David Crystal Stories of English

ISBN 13: 9780141015934

Stories of English

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9780141015934: Stories of English
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When and why did 'thou' disappear from Standard English? Would a Victorian Cockney have said 'observation' or 'hobservation'? Was Jane Austen making a mistake when she wrote 'Jenny and James are walked to Charmonth this afternoon'? This superbly well-informed - and also wonderfully entertaining - history of the English language answers all these questions, showing how the many strands of English (Standard English, dialect and slang among them) developed to create the richly-varied language of today.

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About the Author:

David Crystal is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor. He has published over 90 books and was awarded the OBE for services to the English language in 1995. He is the editor of the Penguin Encyclopedia and the New Penguin Factfinder.

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*Starred Review* For at least 200 years, the story of English has been the story of Standard English triumphant. But now, in a work of unprecedented scope and range, a distinguished linguist challenges that deceptive hegemony, showing with piquant detail and lively anecdote that no standards of correctness have ever really contained the surging energy of English, in all it multiform varieties. From the syntactical inventiveness of tenth-century Norse invaders to the lexical ecumenism of twenty-first-century Tex-Mex ranch hands, Crystal traces the diverse and unpredictable influences that have shaped English into an unruly family of dialects, creoles, and patois. To be sure, Crystal acknowledges the emergence during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries of a prestigious standard version of English. Yet he shows in instance after instance that the tempests of linguistic change have often overwhelmed the custodians of the King's English, compelling them to accommodate forces they could not control. And though he never loses his focus on language, Crystal allows some of its more colorful users--including Chaucer, Shakespeare, Samuel Johnson, and Thomas Jefferson--to bring their personalities and voices into the chronicle. Accessible to the nonspecialist, Crystal's rich chronicle still presses deeply enough into key episodes (the Great Vowel Shift and the Elizabethan effervescence, for instance) to entice even casual readers into the more scholarly sources listed at the end of the book. Why, after all, should professional philologists hog all the fun? Bryce Christensen
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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2006. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. When and why did thou disappear from Standard English? Would a Victorian Cockney have said observation or hobservation ? Was Jane Austen making a mistake when she wrote Jenny and James are walked to Charmonth this afternoon ?This superbly well-informed - and also wonderfully entertaining - history of the English language answers all these questions, showing how the many strands of English (Standard English, dialect and slang among them) developed to create the richly-varied language of today. Seller Inventory # APG9780141015934

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