cover image Words Words Words

Words Words Words

David Crystal. Oxford University Press, $30 (216pp) ISBN 978-0-19-861444-9

The latest contribution from prolific linguist Crystal (The Stories of English) offers a cornucopia of interesting takes on ""the universe of words."" Crystal briefly visits many aspects of language: baby names, place names, how languages change, how to estimate the size of your vocabulary and the interaction between languages. He also touches on the history of words and how language changes with interesting, straightforward explanations that belie the author's enormous knowledge of lexicology, but represent well his intense, personal love for it: ""Everyone has their own linguistic story to tell ... this book is part of my story, a cross-section of my lexical autobiography."" Witty literary references are sprinkled throughout the book, along with some surprisingly vulgar sections; even the table of contents and the index are fascinating linguistic exercises. Conversational but easy to reference, this text will be useful to any semi-serious practitioner of the English language.