Second Edition presenting an overhaul of its subject for a new generation of language-lovers.
Crystal, an author, lecturer, and BBC broadcaster on language, here approaches English with the same combination of scholarly seriousness and inviting visual presentation that made his Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language (LJ 5/1/88) so successful. This large, lively, and lavishly illustrated volume is divided into six broad topics that cover the English language's history, vocabulary, grammar, writing and speech systems, usage, and acquisition. Within these major topics, the book is divided into logical subtopics and finally into the basic unit of the text-the two-page spread. Nearly every individual subject is treated without turning a page, and how these pages are packed! The clear and spirited text is stunning, enhanced with over 500 illustrations, making this a particularly rich reference work and a browser's dream. The history part consists of chronological chapters that trace the language's development. It offers a fascinating treatment of the growth of English during Shakespeare's time as well as its adaptation to the needs of international trade and late 20th-century technology. Crystal is attuned to the diversity of English usage around the world, providing a variety of wide-ranging quotations, photographs, newspaper clippings, poems, ads, and cartoons. The text treats controversial topics such as black English, word and place origins, regional English, dialect, the U.S. movement to make English the official language, politically correct language, and the future. The book's layout, three indexes, and glossary will make it useful both at the reference desk and in the circulating collection. Crystal has created an attractive and readable work for the lay reader as well as the specialist. For most academic, public, and school libraries.-Paul D'Alessandro, Portland P.L., Me.