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Words Words Words [Paperback]

David Crystal
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Aug 2007
Words, Words, Words is all about the wonder of words.

Drawing on a lifetime's experience, David Crystal explores language in all its rich varieties through words: the very building blocks of our communication. Language has no life of its own: it only exists in the mouths and ears, hands, eyes and brains of its users. As we are guided expertly and passionately through the mysteries and delights of word origins, histories, spellings, regional and social variations, taboo words, jargon, and wordplay, the contribution we all play in shaping the linguistic world around us becomes evident.

Words, Words, Words is a celebration of what we say and how we say it. It invites us to engage linguistically with who we are: to understand what words tell us about where we come from and what we do. And as they continually shape our lives, it suggests ways that we can look at words anew and get involved with collecting and coining words ourselves.

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Frequently Bought Together

Words Words Words + The Story of English in 100 Words + The English Language: A Guided Tour of the Language
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; New Ed edition (6 Aug 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199210772
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199210770
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 14.3 x 18.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 292,056 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


Witty. (The Independent (Review))

David Crystal gives us an enjoyable account of where words came from and what happens to them. (Writing Magazine)

About the Author

David Crystal is the foremost writer and lecturer on the English language, with a world-wide reputation and over 100 books to his name. He is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor, and has been awarded an OBE for services to the English Language.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Book 6 July 2007
Really interesting with exactly the right amount of detail in all the right places. Words Words Words covers a really broad selection topics within the subject of English Language. It's got loads of interesting, quirky facts and discussion points about English whilst being a good read. David Crystal's passion for the subject shines thorough but it is clearly written, for anyone who speaks English so it's not just for people with a vested interest in this topic. If you speak English, you'll find this really interesting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 21 Nov 2012
By Josh
David Crystal never allows his erudition to get in the way of readability. He manages to combine his near-omniscience on the subject of the English Language with a refreshing tolerance (celebration, even) of the way language evolves from generation to generation. There's no rant against "falling standards" or any snobbery about misuse of apostrophes here, but explanations as to why and when change happens. Yes, as one reviewer has said, some of it goes over old ground, but there's joy to be had in looking at things afresh. If you don't like a book to meander and go off on interesting tangents, this might not be for you, as the framework for the book is logical but quite "loose". You come away from reading this with the feeling that you've just enjoyed a wonderfully informative conversation with the author. If you love words and are hungry to find out some more priceless snippets, then this book will reward you and offer a chance to impress a few people by dropping in some obscure facts and derivations at your next dinner party!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, terrible formatting! 20 July 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book was interesting and I enjoyed it. There weren't many new ideas in the book - I felt that Crystal had just reorganised ideas from his other books. The Kindle edition was very badly formatted, however. There were paragraphs where there were capital Ws everywhere for no reason and very often words that should have been italicised weren't or words that shouldn't have been italicised were. There were also many paragraphing errors. Annoying!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
As a primer and brief introduction to the sublime world of words, of lexicographers and word hounds, this is a nice little book that sits well in the hand. Crystal distils his encyclopaedic knowledge of epistemology into 6 fascinating sections

1. the universe of words, their number and how we learn them
2. the origin of words, their beginnings and construction
3. the diversity of words, worldwide diversity, specialist language, group speak
4. the evolution of words, births, deaths, changes and futures
5. the enjoyment of words, wordplay, word sound and games
6. becoming a word detective, how to take your interest further, further reading and how to estimate your personal wordhoard (vocabulary), both what you use everyday and what you understand but don's use regularly.

A good starting point which left me wanting more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Words Words Words 13 May 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great, great, great!

As ever with anything written by David Crystal, this book explains concepts of English in a very clear, simplified and entertaining manner Highly recommended.
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