- Paperback: 592 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (5 May 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141015934
- ISBN-13: 978-0141015934
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.9 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Stories of English Paperback – 5 May 2005
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"This new history of the English language in all its manifestations is among the best ever written, and is both entertaining and informative."
About the Author
David Crystal is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor. He has published over 90 books and was awarded the OBE for services to the English language in 1995. He is the editor of the Penguin Encyclopedia and the New Penguin Factfinder.
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Top Customer Reviews
The title gives an immediate clue to the originality of this book, throughout which Professor Crystal is at pains to show that, alongside "standard English", there are all the other varieties of the language which, in the name of a purism which he skilfully shows to be misplaced, have most often been either denigrated or ignored by other historical works of this kind.
Perhaps David Crystal's major achievement is that he succeeds in being scholarly without ever being pedantic. His attention to detailed research is impressive, and yet the reader never once gets bogged down in theoretical linguistics. The writer's approach is resolutely of a sociolinguistic nature, and he constantly draws attention to the links between language and society and the way in which the evolution of one is always conditioned by the evolution of the other. He is particularly good on the language of Shakespeare, and unsparing in his criticism of the "absolute rubbish" propagated on the subject of the bard by "enthusiastic linguistic amateurs".
But David Crystal's book really makes its major point in the way in which prescriptive norms are demonstrated to be arbitrary - however necessary they may also be. The book sets out an unanswerable counter-argument to all those who earnestly equate "good" English with good behaviour, and even with morality.Read more ›
This is a wonderful book, incredibly illuminating and authoritative but at the same time straightforward and attention gripping. However it's not for the faint-hearted having many, many pages of small text. It took me several months to read cover to cover - but I'm glad I did...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Arrived on time and in a decent condition. Had a quick dip into it and it looks as if it will meet my expectations. Will take it up again when my current read is finished. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Silurix
As usual, this text from Crystal is written in an accessible style, bringing to life the development and sounds of the fascinating language that is English.Published 5 months ago by A. Harrison
A thoroughly entertaining celebration of the rich diversity of the English language in all its varieties. Eminently readablePublished 5 months ago by pjt
Superb. A subject of linguistics told in a light and enjoyable way in short stories. The book travels back and forth in time while we learn linguistics, history and have fun all... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Marcos Rissi