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David Crystal - Author

About the Author

David Crystal is the foremost expert on English, and honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor. He has written many books and published articles in fields ranging from forensic linguistics and ELT to the liturgy and Shakespeare.

Featured books by David Crystal

Other books by David Crystal

Sounds Appealing The Passionate Story of English Pronunciation

Sounds Appealing The Passionate Story of English Pronunciation

Author: David Crystal Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/02/2019

It's not what you say, it's the way that you say it ... There have long been debates about 'correct' pronunciation in the English language, and Britain's most distinguished linguistic expert, David Crystal, is here to set the record straight. Sounds Appealing tells us exactly why, and how, we pronounce words as we do. Pronunciation is integral to communication, and is tailored to meet the demands of the two main forces behind language: intelligibility and identity. Equipping his readers with knowledge of phonetics, linguistics and physiology - with examples ranging from Eliza Doolittle to Winston Churchill - David Crystal explores the origins of regional accents, how they are influenced by class and education, and how their peculiarities have changed over time.

Sounds Appealing The Passionate Story of English Pronunciation

Sounds Appealing The Passionate Story of English Pronunciation

Author: David Crystal Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/12/2017

It's not what you say, it's the way that you say it ... There have long been debates about 'correct' pronunciation in the English language, and Britain's most distinguished linguistic expert, David Crystal, is here to set the record straight. Sounds Appealing tells us exactly why, and how, we pronounce words as we do. Pronunciation is integral to communication, and is tailored to meet the demands of the two main forces behind language: intelligibility and identity. Equipping his readers with knowledge of phonetics, linguistics and physiology - with examples ranging from Eliza Doolittle to Winston Churchill - David Crystal explores the origins of regional accents, how they are influenced by class and education, and how their peculiarities have changed over time.

We Are Not Amused Victorian Views on Pronunciation as Told in the Pages of Punch

We Are Not Amused Victorian Views on Pronunciation as Told in the Pages of Punch

Author: David Crystal Format: Hardback Release Date: 13/10/2017

Pronunciation governs our regional and social identity more powerfully than any other aspect of spoken language. No wonder, then, that it has attracted most attention from satirists. In this intriguing book, David Crystal shows how our feelings about pronunciation today have their origins in the way our Victorian predecessors thought about the subject, as revealed in the pages of the satirical magazine, Punch. In the sixty years between its first issue in 1841 and the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, jokes about the fashions affecting English usage provide one of Punch's most fruitful veins of humour, from the dropped aitches of the Cockney accent to the upper-class habit of dropping the final `g' (huntin' and fishin'). For 'We Are Not Amused', David Crystal has examined all the issues during the reign of Queen Victoria and brought together the cartoons and articles that poked fun at the subject of pronunciation, adding a commentary on the context of the times, explaining why people felt so strongly about accents, and identifying which accents were the main source of jokes. The collection brings to light a society where class distinction ruled, and where the way you pronounced a word was seen as a sometimes damning index of who you were and how you should be treated. It is a fascinating, provocative and highly entertaining insight into our on-going amusement at the subject of how we speak.

Making Sense The Glamorous Story of English Grammar

Making Sense The Glamorous Story of English Grammar

Author: David Crystal Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/09/2017

The world's greatest authority on language explains the secrets and subtleties of the grammar of English. David Crystal explores its history and varieties, explains its rules and irregularities and shows how to navigate its snares and pitfalls. He gives practical guidance on how grammar is used in different ways for different purposes and in different social settings. In a series of revealing illustrations he also considers what learned and prominent people have said about English grammar over the centuries. Like its three companion volumes Making Sense will appeal to everyone interested in the English language and how to use it.

