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The English Language: A Guided Tour of the Language Paperback – 28 Mar 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; 2Rev Ed edition (28 Mar. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141003960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141003962
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 12.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,473 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

Review

'A splendid blend of erudition and entertainment' THES

About the Author

David Crystal is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor. He is one of the most highly respected commentators on the English Language. He lives in Holyhead. His titles for Penguin include Words on Words, Language Play, Listen to Your Child. He is currently working on The Penguin Shakespeare Glossary for publication 08/02.

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First Sentence
In the glorious reign of Queen Elizabeth (the first, that is, from 1558 to 1603), the number of English speakers in the world is thought to have been between five and seven million. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Annie Martirosyan on 14 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
Professor Crystal's "The English Language" is a must-read for all language students and in general everyone interested in language. Professor is famous for his reader-friendly style. A quality which is especially beneficial to the historical section of the present book.

The discussion in the book starts with the major aspects of language - vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. And if language students should think they are familiar enough with these topics - they will, however, find many fascinating nuances and perspectives not encountered or thought about before.

The second part of the book discusses the uses of language such as its proneness to ludicity, idiolect, its different manifestations in different occupational groups, and the ripe effects of technology in the productive evolution of the English language. Professor is quite infecting in his fascination with the unlimited potential of the language.

The third section discusses the historical growth of English - in such an accurate, comprehensible and flexible manner that you are rather quick to grasp the historical situation, get a feel of the language at different periods in history and remember all the important dates through easily associated events.

This section includes a neat demonstration of the relation and differences between British English and American English.

The great merit of this part is also the discussion of Scots and Irish English alongside Australian, New Zealand, South African, Canadian Englishes.

And the introduction to the Plain English campaigns is another fresh topic which has found space in this remarkable book.

I strongly recommend it!
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Debbie on 20 Feb. 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For so long during my English Language A Level i put off reading this book. Yet now i have finished and i am starting my English degree next year, i am reading it. I have to say that this is a great introduction to an A Level course in English, and for those who just want to know more about the language we speak.
It includes information on grammar, vocabulary, RP, spelling, the uses of English now and the history of English. It is a fascinating read.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 April 2003
Format: Paperback
A non-fiction book I couldn't put down! David Crystal, with his reputation as a linguistics guru, presents a remarkably accessible and entertaining jolly into the background of the english language. It would have been so easy to blind us with science and technical terms but this book engages you throughout. The English language belongs to us all and the book certainly made me both feel that and make me want to delve a bit deeper ... in fact: I've just placed an order for another of his books!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Charles R. Mcmorrow on 27 July 2009
Format: Paperback
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the English language for whatever reason. I am currently studying English with The Open University and find books by David Crystal very useful additions to my other study materials.

Charles R McMorrow.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By LeMiffe on 11 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
Thoughtful, creative, and honest. Provides a great read if you are interested in understanding how the English language works.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kate Marshall on 25 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am about to study English language at sixth form and this was one of the recommended books to read before my course starts. I found the book very interesting at times and very boring at others, I particularly enjoyed the first and third sections of the book but the second section could easily have been cut out as the book became slightly long winded. The language used was difficult to understand at times so if your vocabulary is quite limited I recommend reading the book on a kindle where the definition of words can be easily looked up. Has some good, interesting facts but some parts are unnecessary and over analysed. Well written and overall a good read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
4 stars due to the terrible Kindle formatting. Pictures appear half way through paragraphs, sometimes digressions - which I assume are side-boxes in the print version - also split a paragraph in two. This can really ruin the reading experience.

Otherwise this is a well thought out and thorough explanation of the history of English. However it is likely to be outdated already, particularly on the subject of English usage on the internet. A subject which the author has covered in a separate book, presumably in more detail and more recently.
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