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The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language

2nd Edition


  • Date Published: September 2003
  • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from December 2018
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521530330
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£ 35.00

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About the Authors
  • The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language is one of the publishing phenomena of recent times. Rarely has a book so packed with accurate and well researched factual information been so widely read and popularly acclaimed. It has played a key role in the spread of general interest in language matters, generating further publications and broadcasting events for an avid audience. Its First Edition appeared in hardback in 1995 and a revised paperback in 1997. There have been numerous subsequent updated reprintings; but this second edition now presents an overhaul of the subject for a new generation of language-lovers and of teachers, students and professional English-users concerned with their own linguistic legacy. The length of the book has been extended and there are 44 new illustrations, extensive new material on world English and Internet English, and a complete updating of statistics, further reading suggestions and other references.

    • The most successful general book on the English language (its past, present and future)
    • Packed with colour illustrations, maps, tables and graphics
    • Difficult concepts explained in a simple and accessible way
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'A delight and a treasure … David Crystal does a brilliant job of satisfying our curiosity about our mother tongue while illuminating the deepest questions of who we are and where we come from. A magnificent achievement.' Steven Pinker, Harvard

    'David Crystal is phenomenal … This is a prodigious achievement … The book contains breadth of range, imaginative insight, and deep understanding … It is pervasively readable and stimulating.' Lord Quirk

    '… a superb work that manages to be both scholarly and vastly entertaining … This is a deeply impressive book, for it packs between two covers virtually everything any normal person might care to know about English.' The Washington Post Book World

    '… bedazzles … with an eye-popping presentation of … the mother tongue.' The New York Times

    '… scholarly and entertaining … the range, scholarly value, interest, attractiveness and (often) humour of the tables, graphics, illustrations, photographs, colour plates, maps, and quoted material is quite stunning. rarely has serious information been presented so colourfully, so strikingly. A splendid work, essential in all libraries and destined to live a long and useful life.' Reference Reviews

    'I have been unable to think of a question this book cannot answer … I will risk predicting that Professor Crystal will not be superseded much before the message sent into space on Voyager I … receives an answer.' The Times Literary Supplement

    '… it gives … the whole history and grammar, all the theory and practice of English with precision, panache and wit.' The Observer

    '… without a doubt one of the most beautiful and enlightening volumes I have handled in some years.' Western Australia Sunday Times

    '… an outstanding work … The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language will surely remain the definite text in the field for some time to come.'

    '…the most diverting, delightful, imaginative and altogether entertaining compilation ever assembled about spoken and written English.' Parade Magazine

    '… bedazzles you with an eye-popping presentation of the cluck-clucking of the mother tongue. If you like fireworks with your information, this is a worthwhile language book …' William Safire, The New York Times Magazine

    '… this remarkable book is a goldmine of learning and knowledge … All readers … should find great value, and great pleasure, in this amazing reference book.' Cambridge

    '… contains a monstrous amount of information on a fascinating topic arranged in a clear, concise, and, above all, entertaining manner - a dangerous combination indeed, and one that can only lead to uncontrolable reading binges lasting hours or perhaps days.' Quill and Quire

    'You can open it to any page and be enthralled.' Indianapolis News

    'the Encyclopedia is, of course, a serious work of scholarship, but it is eminently readable.' The Hindu

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    Customer reviews

    22nd Aug 2017 by Patcop8

    This encyclopedia is an extremely useful tool for teachers or future teachers native or non-native.

    Review was not posted due to profanity


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    Product details

    • Edition: 2nd Edition
    • Date Published: September 2003
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521530330
    • length: 506 pages
    • dimensions: 276 x 223 x 30 mm
    • weight: 1.87kg
    • contains: 189 b/w illus. 430 colour illus. 53 maps 27 tables
    • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from December 2018
  • Table of Contents

    1. Modelling English
    Part I. The History of English:
    2. The origins of English
    3. Old English
    4. Middle English
    5. Early Modern English
    6. Modern English
    7. World English
    Part II. English Vocabulary:
    8. The nature of the lexicon
    9. The sources of the lexicon
    10. Etymology
    11. The structure of the lexicon
    12. Lexical dimensions
    Part III. English Grammar:
    13. Grammatical mythology
    14. The structure of words
    15. Word classes
    16. The structure of sentences
    Part IV. Spoken and Written English:
    17. The sound system
    18. The writing system
    Part V. Using English:
    19. Varieties of discourse
    20. Regional variation
    21. Social variation
    22. Personal variation
    23. Electronic variation
    Part VI. Learning about English:
    24. Learning English as a mother tongue
    25. New ways of studying English

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    The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language

    David Crystal

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  • Author

    David Crystal
    David Crystal is one of the world's foremost authorities on language.

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