The Story of Be A Verb's-Eye View of the English Language

The Story of Be A Verb's-Eye View of the English Language

Author: David Crystal Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/05/2017

It's the most simple, unassuming, innocent-looking verb: 'to be'. Yet it is jam-packed with more different meanings, forms, and uses than any other English word. As he reveals be's multiple incarnations, David Crystal takes us to the heart of our flexible and changing language. He tells the intriguing story in 26 chapters, each linked to a particular usage. We meet circumstantial be ('how are you?'), numerical be ('two and two is four'), quotative be ('so I was like, wow '), and ludic be ('oh no he isn't!'), and a whole swarm of other meanings. Bringing the ideas to life are a host of examples from sources as varied as Beowulf, Jane Austen, pantomime, Hamlet (of course), and Star Wars, with cartoons from Ed McLachlan and Punch peppered throughout. Full of fascinating nuggets of information, it is a book to delight any lover of words and language.

The Gift of the Gab How Eloquence Works

The Gift of the Gab How Eloquence Works

Author: David Crystal Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/05/2017

A many-faceted exploration of spoken eloquence: how it works, how it has evolved, and how to tap its remarkable power We all know eloquence when we hear it. But what exactly is it? And how might we gain more of it for ourselves? This entertaining and, yes, eloquent book illuminates the power of language from a linguistic point of view and provides fascinating insights into the way we use words. David Crystal, a world-renowned expert on the history and usage of the English language, probes the intricate workings of eloquence. His lively analysis encompasses everyday situations (wedding speeches, business presentations, storytelling) as well as the oratory of great public gatherings. Crystal focuses on the here and now of eloquent speaking-from pitch, pace, and prosody to jokes, appropriateness, and how to wield a microphone. He explains what is going on moment by moment and examines each facet of eloquence. He also investigates topics such as the way current technologies help or hinder our verbal powers, the psychological effects of verbal excellence, and why certain places or peoples are thought to be more eloquent than others. In the core analysis of the book, Crystal offers an extended and close dissection of Barack Obama's electrifying Yes we can speech of 2008, in which the president demonstrated full mastery of virtually every element of eloquence-from the simple use of parallelism and an awareness of what not to say, to his brilliant conclusion constructed around two powerful words: dreams and answers.

Story of Be

Story of Be

Author: David Crystal Format: eBook Release Date: 27/04/2017

It's the most simple, unassuming, innocent-looking verb: 'to be'. Yet it is jam-packed with more different meanings, forms, and uses than any other English word. As he reveals be's multiple incarnations, David Crystal takes us to the heart of our flexible and changing language. He tells the intriguing story in 26 chapters, each linked to a particular usage. We meet circumstantial be ('how are you?'), numerical be ('two and two is four'),quotative be ('so I was like, "e;wow"e;'), and ludic be ('oh no he isn't!'), and a whole swarm of other meanings. Bringing the ideas to life are a host of examples from sources as varied as Beowulf, Jane Austen, pantomime, Hamlet (of course), and Star Wars, with cartoons from Ed McLachlan and Punch peppered throughout. Full offascinating nuggets of information, it is a book to delight any lover of words and language.

Story of Be

Story of Be

Author: David Crystal Format: eBook Release Date: 27/04/2017

It's the most simple, unassuming, innocent-looking verb: 'to be'. Yet it is jam-packed with more different meanings, forms, and uses than any other English word. As he reveals be's multiple incarnations, David Crystal takes us to the heart of our flexible and changing language. He tells the intriguing story in 26 chapters, each linked to a particular usage. We meet circumstantial be ('how are you?'), numerical be ('two and two is four'),quotative be ('so I was like, "e;wow"e;'), and ludic be ('oh no he isn't!'), and a whole swarm of other meanings. Bringing the ideas to life are a host of examples from sources as varied as Beowulf, Jane Austen, pantomime, Hamlet (of course), and Star Wars, with cartoons from Ed McLachlan and Punch peppered throughout. Full offascinating nuggets of information, it is a book to delight any lover of words and language.

Investigating English Style

Investigating English Style

Author: David Crystal, Derek Davy Format: Hardback Release Date: 23/02/2017

A series to meet the need for books on modern English that are both up-to-date and authoritative.For the scholar, the teacher, the student and the general reader, but especially for English-speaking students of language and linguistics in institutions where English is the language of instruction, or advanced specialist students of English in universities where English is taught as a foreign language.

