Monday, October 13, 2008

49. By Hook or by Crook

The title: By Hook or by Crook: A Journey in Search of English
The author: David Crystal
Publication: Overlook Press, 2007
Got it from: The library

I wasn't sure what to expect when I put my name down for this book at the library. It was a new book about linguistics, so I thought I'd take a look and see if it interested me. One of the nice things about having no expectations about a book is that it is a pleasant surprise when you find yourself enjoying it.

This book isn't about any one thing in particular, other than being observations the author makes about funny things in the English language. Don't read this expecting a linear narrative, you'll go bonkers. It's more like a chocolate box full of interesting tidbits. And like a chocolate box, you never know where you're headed next. For instance, I learned that certain kinds of bees do elaborate dances to alert their hivemates about food sources, there's a language dying somewhere in the world every two weeks and that Birmingham accents are considered the ugliest in all of Britain. There's also a lot of references to pop culture. Extra points for the frequent mention of Doctor Who, which I have recently renewed my obsession with. B+

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