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A Little Book of LanguageA Little Book of Language

David Crystal

Narrated by Derek Perkins

Available from Audible

Book published by Yale University Press

With a language disappearing every two weeks and neologisms springing up almost daily, an understanding of the origins and currency of language has never seemed more relevant. In this charming volume, a narrative history, expert linguist David Crystal proves why the story of language deserves retelling.

From the first words of an infant to the peculiar modern dialect of text messaging, A Little Book of Language ranges widely, revealing language’s myriad intricacies and quirks. In animated fashion, Crystal sheds light on the development of unique linguistic styles, the origins of obscure accents, and the search for the first written word. He discusses the plight of endangered languages, as well as successful cases of linguistic revitalization. Much more than a history, Crystal’s work looks forward to the future of language, exploring the effect of technology on our day-to-day reading, writing, and speech. A Little Book of Language will reveal the story of language to be a captivating tale for all ages.

David Crystal is one of the world's preeminent language specialists. Writer, editor, lecturer, and broadcaster, he is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor. He has written nearly 100 books, including The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of the English Language, By Hook or By Crook: A Journey in Search of English, Txtng: The Gr8 Db8, The Stories of English, and Rediscover Grammar, and has published widely on phonetics, Shakespeare's language, and child language. In 1995 he was awarded the OBE for services to the English language.


“Demotic, lively, rigorous but unabashedly unpedantic David Crystal reminds us that living languages know no boundaries, that they adapt themselves joyously to new conditions. Here he indulges himself with great good humour in his little book of love for the pleasures of language and words worldwide.”

The Times

“…an enlightening and entertaining celebration of language and linguistics.”

The Guardian

A Little Book of Language is a paean to language in all its guises. Crystal has clearly thought long and hard about his subject....He is always revealing and thought-provoking.”

Seattle Times

“An exhilarating romp through the mysteries and vagaries of language.... This is the perfect primer for anyone interested in the subject.”

Publishers Weekly

“David Crystal's latest book takes us on an exploration of that cornerstone of humanity - communication. A master of language in all guises, he brings a freshness and exuberance to every nook and cranny - from baby talk and slang, to lost languages and the very modern medium of text messages…. One word of warning: 'dip' into A Little Book of Language only if you can resist the urge to finish it in a single setting - it's fascinating stuff. ”

—Claire Vaughan, BBC

All titles are published by:
University Press Audiobooks
an imprint of Redwood Audiobooks

University Press Audiobooks