With a language disappearing every two weeks and neologisms springing up almost daily, an understanding of the origins and currency of language has never seemed more relevant. In this charming volume, a narrative history written explicitly for a young audience, expert linguist David Crystal proves why the story of language deserves retelling.
From the first words of an infant to the peculiar modern dialect of text messaging, A Little Book of Language ranges widely, revealing languages myriad intricacies and quirks. In animated fashion, Crystal sheds light on the development of unique linguistic styles, the origins of obscure accents, and the search for the first written word. He discusses the plight of endangered languages, as well as successful cases of linguistic revitalization. Much more than a history, Crystals work looks forward to the future of language, exploring the effect of technology on our day-to-day reading, writing, and speech. Through enlightening tables, diagrams, and quizzes, as well as Crystals avuncular and entertaining style, A Little Book of Language will reveal the story of language to be a captivating tale for all ages.
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"Starred Review. Crystal smoothly boils down his vast knowledge about the peculiarities of spelling, grammar, and diction, and the influence of new kinds of linguistic style ... This is the perfect primer for anyone interested in the subject." - Publishers Weekly
"... demotic, lively, rigorous but unabashedly unpedantic David Crystal remind[s] us that living languages know no boundaries, that they adapt themselves joyously to new conditions. Here he indulges himself with great good humour in his little book of love for the pleasures of language and words worldwide." - Iain Finlayson, The London Times
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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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