Making a Point The Pernickety Story of English Punctuation

Making a Point The Pernickety Story of English Punctuation

Author: David Crystal Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/09/2016

This 'engaging history of punctuation' (Wall Street Journal) is not only the first history of its kind, but a complete guide on how to use English punctuation. Behind every punctuation mark lies a thousand stories. The punctuation of English, marked with occasional rationality, is founded on arbitrariness and littered with oddities. For a system of a few dozen marks it generates a disproportionate degree of uncertainty and passion, inspiring organisations like the Apostrophe Protection Society and sending enthusiasts, correction-pens in hand, in a crusade against error. Professor Crystal leads us through this minefield with characteristic wit, clarity and commonsense. He gives a fascinating account of the origin and progress of every kind of punctuation mark over one and a half millennia, and he offers sound advice on how punctuation may be used to meet the needs of every occasion and context.

The Disappearing Dictionary A Treasury of Lost English Dialect Words

The Disappearing Dictionary A Treasury of Lost English Dialect Words

Author: David Crystal Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 16/06/2016

Wherever you go in the English-speaking world, there are linguistic riches from times past awaiting rediscovery. All you have to do is choose a location, find some old documents, and dig a little. In The Disappearing Dictionary, linguistics expert Professor David Crystal collects together delightful dialect words that either provide an insight into an older way of life, or simply have an irresistible phonetic appeal. Like a mirror image of The Meaning of Liff that just happens to be true, The Disappearing Dictionary unearths some lovely old gems of the English language, dusts them down and makes them live again for a new generation. dabberlick [noun, Scotland] A mildly insulting way of talking about someone who is tall and skinny. 'Where's that dabberlick of a child?' fubsy [adjective, Lancashire] Plump, in a nice sort of way. squinch [noun, Devon] A narrow crack in a wall or a space between floorboards. 'I lost sixpence through a squinch in the floor'.

Oxford Dictionary of Original Shakespearean Pronunciation

Oxford Dictionary of Original Shakespearean Pronunciation

Author: David Crystal Format: eBook Release Date: 24/03/2016

This dictionary is the first comprehensive description of Shakespearean original pronunication (OP), enabling practitioners to deal with any queries about the pronunciation of individual words. It includes all the words in the First Folio, transcribed using IPA, and the accompanying website hosts sound files as a further aid to pronunciation. It also includes the main sources of evidence in the texts, notably all spelling variants (along with a frequency count foreach variant) and all rhymes (including those occurring elsewhere in the canon, such as the Sonnets and long poems). An extensive introduction provides a full account of the aims, evidence, history, and current use of OP in relation to Shakespeare productions, as well as indicating the wider use of OPin relation to other Elizabethan and Jacobean writers, composers from the period, the King James Bible, and those involved in reconstructing heritage centres. It will be an invaluable resource for producers, directors, actors, and others wishing to mount a Shakespeare production or present Shakespeare's poetry in original pronunciation, as well as for students and academics in the fields of literary criticism and Shakespeare studies more generally.

Oxford Dictionary of Original Shakespearean Pronunciation

Oxford Dictionary of Original Shakespearean Pronunciation

Author: David Crystal Format: eBook Release Date: 24/03/2016

This dictionary is the first comprehensive description of Shakespearean original pronunication (OP), enabling practitioners to deal with any queries about the pronunciation of individual words. It includes all the words in the First Folio, transcribed using IPA, and the accompanying website hosts sound files as a further aid to pronunciation. It also includes the main sources of evidence in the texts, notably all spelling variants (along with a frequency count foreach variant) and all rhymes (including those occurring elsewhere in the canon, such as the Sonnets and long poems). An extensive introduction provides a full account of the aims, evidence, history, and current use of OP in relation to Shakespeare productions, as well as indicating the wider use of OPin relation to other Elizabethan and Jacobean writers, composers from the period, the King James Bible, and those involved in reconstructing heritage centres. It will be an invaluable resource for producers, directors, actors, and others wishing to mount a Shakespeare production or present Shakespeare's poetry in original pronunciation, as well as for students and academics in the fields of literary criticism and Shakespeare studies more generally.

