A Little Book of Language

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  • Format: Trade Book
  • Copyright: 2010-06-01
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
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Supplemental Materials

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  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.


With a language disappearing every two weeks and neologisms springing up almost daily, an understanding of the origins and currency of language has never seemed more relevant. In this charming volume, a narrative history written explicitly for a young audience, expert linguist David Crystal proves why the story of language deserves retelling.

From the first words of an infant to the peculiar modern dialect of text messaging, A Little Book of Language ranges widely, revealing language’s myriad intricacies and quirks. In animated fashion, Crystal sheds light on the development of unique linguistic styles, the origins of obscure accents, and the search for the first written word. He discusses the plight of endangered languages, as well as successful cases of linguistic revitalization. Much more than a history, Crystal’s work looks forward to the future of language, exploring the effect of technology on our day-to-day reading, writing, and speech. Through enlightening tables, diagrams, and quizzes, as well as Crystal’s avuncular and entertaining style, A Little Book of Language will reveal the story of language to be a captivating tale for all ages.

“Demotic, lively, rigorous but unabashedly unpedantic David Crystal reminds us that living languages know no boundaries, that they adapt themselves joyously to new conditions. Here he indulges himself with great good humour in his little book of love for the pleasures of language and words worldwide.” - Iain Finlayson, The Times (London)

"An excellent book to put in the hands of anyone first starting to think about the wonders of what we all take for granted, our shared capacity to talk and understand." - Nicholas Ostler, Empires of the Word

''Crystal-clear, witty and informative, a book to bring out the linguist in us all.'' - Roger McGough

Author Biography

David Crystal is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor, and one of the world’s preeminent language specialists. He has written nearly one hundred books, including The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of the English Language, The Stories of English, By Hook or By Crook: a Journey in Search of English, and Txtng: The Gr8 Db8. He lives in Holyhead, Wales.

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Customer Reviews

An excellent book! May 12, 2011
Since I'd started reading the textbook immediately upon receiving it, without looking at the descriptions or blurbs, I didn't realize it is aimed at younger readers. It was high time for A Little Book of Language to appear. I applaud Mr. Crystal for bringing it about.
This is one of the few textbooks on language that I've come across that is suitable for readers of just about any age. This used textbook looks as if it is new and the price was good, I'm very happy to deal with ecampus.
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A Little Book of Language: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.

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