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Most popular Language: history & general works books

The most popular Language: history & general works books currently available. Updated weekly.
Word for Every Day of the Year
A weird and wonderful word and its meaning for every day of the year.
Bad Words: And What They Say About Us
Snowflake, elite, expert . . . What are today's 'bad words' and what do they say about us, both as individuals and as a society?
Poems from the Edge of Extinction: The Beautiful New Treasury of Poetry in Endangered Languages, in Assocation with the National Poetry Library
According to Unesco, of the 7,000 languages spoken in the world, more than half are endangered, with one disappearing every two weeks. This collection of 50 poems celebrates and preserves these unique voices and takes the reader on a global journey of discovery.
Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase
Mark Forsyth's `sparkling' (Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph) and idiosyncratically brilliant third book.
Horologicon: A Day's Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language
Now You're Talking: Human Conversation from the Neanderthals to Artificial Intelligence
`A lively, intelligent and persuasive history of speech...Expertly and patiently explained' The TimesWhy are human beings the only animals that can speak? We judge others - and whether we trust them - not just by their words but by the way they talk: their intonation, their pitch, their accent.
Mrs Moreau's Warbler: How Birds Got Their Names
Through fascinating encounters with birds, and the rich cast of characters who came up with their names, Moss takes readers on a remarkable journey through time. From when humans and birds first shared the Earth to their fraught present-day coexistence, he shows how these names reveal as much about people and their relationship with the natural world as about the creatures they describe.
Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language
An essential text for a new generation of twenty-first-century English language enthusiasts, its dual purpose as both a reference and textbook will appeal to English language lecturers and students as well as non-native English speakers. Audio resources recorded by David Crystal for this new edition bring the text to life.
Talk on the Wild Side: Why Language Won't Do As It's Told
Cows on Ice & Owls in the Bog: The Weird and Wonderful World of Scandinavian Sayings
Explore the strange world of hilarious Scandinavian sayings with this gorgeous illustrated book
Craic Baby: Dispatches from a Rising Language
The follow-up to Motherfocloir, exploring the Irish language, both the very old and the very new. Craic Baby hinges on how watching a child learn to communicate changes how you think about language.
Little Book of Language
From the first words of an infant to the peculiar modern dialect of text messaging, this book reveals language's myriad intricacies and quirks. It sheds light on the development of unique linguistic styles, the origins of obscure accents, and the search for the first written word.
Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words
Did you know that the Japanese have a word to express the way sunlight filters through the leaves of trees?
History of the English Language
Around the World in 80 Words: A Journey Through the English Language
For armchair travellers and language nerds: the surprising stories behind places that have become words.
Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins
An accessible, lively A-Z of over 3,000 words and their origins, drawn from Oxford's unrivalled dictionary research and language monitoring. Ideal for language lovers and students alike, the Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins relates the fascinating stories behind many of our most curious words and expressions.
Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language
The massive Christmas 2011 bestseller and Radio 4 Book of the Week
Babel: Adventures in Translation
This innovative and lavishly illustrated collection of essays shows how linguistic diversity has inspired people across time and cultures to embark on adventurous journeys through the translation of texts. From papyrus fragments to Asterix cartoons, it explores how ideas have travelled via the medium of translation.
Speaking in Tongues: Curious Expressions from Around the World
Here you will find the perfect romantic expression, such as the Spanish tu eres mi media naranja, or 'you are the love of my life, my soulmate', and the bizarre, including dancing bears and broken pots, feeding donkeys sponge cake, a head full of crickets, and clouds and radishes.
All About Scouse
This is a book about Scouse, the language of Liverpool and how it evolved. It goes back to early times looking at the different groups of people who have contributed to Liverpool's rich speech and culture and examines the features that make Scouse so unique.
In Other Words: An Illustrated Miscellany of the World's Most Intriguing Words and Phrases
English - One Tongue, Many Voices
This is the fully revised and expanded second edition of English - One Tongue, Many Voices, a book by three internationally distinguished English language scholars who tell the fascinating, improbable saga of English in time and space.
Through the Language Glass: Why The World Looks Different In Other Languages
"Guy Deutscher is that rare beast, an academic who talks good sense about linguistics... Observer*Does language reflect the culture of a society? A delightful amalgam of cultural history and popular science, this book explores some of the most fascinating and controversial questions about language, culture and the human mind.
Red Herrings and White Elephants
Have you ever wondered what phrases such as 'square meal', 'load of old codswallop', 'egg on your face' or 'in the limelight' mean? Where do they come from? Have you ever taken a moment to wonder what we say actually means? This book explains the origins of hundreds of common phrases.
Business Bullshit
English Language: A Very Short Introduction
How has the English language evolved into the version we know today? How will it develop in future? Is it changing for the better or the worse? Simon Horobin's entertaining Very Short Introduction engages with these often heated debates, giving the historical and linguistic framework which will enable well informed discussion.
