The Story of English in One Hundred Words Summary and Reviews

The Story of English in One Hundred Words

by David Crystal

The Story of English in One Hundred Words by David Crystal

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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 works from his home in Holyhead, North Wales, as a writer, editor, lecturer, and broadcaster. Born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland in 1941, he spent his early years in Holyhead. His family moved to Liverpool in 1951, and he received his secondary schooling at St Mary's College. He read English at University College London (1959-62), specializing in English language studies, did some research there at the Survey of English Usage under Randolph Quirk (1962-3), then joined academic life as a lecturer in linguistics, first at Bangor, then at Reading.

He published the first of his 100 or so books in 1964, and became known chiefly for his research work in English language studies, in such fields as intonation and stylistics, and in the application of linguistics to religious, ...

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