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The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language
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The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language

4.34 of 5 stars 4.34  ·  rating details  ·  398 ratings  ·  28 reviews
This celebrated book offers a unique experience of the English language in all its richness and diversity. Clear and accessible, it abounds with insights into how the language evolved and how it works. Superbly illustrated in color throughout, and updated for this first paperback edition, "The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language" is the most comprehensive genera ...more
Hardcover, 489 pages
Published May 26th 1995 by Cambridge University Press (first published 1987)
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A history of English, as it is spoken, written, taught, and learned.

Many, many maps, illustrations, references, sidebars, and photographs are included in this wonderful encyclopedia. The scope and breadth of this work includes examples of English literature from Beowulf, Chaucer, Hamlet, and The Cat in the Hat. There are studies of accents and pronunciations, Scandinavian place names in the English speaking world, how English grammar evolved from that of a quasi-Saxon tongue into a blend of
Peter dohan
I am dipping into the 1993 hardback edition; it is not a book to read through cover to cover. open any page and be amazed. it is an unusually well-crafted book - a treasure trove, indeed, with pieces of eight on every page. I am heading to the far east soon and will read it every night till then. not plane carry on material unfortunately. peter
Oct 06, 2011 Wayne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who speaks, reads or thinks
Recommended to Wayne by: the English Tongue,
This is not the type of book you have to read from cover to cover.It's one of those you just wade through in whatever direction you like as well as using it for specific references.
In other words it's a treasure chest of goodies...amusing, enlightening, absorbing and satisfying.

I recall David Crystal talking about a competition they had run for someone to create a 'new' word.
They awarded it to the entry 'BAGONIZE' which means the feeling you have at the airport when you are anxiously waiting for

I am 17 and I'm a Spanish student who aims to study English Literature at University.

I've always asked myself things like: "What are the English accents like?; What does this English name come from?; How much did French language influenced over the English language?; Where could I find anything about the Old English literature (for instance: documents, songs, words...)? [...]"

What I didn't know was that it does exist an encyclopedia of such things!!!!

Although I'm Spanish, I think I woul
Dec 17, 2007 Ceridwen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in language
As linguistics books go, this is a fascinating read. Very informative, interesting and surprisingly funny. And if you ever have the chance of visiting one of Mr. Crystal's lectures, do it. I hear he regularly has the audience rolling in the aisles.
Matthew Jarman
One of the best books I have ever read.
Katya Epstein
I adore this book. If you love the English language, you will love this book. I know it's a hackneyed phrase, but this really is a treasure trove. I have seen my friends' eyes light up as they leaf through it. Everything you might want to know about English, written in clear and charming language, by a true linguist. David Crystal is not just some journalist with a list of clever etymologies or a self-appointed punctuation maven. He manages to cover an enormous breadth of topics with surprising ...more
A superb reference book covering all aspects of the development of the English language, its vocabulary, usage, orthography, spelling, variants, punctuation etc.

David Crystal wears his expertise lightly, which makes the book a delight to use and very accessible, with lots of illustrations, diagrams, photos and examples. There are also appendices and lists for further reading.

In general, Crystal is a pragmatist who loves language; he is certainly not an authoritarian pedant. He accepts and explai
An endlessly interesting book.
Purchased this book to use as a reference book for my Sociolinguistics class and kept it because it is a great book for writers as well. Sometimes if I need to jumpstart myself to write I pull this book out, flip to a random page and make myself write a poem or something about whatever is on that page. Very useful as an academic resource AND a creative resource.
Jan 05, 2008 Rachel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: word nerds and grammar geeks
Read (and I'm using the word "read" pretty loosely here) this for the class I'm auditing, "The English Language." I'm delighted by how engaging it is--best written reference book I've read, actually (I'm looking at you, The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics!).
This book is great for anyone interested in the history of the English language but who doesn't want to wade through the pages of more dense and esoteric texts. This book narrows it down to the key ideas and provides the reader with loads of fun facts and lots of pictures! :)
This is a ridiculously good book. Packed with information on the English language to the gills, and it's not the one bit dry at all. The author seamlessly weaves in contemporary trends with linguistic research. Anyone lover of English must buy this book.
Fiona Ranson
This is an amazing reference book, which will not be read as a reference book but cover to cover- it's packed of 'read out loud facts'.
Don't know much about the English language? Here's your chance to negate that problem. Here we go back in time to middled English, old English and beyond. Way back to the Jutes, Angles, Saxons . . . So get your reading fedora out.
Interesting, as textbooks go. There was a lot of information, and it made a perfect "browse" book, but overall, since I couldn't read it cover to cover I wasn't that into it. Good though for ideas for academic papers.
Elaine Balliet
Bye bye History of the English Language! Recommended for everyone who desires to learn more about the origins of their roots, and English. Great info on the Anglo-Saxons included throughout this informative study.
Dec 05, 2013 Amanda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: language enthusiasts; English teachers
Shelves: nonfiction
"The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language" is a wonderful look into the history, makeup, and use of the English language. Very readable and fun. Well done!
This was my go-to Encyclopedia for years.
My knowledge of linguistics owes to this book!Not only is David Crystal a great linguist ,but also he is a promising artist.
Fun book for laypeople, a lot of English history. Nice supplementary material for intro ling courses.
To me, the well researched information on language matters makes the book unputdownable.
Jim Bouchard
I didn't realize I didn't really speak English until I read this!
Brilliant reference book for those taking language modules
Jack Pyke
It's by Crystal, of course it's goooood ref material.
Excellent resource with great visuals.
very helpful; clever details
Bruno marked it as to-read
Nov 25, 2014
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David Crystal works from his home in Holyhead, North Wales, as a writer, editor, lecturer, and broadcaster. Born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland in 1941, he spent his early years in Holyhead. His family moved to Liverpool in 1951, and he received his secondary schooling at St Mary's College. He read English at University College London (1959-62), specialised in English language studies, did some rese ...more
More about David Crystal...
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