Synopses & Reviews
A lighthearted exploration of the origin, function and purpose of language addresses a wide range of topics to offer insight into what can be learned through verbal and body language, from the role of gestures and the evolution of grammar to the intricacies of different languages and the layout of the human throat.
"A world authority on language, Crystal (The Stories of English) offers an impeccably organized guide to language and communication that brings clarity to a scholarly subject, and is sure to become a standard reference. Written in an unadorned style, Crystal's chapters are purposeful lessons ('How we use tone of voice'; 'How children learn to mean'; 'How we choose what to say') that demonstrate his pedagogical genius for rendering complex matters simple. Crystal's tome imparts a vast amount of knowledge concerning intricate and interrelated aspects of speech, the written word, lexicography, grammar and neurological aspects of communication; it encompasses issues of identity, ethnicity and the preservation of disappearing languages, the structural organization of the world's different language families, multilingualism, and the pragmatic uses of artificial and natural languages. A feat of academic distillation, Crystal's book abounds in wisdom and dry wit." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Whether looking at the whistle languages of the Canary Islands or describing the layout of the human throat, this landmark book will enrich the lives of everyone who reads it.
About the Author
David Crystal is honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor, and the editor of The Penguin Encyclopedia.