Words Words Words by David Crystal

06 Dec Words Words Words

Author: David Crystal

Publisher:  Oxford University 2006

Genre:  Nonfiction — Language

Pages: 216

Rating:  5 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Dewey — 400s; Fall into Reading

How I Got It: Library loan

“Lexicography is not just an exercise in linguistic accounting,” writes preeminent English language scholar David Crystal in this exceptionally lively and erudite little book. “It is a voyage of lexical exploration and discovery.”
In Words, Words, Words, Crystal takes readers on a fascinating linguistic adventure, exploring the English language in all its oddity, complexity, and ever-changing beauty. Traveling from word origins and word evolution to wordgangs, wordrisks, wordplay, wordgames and beyond, Crystal shares his immense knowledge of, and equally immense delight in, language. He celebrates new words, old words, words that “snarl” and words that “purr,” elegant words and taboo words, plain English words and convoluted gobbledegook, eponyms and antonyms, spoonerisms and malapropisms, and a host of other written and spoken forms and variations.
I grabbed this book for my Dewey challenge simply because the 400s selection at my library is slim.  This was just about the only book not foreign language learning.  But I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book.  Crystal obviously has a love of language and wants to make language accessible to others.  I learned some many interesting tidbits about language.  I also enjoyed the review of language construction.  This was such a fun book to read in an afternoon.  Now I want to rush out and learn more about language.  I think I will start with a word-a-day service.
Some interesting tidbits of information:
  • The origin of 404 messages comes from the room number of the researchers at CERN
  • We all have wordhoards (the collection of words in our heads)
  • A new word, debagonization (the cessation of anxiety when our luggage eventually emerges from the black hole of an airport carousel)
  • Latin evolved from a prehistoric tongue called Indo-European
  • Did you know that kingly is Germanic, royal is French, and regal is Latin?  Now you do
  • 98 of the top 100 English words (in terms of frequency) are Anglo-Saxon in origin
  • British accent is called Received Pronunciation while the US one General American
Dewey Decimal System

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Posted by on December 6, 2012 in Book Reviews


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One response to “Words Words Words by David Crystal

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