David Crystal has been described by the Times Higher Education Supplement as a "latter-day Samuel Johnson." Now, in a delightfully discursive journey through the groves and thickets of the English language, Crystal sets off again, combining personal reflections, historical allusions, and traveler's observations to create a mesmerizing and entertaining narrative account of his encounters with the language and its speakers.
Starting in his home of Wales and moving from England all the way to Poland and off to San Francisco, Crystal encounters numerous linguistic side roads that he cannot resist exploring. All are subject to Crystal's inquisitive exploration--from pubs to trains to Tolkien--and each digression casts new light on the development of English as it is spoken today.
By Hook or By Crook is a linguistic travelogue like no other, and an attempt to capture the seductive, quirky, teasing, tantalizing nature of the language itself--a jaunty Bill Bryson-esque exploration of language by a foremost expert on the subject.
"Starred Review. An informative, transformative trip into the mysterious, mutating, magical thicket of English." - Kirkus Reviews.
"In a conversational style that includes plenty of quirky facts, Crystal captures the "exploratory, seductive, teasing, quirky, tantalizing nature of language study," and in doing so illuminates the fascinating world of words in which we live." - Publishers Weekly.
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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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