Little Book of Latin for Gardeners
The book, beautifully illustrated with old woodcuts, explains how and why plants have been named, includes handy lists of identifying adjectives, and takes the reader down some of the stranger byways of human endeavour and eccentricity.
Dictionary Wars: The American Fight over the English Language
Languages: A Very Short Introduction
How many languages are there? What differentiates one language from another? Are new languages still being discovered? Why are so many languages disappearing? These are some of the questions considered in this Very Short Introduction. By examining the science of languages, we find that the answers are not as simple as we might expect.
I Is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See the World
Takes readers from Aristotle's investigation of metaphor right up to the neuroscientific insights into how metaphor works in the brain. This title explores how a life without metaphor, as experienced by some people with autism spectrum disorders, significantly changes the way a person interacts with the world.
Craic Baby: Dispatches from a Rising Language
The follow-up to Motherfocloir, exploring the Irish language, both the very old and the very new. Craic Baby hinges on how watching a child learn to communicate changes how you think about language.
Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar
This book is an accessible and authoritative A-Z that provides up-to-date definitions of over 1,600 current grammatical terms, with hundreds of useful example sentences and helpful quotations from the scholarly literature. An invaluable guide to all those interested in the English language.
Fabulosa!: The Story of Polari, Britain's Secret Gay Language
Paul Baker recounts the story of Polari with skill, erudition and tenderness.
Welsh Language: A History
This book offers a broad historical survey of Welsh-language culture from sixth-century heroic poetry to television and pop culture in the early twenty-first century. The public status of the language is considered and the role of Welsh is compared with the roles of other non-state languages.
Meaning of Liff: The Original Dictionary Of Things There Should Be Words For
Douglas Adams and John Lloyd's classic humour book, revised and updated and including The Deeper Meaning of Liff.
Mapping Applied Linguistics: A Guide for Students and Practitioners
Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary
The creation of the first Oxford English Dictionary was an extraordinary endeavour, lasting over 70 years. In The Professor and the Madman, Simon Winchester recounted one fascinating episode; in The Meaning of Everything, he tells the whole story of the host of characters who carried out 'the greatest enterprise of its kind in history'.
Real McCoy and 149 other Eponyms
Encompassing eponyms from medicine, botany, invention, science, fashion, food and literature, this book uncovers the intriguing tales of discovery, mythology, innovation and infamy behind the eponyms we use every day. The perfect addition to any wordsmith's bookshelf.
How Language Began: The Story of Humanity's Greatest Invention
Don't Believe A Word: The Surprising Truth About Language
A mind-boggling journey through the phenomenon of language, busting nine common myths about humanity's greatest achievement
Emergence and Development of English: An Introduction
A step-by-step introduction to the history of the English language that teaches both students and instructors about complex systems, the scientific model behind human speech. This easy-to-follow text includes chapter openers, key terms, chapter summaries and end-of-chapter exercises, as well as online resources and audio samples.
Mother Tongue: The Story of the English Language
Presenting a tour of English from its mongrel origins to its status as the world's most-spoken tongue; its apparent simplicity to its deceptive complexity; its vibrant swearing to its uncertain spelling and pronunciation, this book covers curious eccentricities that make it as maddening to learn and as flexible to use.
Dent's Modern Tribes: The Secret Languages of Britain
Learn how to decode the private languages that are swapped around us every day - amongst cabbies and paramedics, soap stars and comedians, cricketers and barristers - in Susie Dent's unique and witty guide to Britain's modern tribes.
Dictionary of Modern English Usage: The Classic First Edition
"A dictionary of modern English usage first published 1926"--T.p. verso.
Writing and Script: A Very Short Introduction
Writing is a defining marker of civilisation; without it there could be no accumulation of knowledge. Andrew Robinson tells the fascinating story of the history of writing, considering its development, and examining the enormous variety of writing and scripts we use today.
Seriously Funny, and Other Oxymorons
A humorous gift book: collection of oxymorons, amusingly illustrated by Paul Thomas.
How Language Began: The Story of Humanity's Greatest Invention
Now You're Talking: Human Conversation from the Neanderthals to Artificial Intelligence
We judge others - and whether we trust them - not just by their words but by the way they talk: their intonation, their pitch, their accent. Trevor Cox talks to vocal coaches who help people to develop their new voice after a gender change; and to computer scientists who replicate the human voice in their development of artificial intelligence.
Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society
Raymond Williams' seminal exploration of the history of meaning of some of the most important words in the English language.
Dictionaries: A Very Short Introduction
Dictionaries are far more than works which list the words and meanings of a language. In this Very Short Introduction Lynda Mugglestone takes a look at how dictionaries are made, considering how they reflect the dominant social and cultural assumptions of the time in which they were written.