Wordsmiths & Warriors: The English-Language Tourists Guide to Britain David Crystal

ISBN: 9780199668120

Published: December 1st 2013


424 pages


Wordsmiths & Warriors: The English-Language Tourists Guide to Britain  by  David Crystal

Wordsmiths & Warriors: The English-Language Tourists Guide to Britain by David Crystal
December 1st 2013 | Hardcover | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, talking book, mp3, ZIP | 424 pages | ISBN: 9780199668120 | 10.57 Mb

What do you get a logophile and Anglophile for her birthday? What if she is an anglologophile? Well, it would be hard to do better than Wordsmiths & Warriors, the quirky English-language Tourists Guide to Britain. Author, philologist, linguist, phonologist, and all-around good guy David Crystal and his wife Hilary (the books primary photographer) brought all the unjaundiced enthusiasm and wonder of travelers to their island home in the summer of 2012 -- which, as Mr.

Crystal so often reminds the reader, was a wet and gloomy season (though, as often as not, the photographs of the locales seem set against a blue sky). From Scotland to Wales and all over England the duo traced the origins, changes, innovations, and utter bewitchment of the greatest language ever grown in a series of it happened right here snapshots of what might otherwise be forgotten places. If you love the English language (I do) and Great Britain (I do) and the delightful eccentricity and erudition that seem uniformly to cloak British writers (I double do), then this is a book that will please you immensely.The men and the stories that have shaped English are myriad and intriguing.

Some were, of course, familiar even to me: Shakespeare, Johnson, Chaucer, Caxton, etc. Many were new to me: Lindley Murray, Isaac Pitman, Henry Fowler, and so on. All are worthy of honour and renown for their devotion to and enhancement of the mother tongue.What is made increasingly evident throughout the guide is the wild unwieldiness of this language and its resulting democratic nature. It changes and grows, even today (unfortunately, I would say more to degradation today than betterment, but I am a curmudgeon), because it is adaptable and accessible to anyone.

In Chapter 37, Mr. Crystal writes of John Dryden and his attempts to codify English through a Royal Academy in the late 17th century, much as had been done in France. Despite his efforts and ensuing ones over the years, this has never happened to English. It is alive- to contain it would kill it. Plus, we English speakers are an unruly lot. As Dr. Johnson wrote: We live in an age in which it is a kind of publick sport to refuse all respect that cannot be enforced. The edicts of an English academy would probably be read by many, only that they might be sure to disobey them.

May we always be thus in the Angloshpere.

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