The Stories of English Hardcover – 27 May 2004
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'It should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in language' -- The Scotsman, June 19, 2004
'learned but lively' -- Financial Times Magazine, June 26, 2004
About the Author
David Crystal is honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor, and the editor of The Penguin Encyclopedia.
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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 ›
Being severely short-sighted, I agree with vikki650 that the text size on the Kindle makes this book easy on the eyes. (The smallest text size is too large on my Kindle apps, if anything!) I wish I could give it 4.5 stars. The issue with the panels is a niggle, but not worth docking a full star.
The author also makes regular reference to page numbers which are not visible in this format.
Better buy the book!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The ultimate book on the history and evolvement of the English language. Comprehensive and detailed without being tedious. A Crystal clear book and a must have in anyone's library.Published 14 months ago by Annie Martirosyan
Very easy to read and fascinating explanation of language evolution in Britain.Published 18 months ago by Brendan