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4.7 out of 5 stars35
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 20 January 2002
The overwhelming effect this book leaves the reader is amazement of the scholarship of its single author, who manages to cover everything you could possibly include under the heading 'language' in a single volume. To give you some idea, the indexes and glossary of the 65 chapters information take up nearly 40 pages. Although the depth he can cover everything in is therefore limited, even in 450-odd large pages, a good proportion of what is there is absolutely fascinating and of interest to anyone who uses language (i.e. everyone).
The book makes excellent use of boxes of information and visuals in full colour such as maps, graphs and photos. Like any good encyclopaedia, it can be dipped into almost randomly with the guarantee that some interesting titbit will stick in your head. More unusually, the fact that it doesn't use an A to Z format means that it can quite easily be read through as a general introduction to linguistics. In a sense it could be just as usefully called an encyclopedia of linguistics, as it provides as much information on research and theories of language as it does on the language itself. This shouldn't be taken to mean any of this would only be of interest to the professionally interested, though. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone interested in what is going on around them, and even more so to any teacher or student of language or linguistics.
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on 12 June 2011
If you only have one book on language, or linguistics, this should be it. An earlier edition of this book got me through my linguistics undergraduate degree by explaining clearly each of the main areas of language in a throughly readable and enjoyable way. You can read it from cover to cover or simply dip into the various sections and chapters as required. I can't think of anything that isn't covered in this volume; it's a mine of information. Every concept is introduced and explained with clarity in an interesting and engaging style and there are tons of diagrams, illustrations and photographs which highlight key points in the text. The back of the book contains a number of appendices inc. a table of the world's languages and number of speakers. Never again be ignorant about any aspect of language or languages. Worth every penny.
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on 28 January 2002
This book was recommended to me as part of my Linguistics course at university. It has proved very useful for my course (not boring like other Linguistics books can be!), is extremely interesting and contains lots of pictures! My only complaint is that my studies take me AGES because I can't stop looking through it.
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on 3 October 2000
This book is a great refernce guide for students of Language, Sociology, Psycology and probably other subjects too. It's fresh approach and easy to use page format makes it interesting to read as a whole. From Latin and Greek to Bush Negro and Yoda this has to be the most comprehensive guide I've encountered. It explians word order and grammar using examples which will engage most students .
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on 7 September 2010
People who are interested in language or linguistics would definitely love this book. David Crystal explains a number of features of language very nicely in this book. Language is like people, it lives, it changes and it dies. Amazing fact is that all the language are different, yet they are alos similar in some sort of way and those could be explored through this book. In present days, interenet is playing a major role on the language change and that has also been discussed by the author.
The book is easy to read and has lots of illustrations to accompany the discussion. Just like any other encyclopedia, this book is also large in size and heavy. So those who want to read it on their journy by train or by bus, would not find it comfortable. However the book is so interesting that it worth to allocate time just to be with the book and read it properly by sitting on a desk and a chair.
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on 8 December 2012
Clear as Crystal - the phrase could have been coined for this wonderful book. Great teaching and learning tool. Thanks.
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on 26 November 2013
This is a serious book, invaluable for those interested in languages. May take a lifetime to read all of it.
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on 2 September 2014
This book is a true classic and a joy to read. There simply is no better single-volume introduction to linguistics. The chapters are short and topic-focussed and the illustrations are superb. All-in-all there's nothing not to like. Anyone interested in languages should read this book.
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on 29 September 2000
This book is not only a fantastic reference book, but also a great read! The pages are covered with interesting graphs, diagrams, facts, photographs, examples and newspaper clippings. Every aspect of the English Language is covered from alphabet to the formation of words. This is my favourite book and definitely worth buying for anybody who loves words.
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on 1 November 2013
Perfect conditions quick service. This edition is much better than the previous one, clearand colorful layout. There is almost everything you need to know about the subject
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