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Words Words Words (2006)

de David Crystal

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1693122,937 (3.76)8
"Lexicography is not just an exercise in linguistic accounting," writes preeminent English language scholar David Crystal in this exceptionally lively and erudite little book. "It is a voyage of lexical exploration and discovery." In Words, Words, Words, Crystal takes readers on a fascinating linguistic adventure, exploring the English language in all its oddity, complexity, and ever-changing beauty. Traveling from word origins and word evolution to wordgangs, wordrisks, wordplay, wordgames and beyond, Crystal shares his immense knowledge of, and equally immense delight in, language. He celebrates new words, old words, words that "snarl" and words that "purr," elegant words and taboo words, plain English words and convoluted gobbledegook, eponyms and antonyms, spoonerisms and malapropisms, and a host of other written and spoken forms and variations. Words, Words, Words offers invaluable insight on such subjects as �how to estimate the size of your vocabulary �the functions of jargon �when clich�s are necessary �the value of slang words ("the chief use of slang/is to show you're one of the gang") �how to create your own "semantic field" �dialect humor �how to become a word detective �how to keep a record of your child's words �and much more! With illuminating sidebars featuring everything from common word origins and sample definitions from the dictionaries of Samuel Johnson and Ambrose Bierce to a passage from Finnegan's Wake and the winning entries of The Guardian Text Message Poetry Competition, Words, Words, Words will both satisfy and spark the curiosity of anyone who has ever been intrigued, befuddled, or awed by words and myriad ways we use them.… (més)
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Think of this as a primer, a shallow but fascinating reader on various topics of interest to language lovers. Although no topic is covered in depth, there is sufficient meat for anyone interested in a particular topic to get more information. A light, but enjoyable read. ( )
  shabacus | May 21, 2012 |
This is a book that's perfect for reading in bits and pieces, and enjoyable enough on those terms. (Crystal does an especially good job writing for both UK and US audiences.) But it doesn't hold up for more serious use. Since there is no documentation--no footnotes or endnotes, not even a bibliography--it's impossible to check the author's claims. Crystal repeats (without attribution) an urban legend about the origin of "404" on page 7, and I therefore took his claims in the rest of the book with a grain of salt. This is not the level of careful research or presentation I expect from someone with Crystal's credentials. ( )
  szarka | Jun 11, 2011 |
This is a much lighter book than many of David Crystal's works. It makes a readable introduction to the subject, actually the chapter summaries seem to suggest that it might be intended for the school/college student. The final chapter includes some exercises (word games?) to test the reader. ( )
  antisyzygy | Jan 22, 2008 |
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"Lexicography is not just an exercise in linguistic accounting," writes preeminent English language scholar David Crystal in this exceptionally lively and erudite little book. "It is a voyage of lexical exploration and discovery." In Words, Words, Words, Crystal takes readers on a fascinating linguistic adventure, exploring the English language in all its oddity, complexity, and ever-changing beauty. Traveling from word origins and word evolution to wordgangs, wordrisks, wordplay, wordgames and beyond, Crystal shares his immense knowledge of, and equally immense delight in, language. He celebrates new words, old words, words that "snarl" and words that "purr," elegant words and taboo words, plain English words and convoluted gobbledegook, eponyms and antonyms, spoonerisms and malapropisms, and a host of other written and spoken forms and variations. Words, Words, Words offers invaluable insight on such subjects as �how to estimate the size of your vocabulary �the functions of jargon �when clich�s are necessary �the value of slang words ("the chief use of slang/is to show you're one of the gang") �how to create your own "semantic field" �dialect humor �how to become a word detective �how to keep a record of your child's words �and much more! With illuminating sidebars featuring everything from common word origins and sample definitions from the dictionaries of Samuel Johnson and Ambrose Bierce to a passage from Finnegan's Wake and the winning entries of The Guardian Text Message Poetry Competition, Words, Words, Words will both satisfy and spark the curiosity of anyone who has ever been intrigued, befuddled, or awed by words and myriad ways we use them.

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