The Story of English in One Hundred Words: Book summary and reviews of The Story of English in One Hundred Words by David Crystal

The Story of English in One Hundred Words

By David Crystal

The Story of English in One Hundred Words
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2012,
    320 pages.

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Book Summary

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 this 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 reflect 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Crystal's enthusiasm for - and wealth of knowledge about - the ever-evolving English language makes this a must-read for word lovers." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Throughout, Crystal highlights the playfulness of English and its refusal to take itself too seriously. Snack-sized chapters with banquet-sized satisfaction." - Kirkus Reviews

"The list of words is organized chronologically, earliest to most recent, setting the structure for an accessible, entertaining, and frequently surprising journey through the evolution of the language." - Booklist (David Pitt)

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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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