How Language Works

How Babies Babble, Words Change Meaning, and Languages Live or Die

Author: David Crystal

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 110121581X

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 512

View: 7300

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Steven Pinker meets Bill Bryson in this landmark exploration of language. In the author's own words, "How Language Works is not about music, cookery, or sex. But it is about how we talk about music, cookery, and sex-or, indeed, anything at all." Language is so fundamental to everyday life that we take it for granted. But as David Crystal makes clear in this work of unprecedented scope, language is an extremely powerful tool that defines the human species. Crystal offers general readers a personal tour of the intricate workings of language. He moves effortlessly from big subjects like the origins of languages, how children learn to speak, and how conversation works to subtle but revealing points such as how email differs from both speech and writing in important ways, how language reveals a person's social status, and how we decide whether a word is rude or polite. Broad and deep, but with a light and witty touch, How Language Works is the ultimate layman's guide to how we communicate with one another.

How Language Works

Author: David Crystal

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN: 0141015527

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 512

View: 1722

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What's in a name? How do sounds become speech? What makes a word rude or polite? Is it possible to speak out of tune? How do we learn to read? These and hundreds of other questions are answered in renowned linguist David Crystal's brilliant tour through the fascinating world of language. From eyebrow flashes to whistling languages, from baby talk to why the grocer's apostrophe isn't such a bad thing after all, How Language Works sheds light on the endless mysteries of the language we speak, write and read every day.

How Language Works

Author: David Crystal

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN: 0141911735

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 512

View: 2038

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In this fascinating survey of everything from how sounds become speech to how names work, David Crystal answers every question you might ever have had about the nuts and bolts of language in his usual highly illuminating way. Along the way we find out about eyebrow flashes, whistling languages, how parents teach their children to speak, how politeness travels across languages and how the way we talk show not just how old we are but where we’re from and even who we want to be.

Words, Words, Words

Author: David Crystal

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0199210772

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 216

View: 8295

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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.

The Story of English in 100 Words

Author: David Crystal

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 1466805080

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 288

View: 1847

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The world's foremost expert on the English language takes us on an entertaining and eye-opening tour of the history of our vernacular through the ages. In The Story of English in 100 Words, an entertaining history of the world's most ubiquitous language, David Crystal draws on one hundred words that best illustrate the huge variety of sources, influences and events that have helped to shape our vernacular since the first definitively English word—‘roe'—was written down on the femur of a roe deer in the fifth century. Featuring ancient words (‘loaf'), cutting edge terms that relfect our world (‘twittersphere'), indispensible words that shape our tongue (‘and', ‘what'), fanciful words (‘fopdoodle') and even obscene expressions (the "c word"...), David Crystal takes readers on a tour of the winding byways of our language via the rude, the obscure and the downright surprising.

The Stories of English

Author: David Crystal

Publisher: The Overlook Press

ISBN: 1468306170

Category: History

Page: 608

View: 8772

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The groundbreaking history of the English language, fusing chronological with anecdotal and etymological accounts of individual word-histories, to create not one story, but many stories. The English language is now accepted as the global lingua franca of the modern age, spoken or written in by over a quarter of the human race. But how did it evolve? How did a language spoken originally by a few thousand Anglo-Saxons become one used by more than 1,500 million? What developments can be seen as we move from Beowulf to Chaucer to Shakespeare to Dickens and the present day? A host of fascinating questions are answered in The Stories of English, a groundbreaking history of the language by David Crystal, the world-renowned writer and commentator on English. Many books have been written about English, but they have all focused on a single variety: the educated, printed language called “standard” English. David Crystal turns the history of English on its head and instead provides a startlingly original view of where the richness, creativity and diversity of the language truly lies—in the accents and dialects of nonstandard English users all over the world. Whatever their regional, social or ethnic background, each group has a story worth telling, whether it is in Scotland or Somerset, South Africa or Singapore. Interweaved within this central chronological story are accounts of uses of dialect around the world as well as in literary classics from The Canterbury Tales to The Lord of the Rings. For the first time, regional speech and writing is placed center stage, giving a sense of the social realities behind the development of English. This significant shift in perspective enables the reader to understand for the first time the importance of everyday, previously marginalized, voices in our language and provides an argument too for the way English should be taught in the future.

