How Language Works: Book summary and reviews of How Language Works by David Crystal

How Language Works

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

By David Crystal

How Language Works
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2006,
    512 pages.

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Book Summary

A parrot uncomprehendingly rattles off a string of words learned by rote. And we marvel! Yet we seem to take our own astonishing linguistic powers for granted—the ability to speak, listen, and understand, to read and write. We all understand why language works—we have to communicate to survive—and now David Crystal, the world authority on language, shows us how.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A feat of academic distillation, Crystal's book abounds in wisdom and dry wit." - PW.
"... for the general reader, however, it is a user-friendly introduction to the many hitherto-unthought-of aspects of language. Packed with information, memorable anecdotes and surprising statistics, all presented with assurance and enthusiasm." - Kirkus.
"The fine breakdown for each chapter both helps readers seeking specific topics and encourages browsing. However, the addition of a glossary for technical linguistic terms would have helped significantly, and the lack of scholarly documentation is not exemplary for students." - Library Journal.

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Author Information

David Crystal Author Biography

Photo: Crystal Business Partnership

David Crystal is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor. In 1995, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire for services to the English language. He is married with four children and lives in the United Kingdom.

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