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By Hook Or By Crook: A Journey in Search of English

By Hook Or By Crook: A Journey in Search of English [Kindle Edition]

David Crystal
5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)

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From Publishers Weekly

Linguist Crystal (How Language Works) elucidates the serendipitous nature of language study as he meanders from Wales to San Francisco by way of England and Poland, taking every opportunity for linguistic exploration. A somewhat rambling travelogue is paired with Crystal's idiosyncratic thought processes, and the book is full of descriptive anecdotes culminating in linguistic intrigue. Often something simple such as an impromptu Good morning from a Welsh shepherd is the trigger, in this case prompting the history of the shepherd's crook of the book's title. Crystal searches for—and finds—surprising topics in the lush cultures surrounding him, including the etymology of the name of a Welsh town which contains 58 letters (it's Llanfairpwll for short), causing him to speculate on why words containing consonants like m, n, l, and r are considered the most beautiful, to discuss the linguistic processes of a wordplayer and to conclude with a version of Hamlet in which every word begins with h. In a conversational style that includes plenty of quirky facts, Crystal captures the exploratory, seductive, teasing, quirky, tantalizing nature of language study, and in doing so illuminates the fascinating world of words in which we live. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Praise for 'The Stories of English': 'A marvellous book!for anyone who loves the English language(s) it will be a treasure-house.' Philip Pullman 'Reads like an adventure story. Which, of course, it is.' Roger McGough 'Rejoices in dialects, argots and cants!enlightening -- in a word, excellent.' Sunday Times 'A spirited celebration!Crystal gives the story of English a new plot.' Guardian 'Simply the best introductory history of the English language family that we have. The plan of the book is ingenious, the writing lively, the exposition clear and the scholarly standard uncompromisingly high.' J.M.Coetzee


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 514 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 336 Seiten
  • Verlag: Harper Perennial (4. September 2008)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B002RI9U54
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Nicht aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #270.949 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Ungewöhnlich unterhaltsame Spracherweiterung 12. Juli 2009
Dieses Buch wurde mir von meiner Englischlehrerin ausgeliehen. Ich finde es so spannend und unterhaltsam, dass ich es jetzt kaufe um es zu besitzen und darin immer wieder zu stöbern und Neues über die Sprache, Bewohner und Kultur der Briten zu erfahren. Es geht hier um die walisiche Ecke, aber eben viel breiter und gesamthaft betrachtet.
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 3.7 von 5 Sternen  9 Rezensionen
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Davad Crystal: Walking English 14. Juni 2010
Von Stephen A. Stomps - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Very well written, informative and interesting. Although the book is very Britain-centric, not surprising since this is a trip through England and Wales, there are many examples of the roots of American and other developing International English-es.
Highly recommended and I will certainly read other books by David Crystal.
SWalking English: A Journey in Search of Language
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Fascinating travelogue about etymology, language change and development, regional dialects, literature, history, and other... 12. November 2012
Von Char - Veröffentlicht auf
The author describes his book as a serendipitous linguistic travelogue, rather "stream-of-consciousness" in style. To me, it seemed much more orderly and coherent than most s.o.c. writing. The text is logical and straightforward, written in traditional plain English. The subject matter is, however, a rapidly changing "thought collage" of fragmentary observations. Each chapter, which is set in a different city, contains a running commentary about language, historical events, and the linguist/semanticist author's personal associations which arise in response to the local surroundings he's passing through. The salient points he makes seldom extend over more than a few pages, sometimes over only a few sentences, so the book lends itself well to brief reading sessions. A good bedside book. Without concern about forgetting the thread and details of one long main discourse as with most books, the reader who grows weary can stick in a bookmark at the end of any bit of brief commentary and return when in a mood to take up the journey again. I've read the book in small takes over a very long period of time. It's so chock-full of fascinating information and observation that I want to re-read it again at least once. Besides being a factual feast augmented by the author's imagination and erudition, there's a lot of delightful humor along the way.

I found some of the most enjoyable commentary (for me personally) was associative trivia about the names of things. Three or four paragraphs were about how people often name personal objects that belong to them--not only transport objects like cars, boats, and planes, but even lawnmowers, refrigerators, and wheelbarrows. A man named his wheelbarrow Wilberforce; a woman named her hoover J. Edgar; a man named his butter-knife Marlon. One woman's reasoning for calling her pocket calculator Mr. Spock was because it was green, was extremely logical, and gave her the right answers. A family named its yucca plant Yorick in anticipation of being able to say at its demise, "Alas, poor Yorick!"