Good to Talk?

Living and Working in a Communication Culture

Author: Deborah Cameron

Publisher: SAGE

ISBN: 141293155X

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 224

View: 1845

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It's good to talk is one of the great clich[ac]es of our time. The benefits of talk to individuals, families and organizations are proclaimed by pop psychologists, television talk show hosts, and management gurus. The importance of talk is talked about endlessly. `Good to Talk? is an attempt to look critically at what lies behind this upsurge of concern about talk in our workplaces, classrooms and private lives, and it places these developments in historical context and relates their forms to the broader economic and social changes associated with globalization. The book also poses questions about the social and political implications of talking about talking. Is `communication' the key to solving the problems of modern life? Are the lessons in talking that are offered to us now the ones we most urgently need to learn? Is it time to challenge the prevailing belief about what makes it good to talk?

Spoken Here

Travels among Threatened Languages

Author: Mark Abley

Publisher: Vintage Canada

ISBN: 0307368238

Category: Social Science

Page: 336

View: 4558

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Whether on the other side of the world or in our own backyard, languages everywhere are fading into oblivion. Mark Abley explores what the human family stands to lose — and explains why some endangered languages continue to thrive. Within the next couple of generations, most of the world’s 6000 languages will vanish, due mainly to the unstoppable tide of English. With an open mind and a well-worn passport, award-winning journalist and poet Mark Abley tells entertaining and vital stories about why languages matter. From Oklahoma to Provence, aboriginal Australia to Baffin Island, the cultures are radically different, but the problems of shrinking linguistic and cultural richness are painfully similar. Abley’s investigation provides a stunning glimpse of the beauty and intricacies of languages like Yiddish and Yuchi, Mohawk and Manx, Inuktitut and Provençal. More importantly, it offers a sympathetic and memorable portrait of the people who still speak languages under threat. When a language dies out, gone too are stories that have been told for centuries, unique ways of seeing the world, and perhaps even ways of solving problems both large and small. Abley believes we must see languages as abundant sources of richness, wonder and usefulness. And he shows that hope still exists: that the determination of even one person can revive a whole language and its culture, in the process creating something new, changing and alive — exactly what languages do best. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Making Sense

The Glamorous Story of English Grammar

Author: David Crystal

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190660597

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 240

View: 4019

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In Making Sense, David Crystal confronts the foe of many: grammar. Once taught relentlessly to all students in the English-speaking world, grammar disappeared from most school curricula, so that terms such as "preposition" and "conjunction" now often confound children and adults alike. Explaining the nuts and bolts of grammar presents a special challenge, because - far more than is the case with spelling and punctuation - the subject is burdened with a centuries-old history of educational practice that many will recall as anything but glamorous. One of the world's foremost authorities on the English language, Crystal sets out to rid grammar of its undeserved reputation as a dry and intimidating subject, pointing out how essential grammar is to clear and effective speech and writing. He moves briskly through the stages by which children acquire grammar, along the way demystifying grammar's rules and irregularities and showing us how to navigate its snares and pitfalls. He offers the fascinating history of grammar, explaining how it has evolved from the first grammarians in ancient Greece to our 21st century digital environment of blogging, emailing, and texting. Many find grammar to be a daunting subject, but in this breezy, entertaining book, Crystal proves that grammar doesn't need to make us uneasy-we can all make sense of how we make sense.

How Languages Work

An Introduction to Language and Linguistics

Author: Carol Genetti

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107782570

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: N.A

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A new and exciting introduction to linguistics, this textbook presents language in all its amazing complexity, while guiding students gently through the basics. Students emerge with an appreciation of the diversity of the world's languages, as well as a deeper understanding of the structure of human language, the ways it is used, and its broader social and cultural context. Chapters introducing the nuts and bolts of language study (phonology, syntax, meaning) are combined with those on the 'functions' of language (discourse, prosody, pragmatics, and language contact), helping students gain a better grasp of how language works in the real world. A rich set of language 'profiles' help students explore the world's linguistic diversity, identify similarities and differences between languages, and encourages them to apply concepts from earlier chapter material. A range of carefully designed pedagogical features encourage student engagement, adopting a step-by-step approach and using study questions and case studies.

