In this ingenious and diverse collection of 366 stories, events and facts about language, David Crystal presents a selection of insights from literary and linguistic writers, poets and global institutions, together with the weird and wonderful creations of language enthusiasts to enliven each day of the year.
The day-by-day treatment illustrates the extraordinary breadth of the subject, from ‘Morse Code Day’ to ‘Talk Like William Shatner Day’, from forensic phonetics used to catch serial killers to heroines of speed reading, and covers writers from many different eras and cultures, including William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Emily Dickinson, Toni Morrison, R. K. Narayan, Wole Soyinka and many more.
Some days focus on pronunciation, orthography, grammar or vocabulary. Others focus on the way language is used in science, religion, politics, broadcasting, publishing, the Internet and the arts. There are days that acknowledge the achievements of language study, such as in language teaching, speech therapy, deaf education and forensic science, as well as technological progress, from the humble pencil to digital software. Several days celebrate individual languages, such as those recognised as ‘official’ by the United Nations, but not forgetting those spoken by small communities, along with their associated cultural identities.
A celebration of the remarkable creativity of all who have illuminated our understanding of language, this book is ideal for anyone wanting to add an extra point of interest to their language day.
David Crystal is a writer, editor, lecturer and broadcaster on language, and honorary professor of linguistics at Bangor University. His many books include The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language (CUP 3rd edn 2010) and two historical explorations of English vocabulary for the Bodleian Library: We Are Not Amused (2017) and That's the Ticket for Soup (2020). He lives online at www.davidcrystal.com.
- 400 pages, 234 x 156 mm
- ISBN 9781851246113
- Publication October 2023