Crystal points out how names tend to build up nuances of associative meaning beyond their literal identity: For instance, Scotland Yard has come to be associated with police investigation, White Hall with civil service, Soho with a red-light district, Wimbledon with tennis, the World Trade Center with a terror crisis. He gives a list of famous place names and street names for the reader to read and see how many of them suggest associations. All are British but he points out that every country and city could make its own lists. [I, as an American, felt only pretty good that of 13 streets, I had clear associations with 3, and the strongest of my associations was with Baker Street (the location of Sherlock Holmes' apartment). I had fairly distinct associations with 7 out of 18 place names, those being Ascot, Balmoral, Billingsgate, Eton, Euston, Mayfair, and Sandhurst.]

(Some clever puns used for names of shops that the author noticed in San Francisco were delightful. Will leave to the reader the discovery of those--plus the authoritative statements that Crystal makes in his "search for the English language," which is the subject of his book.)

David Crystal is a well-known and well-respected commentator and writer about language, involved in a variety of literary and linguistic occupations and projects. His literary background and knowledge of the arts is evident throughout the book. Commentaries about Tolkien and Shakespeare should be informative and interesting to many readers. (Crystal has been an adviser as to authentic pronunciation of words from Shakespeare's plays. One learns with interest along the way that words were sometimes pronounced long ago with differently accented syllables than they are today. Like consider the odd way they used to say balCOny, TRAfalgar, reSEARCH...) There's also a great deal of commentary about cathedrals, churches, abbeys, location of holy objects, and cemeteries. Who knows how the famous Pere Lachaise cemetery got its name? Who knows in what city and church Chopin's heart resides? Did you know that the poet Byron pronounced his name "Burn"? The narrative is replete with all sorts of intriguing, obscure, and amusing information. Is a delightful source of learning.

Crystal starts out making observations about language in Wales, then moves about in England, Poland, and America (San Francisco only). Appended to the text is a 5-page list of references and sources, a 6-page index of places that occur in the text, a 6-page list of people and characters, and an 8-page index of topics. This would be a congenial book for lovers of word etymology, language change and development, regional dialects and speech patterns, literature, and history. It does not read like a scholarly treatise. The down-to-earth style would be accessible to most ordinary readers.
4.0 von 5 Sternen Enough to keep you interested and entertained...if you are a geek of language 25. Mai 2013
Von "Belgo Geordie" - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Which in part, to be sad, I am. Some of the reading was as dull as the sheen on village ditch water-not a tadpole-ripple in sight. Big sighs, put the bloody thing down and grumped a bit. But went back to read more. Cos he's yon clever bugger! I am not sure I would have called it a journey like; more an amble and if you treat it as such, rewarding it is. There is some odd survivors out there in the lexicon of English as it be spake. But-I note the journey is sum wot curtailed being set around the Midlands and Welsh borders. I would like to see this man take a plumb-line to the rest of the bigger shires. He would go doolally and be found burbling tied to a stake on a village green with a bowl of porridge for company. Me, a'm still getting over his clever clogs junior son's "Shakespeare on bloody toast". Wreaks haddock on the marmalade and mushy peas knowin' verbal runs runs in families. Ah well, better go off feed pidgins and chook stottie at ta spuggies. Alreet clever cloggs a'm in Australia-hurl vegemite and prawns at yon cockies.
4.0 von 5 Sternen By Hook or By Crook 25. April 2013
Von Lillie B Ivy - Veröffentlicht auf
Verifizierter Kauf
First got this book from the library and I kept wanting to hi-lite the words, I like linguistics and the study of words. The book is easy to read and has a variety of foriegn words and their origins, plus he gives the definition in the book and don't have to look them up yourself. The book is very entertaining.
2.0 von 5 Sternen How could you do this to me, Mr. Crystal? 4. März 2013
Von Chris Crawford - Veröffentlicht auf
I have snapped up everything Mr. Crystal has written. Some of it I have loved: The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language and the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. Other books weren't stellar, but always good -- until this one.

A more accurate title for this book would be "Driving around Britain, Making Notes". The great bulk of the material is a travelogue, with tales of places he went, sights he saw, and people he met. Occasionally he tosses in an observation about language, but it seems that Mr. Crystal has exhausted his cornucopia of tales about language. Quite a cornucopia it has been, but now it's empty.

Years ago, the creators of a successful television series decided to shut it down, despite the fact that it still garnered excellent ratings. They explained that they didn't want to follow the usual path of trudging on until thrown out by bad ratings; they wanted to retain the series' reputation for excellence by ending it while the creative spark was still bright.

Would that Mr. Crystal had emulated their example.
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