The Penguin Encyclopedia

Author: David Crystal

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780140515787

Category: Encyclopedias and dictionaries

Page: 1488

View: 3234

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Now in its third edition, Penguin Encyclopedia is the one reference book that every family and office needs. It contains over 28,000 entries on the facts, events, issues, people, beliefs and achievements that make up the sum of human knowledge and experience written in a clear, direct style that illuminates even the most intricate concept. The book is designed so that it is easy to locate the information you require quickly and there are over 350 maps and diagrams to aid understanding. Penguin Encyclopedia is part of the Penguin Reference Library and draws on over 70 years of experience in bringing reliable, useful and clear information to millions of readers around the world - making knowledge everybody's property.

Listen to Your Child

A Parent's Guide to Children's Language

Author: David Crystal

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN: 0141927070

Category: Family & Relationships

Page: 240

View: 4212

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Learning to talk is probably the greatest milestone in a child's development: a deeply moving and often hilarious experience for all parents. In this charming and informative book, Britain's leading expert on the English language talks you through every stage in your child's language development. Over thirty years after its original publication, this new and updated edition of Listen to your Child shows us that while the world our children are growing up in may have changed, one thing has not: parents still need to listen. Gathering decades of research from psychologists and linguists, Professor Crystal shows how the more we know about language acquisition - from 'cooking' and 'babbling' to melodic 'scribble talk' and simple words and then to incessant chatter - the more there is to delight in. From birth to the early school years, Listen to your Child provides a painless introduction to the study of child language acquisition as well as invaluable advice for parents.

The Gift of the Gab

How Eloquence Works

Author: David Crystal

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300219415

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 256

View: 2821

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We all know eloquence when we hear it. But what exactly is it? And how might we gain more of it for ourselves? This entertaining and, yes, eloquent book illuminates the power of language from a linguistic point of view and provides fascinating insights into the way we use words. David Crystal, a world-renowned expert on the history and usage of the English language, probes the intricate workings of eloquence. His lively analysis encompasses everyday situations (wedding speeches, business presentations, storytelling) as well as the oratory of great public gatherings. Crystal focuses on the here and now of eloquent speaking—from pitch, pace, and prosody to jokes, appropriateness, and how to wield a microphone. He explains what is going on moment by moment and examines each facet of eloquence. He also investigates topics such as the way current technologies help or hinder our verbal powers, the psychological effects of verbal excellence, and why certain places or peoples are thought to be more eloquent than others. In the core analysis of the book, Crystal offers an extended and close dissection of Barack Obama’s electrifying “Yes we can” speech of 2008, in which the president demonstrated full mastery of virtually every element of eloquence—from the simple use of parallelism and an awareness of what not to say, to his brilliant conclusion constructed around two powerful words: dreams and answers.

Language Death

Author: David Crystal

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107431816

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 271

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A thorough review of the worldwide problem of language endangerment and death.

The Language Revolution

Author: David Crystal

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0745637973

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 152

View: 8306

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We are living through the consequences of a linguistic revolution. Dramatic linguistic change has left us at the beginning of a new era in the evolution of human language, with repercussions for many individual languages. In this book, David Crystal, one of the world's authorities on language, brings together for the first time the three major trends which he argues have fundamentally altered the world's linguistic ecology: first, the emergence of English as the world's first truly global language; second, the crisis facing huge numbers of languages which are currently endangered or dying; and, third, the radical effect on language of the arrival of Internet technology. Examining the interrelationships between these topics, Crystal encounters a vision of a linguistic future which is radically different from what has existed in the past, and which will make us revise many cherished concepts relating to the way we think about and work with languages. Everyone is affected by this linguistic revolution. The Language Revolution will be essential reading for anyone interested in language and communication in the twenty-first century.

