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This title in other editions

The Stories of English

by

The Stories of English Cover

ISBN13: 9781585677191
ISBN10: 1585677191
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The English language is now accepted as the global lingua franca of the modern age, spoken or written in by over a quarter of the human race. But how did it evolve? How did a language spoken originally by a few thousand Anglo-Saxons become one used by more than 1,500 million? What developments can be seen as we move from Beowulf to Chaucer to Shakespeare to Dickens and the present day? A host of fascinating questions are answered in The Stories of English, a groundbreaking history of the language by David Crystal, the world-renowned writer and commentator on English. Many books have been written about English, but they have all focused on a single variety: the educated, printed language called "standard" English. David Crystal turns the history of English on its head and instead provides a startlingly original view of where the richness, creativity and diversity of the language truly lies--in the accents and dialects of nonstandard English users all over the world. Whatever their regional, social or ethnic background, each group has a story worth telling, whether it is in Scotland or Somerset, South Africa or Singapore. Interweaved within this central chronological story are accounts of uses of dialect around the world as well as in literary classics from The Canterbury Tales to The Lord of the Rings. For the first time, regional speech and writing is placed center stage, giving a sense of the social realities behind the development of English. This significant shift in perspective enables the reader to understand for the first time the importance of everyday, previously marginalized, voices in our language and provides an argument too for the way English should be taught in the future.

Synopsis:

The groundbreaking history of the English language, fusing chronological with anecdotal and etymological accounts of individual word-histories, to create not one story, but many stories.

Synopsis:

Crystal turns the history of the language on its head and provides a startlingly original view of where the richness, creativity, and diversity of the language truly lies: in the accents and dialects of nonstandard English users all over the globe.

Synopsis:

The Stories of English is a groundbreaking history of the language by David Crystal, the world-renowned writer and commentator on English. Other books have been written on the subject, but they focused on the educated, printed language called standard English. Crystal turns the history of the language on its head and provides a startlingly original view of where the richness, creativity, and diversity of the language truly lies--in the accents and dialects of nonstandard English users all over the globe. Interwoven within this central chronological story are accounts of uses of dialect around the world as well as in literary classics from The Canterbury Tales to The Lord of the Rings. For the first time, regional speech and writing is placed center stage. This significant shift in perspective enables the reader to understand the importance of everyday, previously marginalized, voices in our language, and provides an argument for the way English should be taught in the future.

About the Author

David Crystal is honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor, and the editor of The Penguin Encyclopedia.

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Susan B. Gillmor, August 31, 2012 (view all comments by Susan B. Gillmor)
David Crystal has applied his appreciable knowledge of the English language to this impressive introductory study of the history of our language, detailed enough to satisfy more sophisticated academic-types while still accessible to the lay reader. The strength of this work is its emphasis on the ongoing development and history of the dialects of the language, concentrating more on the diversity of tongues evident from the inception of English as a discernable language and less on received standard English as spoken in the halls of academia and in political/diplomatic circles.

The history of English inevitably entails a thorough summary of its political and military history, its invasions and its wars, its immigrant ancestors and its emigrations to far-flung parts of the world, not to mention its social foibles and daily routines. Crystal designs an interesting pastiche format to cover the main storylines, with fascinating sidebars with mini-stories about the language and the people who speak it through the centuries. A chapter on the dialects that were spoken during the Middle English period, for example, is interrupted (in a non-invasive way) by a short exposition on the reason that the Old English word "stane" did not become the standardized word "stone" in certain dialect areas of the British Isles. A section on "Printing and its Consequences" includes a sidebar with an extract from the first King James Bible and is followed by what Crystal calls as "Interlude" (like a type of sub-chapter) about "The first English Dictionary." The format works well and accomplishes what Crystal has aspired to create.

The book was a pleasure from cover to cover, beginning with the languages present in Britain at the time of the original Anglo-Saxon invasion to the spread of English as a major global language in all its various dialect forms, from India to Jamaica to Australia and points in between. I recommend this work for the shelves of anyone who loves our language and has an interest in how it got from there to here!
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781585677191
Author:
Crystal, David
Publisher:
The Overlook Press
Subject:
General
Subject:
Linguistics
Subject:
English language
Subject:
History
Subject:
General History
Subject:
English language -- History.
Subject:
English language -- Great Britain.
Subject:
Linguistics - General
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20050906
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
608
Dimensions:
203.2 x 127 mm
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Anthropology » Linguistics
History and Social Science » Linguistics » English Linguistics and Dialects
History and Social Science » Linguistics » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Reference » General

The Stories of English New Trade Paper
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Product details 608 pages Overlook Press - English 9781585677191 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , The groundbreaking history of the English language, fusing chronological with anecdotal and etymological accounts of individual word-histories, to create not one story, but many stories.
"Synopsis" by , Crystal turns the history of the language on its head and provides a startlingly original view of where the richness, creativity, and diversity of the language truly lies: in the accents and dialects of nonstandard English users all over the globe.
"Synopsis" by , The Stories of English is a groundbreaking history of the language by David Crystal, the world-renowned writer and commentator on English. Other books have been written on the subject, but they focused on the educated, printed language called standard English. Crystal turns the history of the language on its head and provides a startlingly original view of where the richness, creativity, and diversity of the language truly lies--in the accents and dialects of nonstandard English users all over the globe. Interwoven within this central chronological story are accounts of uses of dialect around the world as well as in literary classics from The Canterbury Tales to The Lord of the Rings. For the first time, regional speech and writing is placed center stage. This significant shift in perspective enables the reader to understand the importance of everyday, previously marginalized, voices in our language, and provides an argument for the way English should be taught in the future.
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