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The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language [Paperback]

David Crystal
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
RRP: 32.99
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Book Description

4 Aug 2003 0521530334 978-0521530330 2
The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language is one of the publishing phenomena of recent times. Rarely has a book so packed with accurate and well researched factual information been so widely read and popularly acclaimed. It has played a key role in the spread of general interest in language matters, generating further publications and broadcasting events for an avid audience. Its First Edition appeared in hardback in 1995 and a revised paperback in 1997. There have been numerous subsequent updated reprintings; but this Second Edition now presents an overhaul of the subject for a new generation of language-lovers and of teachers, students and professional English-users concerned with their own linguistic legacy. The length of the book has been extended and there are 44 new illustrations, extensive new material on world English and Internet English, and a complete updating of statistics, further reading suggestions and other references.

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The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language + The Stories of English + The English Language: A Guided Tour of the Language
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Product details

  • Paperback: 506 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (4 Aug 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521530334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521530330
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 27.7 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

David Crystal works from his home in Holyhead, North Wales, as a writer, editor, lecturer, and broadcaster. He published the first of his 100 or so books in 1964, and became known chiefly for his research work in English language studies. He held a chair at the University of Reading for 10 years, and is now Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor.

Product Description


'A delight and a treasure … David Crystal does a brilliant job of satisfying our curiosity about our mother tongue while illuminating the deepest questions of who we are and where we come from. A magnificent achievement.' Steven Pinker, Harvard

'David Crystal is phenomenal … This is a prodigious achievement … The book contains breadth of range, imaginative insight, and deep understanding … It is pervasively readable and stimulating.' Lord Quirk

'… a superb work that manages to be both scholarly and vastly entertaining … This is a deeply impressive book, for it packs between two covers virtually everything any normal person might care to know about English.' The Washington Post Book World

'… bedazzles … with an eye-popping presentation of … the mother tongue.' The New York Times

'… scholarly and entertaining … the range, scholarly value, interest, attractiveness and (often) humour of the tables, graphics, illustrations, photographs, colour plates, maps, and quoted material is quite stunning. rarely has serious information been presented so colourfully, so strikingly. A splendid work, essential in all libraries and destined to live a long and useful life.' Reference Reviews

'I have been unable to think of a question this book cannot answer … I will risk predicting that Professor Crystal will not be superseded much before the message sent into space on Voyager I … receives an answer.' Times Literary Supplement

'… it gives … the whole history and grammar, all the theory and practice of English with precision, panache and wit.' The Observer

'… without a doubt one of the most beautiful and enlightening volumes I have handled in some years.' Western Australia Sunday Times

'… an outstanding work … The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language will surely remain the definite text in the field for some time to come.' fun-with-words.com

'…the most diverting, delightful, imaginative and altogether entertaining compilation ever assembled about spoken and written English.' Parade Magazine

'… bedazzles you with an eye-popping presentation of the cluck-clucking of the mother tongue. If you like fireworks with your information, this is a worthwhile language book …' William Safire, The New York Times Magazine

'… this remarkable book is a goldmine of learning and knowledge … All readers … should find great value, and great pleasure, in this amazing reference book.' Cambridge

'… contains a monstrous amount of information on a fascinating topic arranged in a clear, concise, and, above all, entertaining manner - a dangerous combination indeed, and one that can only lead to uncontrolable reading binges lasting hours or perhaps days.' Quill and Quire

'You can open it to any page and be enthralled.' Indianapolis News

'the Encyclopedia is, of course, a serious work of scholarship, but it is eminently readable.' The Hindu

Book Description

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language is one of the publishing phenomena of recent times. This Second Edition presents an overhaul of the subject for a new generation of language-lovers. The length of the book has been extended. There are 44 new illustrations and extensive additional material.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The history of English is a fascinating field of study in its own right, but it also provides a valuable perspective for the contemporary study of the language, and thus makes an appropriate opening section for this book. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wealth of information, highly accessible 18 Jan 2010
This encyclopaedia is simply brilliant for language lovers. It is clear and concise, brilliantly illustrated and laid out, and it makes the subject matter interesting. Once again David Crystal has managed to convey his love of language.

This encyclopaedia covers a wealth of information:

Part I. The History of English: The origins of English; Old English; Middle English; Early Modern English; Modern English; and World English.

Part II. English Vocabulary: The nature of the lexicon; The sources of the lexicon; Etymology; The structure of the lexicon; and Lexical dimensions.

