Monday, April 20, 2009
David Crystal's THE STORIES OF ENGLISH in The Wall Street Journal
David Crystal's The Stories of English is nominated by Michael Quinlon in The Wall Street Journal as one of the Five Best Books on the English language: "This richly textured, nontechnical account of the evolution of English is fascinating because it interweaves multiple narratives. In parallel with the standard language, David Crystal discusses varieties usually considered nonstandard -- dialect, slang and the speech of ethnic minorities -- which previously hadn't received the same level of attention. Traditionalist speakers and grammarians deplore such varieties as inferior or corrupt, but they are increasingly becoming accepted as legitimate, not least because only one in three speakers of English now has it as a mother tongue. With a cornucopia of examples that range from "The Canterbury Tales" to "The Lord of the Rings," and from the correspondence of medieval kings to Internet chatroom gossip, Crystal's exposition is a delight."