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The Story of English in 100 Words Paperback – 26 Mar 2013
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"The best word book to come down the pike in many a moon. There are "Eureka!" moments in every chapter. An ingenious idea, and only David Crystal could have pulled it off. He's a marvel (but then we knew that already)."--Patricia T. O'Conner and Stewart Kellerman, authors of "Origins of the Specious: Myths and Misconceptions of the English Language", and bloggers at Grammarphobia.com
About the Author
David Crystal is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor. In 1995, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire for services to the English language. He lives in the United Kingdom.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Don't misperceive you'll become a world class philologist by reading it. But it's a nice beignet of a book.
The prose, and the storytelling, are where this book falls down. Parts of it read like it's meant for a ten year old--'egg', for example, features a recounting of the Caxton eggs/eyren story that I knew from Stories of English, except this version is written in Simple English for someone who's never heard of an inn before: "One of them went into a café (as we'd call it today) and asked for some 'eggs', but the lady who ran the establishment didn't understand what he wanted, and replied that she couldn't speak French. This made the sailor angry because he couldn't speak French either! He just wanted some 'eggs'." This isn't writing for amateurs--this is writing for children, and the kind of writing for children that infuriated me as a child because it talked down to me. And if his target audience is children, why the inclusion of a**e and c**t?
I could see buying a hard copy of this book to have around, but on Kindle, it's far from engaging enough to drop ten dollars on. Buy it if you need another fix of Crystal, but don't expect the light touch of his larger works.