- Taschenbuch: 592 Seiten
- Verlag: Penguin (5. Mai 2005)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0141015934
- ISBN-13: 978-0141015934
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 12,7 x 1,9 x 19,7 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 86.663 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
The Stories of English (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 5. Mai 2005
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"This new history of the English language in all its manifestations is among the best ever written, and is both entertaining and informative."
When and why did 'thou' disappear from Standard English? Would a Victorian Cockney have said 'observation' or 'hobservation'? Was Jane Austen making a mistake when she wrote 'Jenny and James are walked to Charmonth this afternoon'? This superbly well-informed - and also wonderfully entertaining - history of the English language answers all these questions, showing how the many strands of English (Standard English, dialect and slang among them) developed to create the richly-varied language of today.Alle Produktbeschreibungen
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If you think these are interesting questions, you will like this book. David Crystal describes how the ancient kingdoms of Wessex, Mercia, East Anglia, Northumberland and Kent each contributed to what we know as “Standard English.” These historical kingdoms have left their mark on the regional dialects and accents of England and the US. Later interactions with other languages around the world gave a subtlety and complexity to English that made it highly expressive. Crystal traces English's improbable ascent to world power. Throughout, there has been a tension between stabilization (defining a standard variety of English) and change (agglomeration of foreign and regional words and grammar). Unlike other languages, English has no “academy” to regulate grammar, vocabulary and spelling. This is probably a good thing. Crystal maintains that as the English language becomes more globalized, “Standard English” is neither an attainable nor even a desirable goal.
I liked how he interspersed illustrative vignettes throughout the book, but I still feel his style could have been a little tighter--he could have given us the same amount of information in a hundred fewer pages.
One of the most amusing passages is where he quoted a serious poem written before "fart" was considered a word not suited for literature. I am reading it again and find that it helps me understand my own mother tongue...
Today, a great majority of people speak the English language. Few, especially in my country (USA) know anything about its origins or history. So many struggle with its apparent contradictory rules and baffling words. Why do we have words like through, though, and laugh which have a string of seemingly unimportant silent letters? Why is i come before e except after c a rule when there are so many exceptions? Why are double-negatives a "no-no" when other languages use them to emphasize the negative connotation? Why do some speakers have such trouble with syntax? Why did we used to have words like "thee" and "thine" but no longer?
Many of the answers are detailed within. I encourage anyone whose native tongue is English to read it.
Crystal never condescends and never lectures: you always feel part of a conversation with a knowledgeable, chatty, and slightly dotty uncle who just wants you stay for one more glass of sherry while he finishes his story.