unique and innovative private language Beautifully written by one of the foremost scholars in child development, language acquisition and education, the book provides a seamless blending of the personal and the ethnographic The story of Colin and Sadiki raises profound questions and has direct implications for many fields of study including child language acquisition and socialization, education, anthropology, and the anthropology of childhood
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.
The book then devotes one chapter to each of the major literary genres: fiction, poetry, drama and creative nonfiction. These style-specific sections provide depth as they compare the different genres, furnishing students with a comprehensive understanding of creative writing as a discipline and fostering creativity. The discussion concludes with a chapter on digital media and an appendix on literary citizenship and publishing. With exercises at the end of each chapter, a glossary of literary terms, and a list of resources for further study, A Writer’s Craft is the ideal companion to an introductory creative writing class.
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.
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.
"Paul Dickson is a national treasure who deserves a wide audience," declared Library Journal. The author of more than 50 books, Dickson has written extensively on language. This expanded edition of War Slang features new material by journalist Ben Lando, Iraq Bureau Chief for Iraq Oil Report and a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal and Time. It serves language lovers and military historians alike by adding an eloquent new dimension to our understanding of war.
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.
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.