How Language Works by David Crystal
How Babies Babble, Words Change Meaning, and Languages Liveor Die

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Synopsis

Steven Pinker meets Bill Bryson in this landmark exploration of language.

In the author's own words, "How Language Works is not about music, cookery, or sex. But it is about how we talk about music, cookery, and sex-or, indeed, anything at all." Language is so fundamental to everyday life that we take it for granted. But as David Crystal makes clear in this work of unprecedented scope, language is an extremely powerful tool that defines the human species.

Crystal offers general readers a personal tour of the intricate workings of language. He moves effortlessly from big subjects like the origins of languages, how children learn to speak, and how conversation works to subtle but revealing points such as how email differs from both speech and writing in important ways, how language reveals a person's social status, and how we decide whether a word is rude or polite.

Broad and deep, but with a light and witty touch, How Language Works is the ultimate layman's guide to how we communicate with one another.
 

About David Crystal

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DAVID CRYSTAL is the foremost expert on English, and honorary professor of linguistics at Bangor University in Wales. He has written many books and published articles in fields ranging from forensic linguistics and ELT to the liturgy and Shakespeare. In 1995, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire for services to the English language. He lives in the United Kingdom.    
 
Published November 1, 2007 by Avery. 512 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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After beginning with spoken and written language, with a brief look at computer-mediated communication, he moves on to sign language;

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The New York Times

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He says that sign languages are real languages and that they develop independently as languages even within the same speaking group.

Dec 18 2006 | Read Full Review of How Language Works: How Babie...

The Guardian

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A Dictionary of the English Language: An Anthology, edited by David Crystal (Penguin, £12.99) It was a stroke of genius on Thackeray's part to have Becky Sharp throw her copy of Johnson's Dictionary out of her carriage window.

Dec 16 2006 | Read Full Review of How Language Works: How Babie...

The Guardian

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How Language Works: How Babies Babble, Words Change Meaning and Languages Live or Die by David Crystal (512pp, Penguin, £22) Words, Words, Words by David Crystal (224pp, Oxford, £12.99) Possibly only Stephen King rivals David Crystal in terms of literary productivity: King has written millions of...

Feb 11 2006 | Read Full Review of How Language Works: How Babie...

Publishers Weekly

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and the author of several books including The Fight for English, undertook to search the entire KJV for every idiom (as distinct from quotations) that has become part of modern English vernacular.

Nov 08 2010 | Read Full Review of How Language Works: How Babie...

The Bookbag

Summary: Concise and erudite introduction to the study of language covering all basic aspects of language mechanics.

Nov 30 2012 | Read Full Review of How Language Works: How Babie...

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