29 May 2006

Words Words Words

David Crystal is a world-famous authority on language, lexicography, linguistics, and anything else which concerns the words human beings use to speak and write. This is the latest of his many books - an easy-to-read primer in which he attempts to convey his enthusiasm for all aspects of the subject. His intention is to explore the common fascination with all aspects of language and to answer some of the questions we ask about it. How many words are there in the English language for instance? He shows why it's so difficult to answer this question accurately, but settles for 'over a million'. He also tries to dispel myths. Does the Sun newspaper really use a lexicon of only 500 words? That's a much easier problem. The answer is no. He counted a sample and the total was nearer to 7,000 ... Read more >>

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