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on 30 October 2012
A comprehensive account of the development of English spelling over the past thousand years that explains exactly what happened and why. A key text for anyone teaching English, and of great interest to anyone who ever wondered why it is as it is. Brilliant scholarship, clear explanation - a very important book indeed, in fact one of the most important ever written about the English language.
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on 13 October 2012
A real eye-opener of a book. Speaking and writing the language every day means you're thinking more about what
you're expressing rather than how you're expressing it. Once you start reading this book it really is hard to put down. Behind the (odd and quirky) spelling of a lot of words the author gives fascinating and logical reasons why certain words are spelt the way they are. Not only the spelling but also the pronunciation. If you are at all interested in the English language buy it.
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on 18 August 2016
A very comprehensive book but, for me at least, not very readable.
Lots of information but turning each page became an effort.
Probably a very difficult subject to make exciting but I really thought the writing could have been better.
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on 7 December 2012
As with the same author's "English in 100 words", which I also glowingly reviewed, we have a phoneticist / linguist / lexicographer who knows his subject & plainly enjoys telling others about it. It differs from the other work in being more academic: this isn't a criticism, but one does need to concentrate & be prepared to make cross-reference back to phonetic matrices at the front of the book. There is a lot to get out of this book; I'm still reading it & look forward to what else the author will reveal.
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on 29 September 2015
I love the author's easy to understand explanations and his obvious life long enthusiasm for the evolution of the English language. Well worth the read and is decent on Kindle too.
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on 18 September 2014
You can't go wrong with David Crystal. His books were recommended by my university lecturers. Though academically sound, his books can be easily read by anyone with an interest in language. I bought this book as a gift for someone who loved to hear what I was learning about the history of English during my degree. She has her own resource to dip into any time she likes!
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on 2 February 2014
The answers are all in the fascinating little book. I found it very absorbing and I can see that I shall use this book time and again to explain why certain words are given different spellings.
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on 3 February 2014
This book manages to pull together so many different aspects about how spelling has developed, giving a coherent, lucid overview of the reasons why English looks like it does. Fascinating, useful and written by an expert who has a gift for communicating.
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on 14 March 2018
Great book.
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on 24 December 2012
Bought this as a Christmas present for a friend who is as pedantic about English as I am. It nearly ruined our evening as he just wanted to read it and not socialise. In fact, he nearly missed dinner. I'm looking forward to borrowing it when he's done the first pass.
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