Making a Point

The Persnickety Story of English Punctuation

Author: David Crystal

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 1466865644

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 320

View: 6562

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The triumphant concluding volume in David Crystal's classic trilogy on the English language combines the first history of English punctuation with a complete guide on how to use it. Behind every punctuation mark lies a thousand stories. The punctuation of English, marked with occasional rationality, is founded on arbitrariness and littered with oddities. For a system of a few dozen marks it generates a disproportionate degree of uncertainty and passion, inspiring organizations like the Apostrophe Protection Society and sending enthusiasts, correction-pens in hand, in a crusade against error across the United States. Professor Crystal leads us through this minefield with characteristic wit, clarity, and commonsense. In David Crystal's Making a Point, he gives a fascinating account of the origin and progress of every kind of punctuation mark over one and a half millennia and offers sound advice on how punctuation may be used to meet the needs of every occasion and context.

The Disappearing Dictionary

A Treasury of Lost English Dialect Words

Author: David Crystal

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

ISBN: 1447282795

Category: Humor

Page: N.A

View: 2163

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Wherever you go in the English-speaking world, there are linguistic riches from times past awaiting rediscovery. All you have to do is choose a location, find some old documents, and dig a little. In The Disappearing Dictionary, linguistics expert Professor David Crystal collects together delightful dialect words that either provide an insight into an older way of life, or simply have an irresistible phonetic appeal. Like a mirror image of The Meaning of Liff that just happens to be true, The Disappearing Dictionary unearths some lovely old gems of the English language, dusts them down and makes them live again for a new generation. dabberlick [noun, Scotland] A mildly insulting way of talking about someone who is tall and skinny. 'Where's that dabberlick of a child?' fubsy [adjective, Lancashire] Plump, in a nice sort of way. squinch [noun, Devon] A narrow crack in a wall or a space between floorboards. 'I lost sixpence through a squinch in the floor'.

You Say Potato

The Story of English Accents

Author: Ben Crystal,David Crystal

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

ISBN: 1447276663

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: N.A

View: 3999

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Some people say scohn, while others say schown. He says bath, while she says bahth. You say potayto. I say potahto And- -wait a second, no one says potahto. No one's ever said potahto. Have they? From reconstructing Shakespeare's accent to the rise and fall of Received Pronunciation, actor Ben Crystal and his linguist father David travel the world in search of the stories of spoken English. Everyone has an accent, though many of us think we don't. We all have our likes and dislikes about the way other people speak, and everyone has something to say about 'correct' pronunciation. But how did all these accents come about, and why do people feel so strongly about them? Are regional accents dying out as English becomes a global language? And most importantly of all: what went wrong in Birmingham? Witty, authoritative and jam-packed full of fascinating facts, You Say Potato is a celebration of the myriad ways in which the English language is spoken - and how our accents, in so many ways, speak louder than words.

Words in Time and Place

Exploring Language Through the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary

Author: David Crystal

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0199680477

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 288

View: 8855

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Did you know that the English language has over 150 words for the adjective 'drunk' developed over 1,000 years? Be prepared to learn words you have never heard before, find out fascinating facts behind everyday words, and be surprised at how lively and varied the English language can be. Published to critical acclaim in 2009, the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary is the first comprehensive thesaurus in the world to arrange words by meaning in order of first recorded use. Using its unique perspective on how the English language has developed, Words in Time and Place takes 15 themes and explores the language in these areas over time - explaining when new words appeared, where they came from, and what such changes say about times in which they emerged. The themes chosen are varied, universal topics and show the semantic range of the thesaurus and what it can tell us about the words used in areas of everyday life. Learn about the different words for dying and money, or types of pop music, as well as words for a privy, oaths, and words for being drunk. Written by the world's leading expert on the English language, David Crystal, the book carries his trademark style of engaging yet authoritative writing. Each chapter features an introduction to the language of that topic, followed by a timeline of vocabulary taken from the historical thesaurus showing all the synonyms arranged in chronological order. The timelines are annotated with additional quotations, facts, and social and historical context to give a clear sense of how words entered the English language, when, and in which context they were used. Words in Time and Place showcases the unique and excellent resource that is the Historical Thesaurus and reveals the linguistic treasures to be found within. This fascinating book will appeal to anyone with an interest in words and in the development of the English language.