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

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Harper Perennial, 2008 - English language - 320 pages
2 Reviews
A delightfully discursive, Bill Bryson-esque and personal journey through the groves and the thickets of the English language, by our foremost scholar of the history and structure of the English language. David Crystal has been described (by the Times Higher Education Supplement) as a sort of 'latter day Dr Johnson', a populist linguist who has promoted the study of the English language in an academic and broadcasting career that has so far spanned 40 years and nearly 100 books. Now he has written an engaging travel book of more general appeal. Inspired by W. G. Sebald's 'The Rings of Saturn' and by Bill Bryson's books, he has combined personal reflections, historical allusions and traveller observations to create a mesmerising (and entertaining) narrative account of his encounters with the English language and its speakers throughout the world - from Bangor to Bombay and from Stratford to San Francisco. 'By Hook or by Crook' is an attempt to capture the exploratory, seductive, teasing, tantalising nature of language study. As such, it will appeal to the ever-growing market who like to be entertained as well as instructed.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nandadevi - LibraryThing

Crystal suffers somewhat from critics who expect a book about language (it's not), or a tour guide of Britain (it's not). The title of the book must take some of the blame. This is not so much a ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - NellieMc - LibraryThing

Enjoyable read, but don't expect any real instruction regarding the English language. Essentially the author traveled around and wrote about what inspired him. Enjoyable, but only for those who aren't looking for anything academic. Read full review

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About the author (2008)

David Crystal has published over 90 books on the subject of the English language, including two encyclopaedias, 'The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Language' and The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of the English Language'. His book, 'The Stories of English' (2004) was a bestseller for Penguin. He has lectured in linguistics all his life, first at Bangor, then at Reading and is now Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales. He has also been a consultant, contributor or presenter on many radio and TV series (including 'The Story of English').

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