Part III. English Grammar: Grammatical mythology; The structure of words; Word classes; and The structure of sentences.

Part IV. Spoken and Written English: The sound system; and The writing system.

Part V. Using English: Varieties of discourse; Regional variation; Social variation; Personal variation; and Electronic variation.

Part VI. Learning about English: Learning English as a mother tongue; and New ways of studying English.

As you can see, it's wide in scope so each section is concise and to the point, brilliant for referencing or just dipping in and out of for something interesting.

I would definitely recommend this to English language students and anyone with an interest in the subject.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This book is excellent for looking at linguistics surrounding the English language. It gives good summaries of topics including most of the relevant details, without overloading you with unnecessary information. The book is as its title says 'an encyclopaedia'. It's meant for quick reference. There are a range of tables, graphs and maps, which makes interpreting data quick and simple. This book is good for all those studying linguistics and those who have just a remote interest in the subject. I would highly recommend this book.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential 17 Jan 2006
By Leahh
This book is essential for anyone studying language or linguistics at degree level. Crystal is the man when it comes to this subject and I'm sure this book and many more of his will be assisting me with the MA in Linguistics that I plan to pursue. It is books like this that have fed my enthusiasm for the English language and encouraged further study!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bible 6 Jan 2006
By Bex
Superb! Must have for anybody interested in or studying English language, it is fascinating and has been my bible throughout my Alevel and now in to my degree. Really worth the money. David Crystal is an inspiration to Language users and students.
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62 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT but where to start? 17 Jan 2000
A: At anypoint of interest .As a student of Linguistics and the English language at the University of Wales, Bangor, this is an invaluble book. As an introduction to the English language you'll find you can't put it down. Facts you never knew before from the history of the English language to English as a global language. For general reading, you'll discover a facinating insight to the language that we use every day without much consideration. Easy to pick up, impossible to put down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The English Language 17 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought for my next Open Uni course and, it would seem, for the one after that...Bargain.
Suitable and fun reading for all those interested in all aspects of the English language from dialects to countries who speak it as a first language...You will be surprised and amused.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
If you are studying English language, you will find this book invaluable. It has so much information, backed up by brilliant pictures and examples of language. I recently did a presenation on the History of English and used the enyclopedia for my research. The presentation was brilliant - thank you David Crystal!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Linguistic wealth 1 Jan 2010
I've long since lost count of the number of copies of Crystal's outstanding book that I've purchased as gifts. All my teenage grandchildren have been given copies. And now one ten-year-old has explained that she "needs her copy" for her next birthday.

I never fail to find linguistic riches whatever page I turn to.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Resource.
Perfect for anyone taking their AS/A levels, the book offers extensive coverage of the English language.

A must have in my opinion.
Published 3 months ago by Ruve Roos
5.0 out of 5 stars Very thorough and visually appealing
Absolute MUST HAVE for all English linguistic fans. Answers more Qs than any other linguistic publication, and I read it for pleasure as well necessity.
Published 6 months ago by Basia
5.0 out of 5 stars education
I first read this book in a library and it was so interesting I had to rush home and order it on amazon history of our language fascinating
Published 10 months ago by mrs linda a hilton
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Useful
I am a mature student taking English Language 'A Level' and this is a useful source of information and explanations. Nicely laid out and accessible too.
Published 12 months ago by Vee
5.0 out of 5 stars University Book List so necessary to read for degree
University Book List so necessary to read for degree. A necessary read for all students wishing to complete a BA in English Language Teaching.
Published 13 months ago by saffron7
4.0 out of 5 stars good revision
i brought this book to help me with my English language revision for a-level . it arrived the next day of purchase and is very good quality :)
Published 13 months ago by deannime
5.0 out of 5 stars everything should know these things!!!
This is a great book to be conversant in language issues. People always talk about accents and grammar but for some reason very few know anything about linguistics. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Pen Name
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond mere words
What a very well thought out piece of writing this is. One can read this in a linear fashion, as there is much that will be new to perhaps many readers, however the work is so well... Read more
Published 23 months ago by F. M. Muse
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language
This book is amazing!
I needed it for an university course and it revealed to be very useful and interesting.
I recommend it!
Published on 22 Nov 2011 by martina
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly comprehensive encyclopedia!
Since I saw it in the book shop I made up my mind about buying a language encyclopedia. It is incredibly useful as reference, deeply interesting if you are fascinated by the... Read more
Published on 30 Aug 2011 by Castor
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