Wordsmiths and Warriors The English-Language Tourist's Guide to Britain

Wordsmiths and Warriors The English-Language Tourist's Guide to Britain

Author: David Crystal, Hilary Crystal Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/03/2015

Wordsmiths and Warriors explores the heritage of English through the places in Britain that shaped it. It unites the warriors, whose invasions transformed the language, with the poets, scholars, reformers, and others who helped create its character. The book relates a real journey. David and Hilary Crystal drove thousands of miles to produce this fascinating combination of English-language history and travelogue, from locations in south-east Kent to the Scottish lowlands, and from south-west Wales to the East Anglian coast. David provides the descriptions and linguistic associations, Hilary the full-colour photographs. They include a guide for anyone wanting to follow in their footsteps but arrange the book to reflect the chronology of the language. This starts with the Anglo-Saxon arrivals in Kent and in the places that show the earliest evidence of English. It ends in London with the latest apps for grammar. In between are intimate encounters with the places associated with such writers as Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Wordsworth; the biblical Wycliffe and Tyndale; the dictionary compilers Cawdrey, Johnson, and Murray; dialect writers, elocutionists, and grammarians, and a host of other personalities. Among the book's many joys are the diverse places that allow warriors such as Byrhtnoth and King Alfred to share pages with wordsmiths like Robert Burns and Tim Bobbin, and the unexpected discoveries that enliven every stage of the authors' epic journey.

ebook of the month
Language Death

Language Death

Author: David Crystal Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/11/2014

The rapid endangerment and death of many minority languages across the world is a matter of widespread concern, not only among linguists and anthropologists but among all concerned with issues of cultural identity in an increasingly globalized culture. By some counts, only 600 of the 6,000 or so languages in the world are 'safe' from the threat of extinction. A leading commentator and popular writer on language issues, David Crystal asks the fundamental question, 'why is language death so important?', reviews the reasons for the current crisis, and investigates what is being done to reduce its impact. This book contains not only intelligent argument, but moving descriptions of the decline and demise of particular languages, and practical advice for anyone interested in pursuing the subject further.

Words in Time and Place Exploring Language Through the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary

Words in Time and Place Exploring Language Through the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary

Author: David Crystal Format: Hardback Release Date: 18/09/2014

Did you know that the English language has over 150 words for the adjective 'drunk' developed over 1,000 years? Be prepared to learn words you have never heard before, find out fascinating facts behind everyday words, and be surprised at how lively and varied the English language can be. Published to critical acclaim in 2009, the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary is the first comprehensive thesaurus in the world to arrange words by meaning in order of first recorded use. Using its unique perspective on how the English language has developed, Words in Time and Place takes 15 themes and explores the language in these areas over time - explaining when new words appeared, where they came from, and what such changes say about times in which they emerged. The themes chosen are varied, universal topics and show the semantic range of the thesaurus and what it can tell us about the words used in areas of everyday life. Learn about the different words for dying and money, or types of pop music, as well as words for a privy, oaths, and words for being drunk. Written by the world's leading expert on the English language, David Crystal, the book carries his trademark style of engaging yet authoritative writing. Each chapter features an introduction to the language of that topic, followed by a timeline of vocabulary taken from the historical thesaurus showing all the synonyms arranged in chronological order. The timelines are annotated with additional quotations, facts, and social and historical context to give a clear sense of how words entered the English language, when, and in which context they were used. Words in Time and Place showcases the unique and excellent resource that is the Historical Thesaurus and reveals the linguistic treasures to be found within. This fascinating book will appeal to anyone with an interest in words and in the development of the English language.