Most popular Language: history & general works books
The most popular Language: history & general works books currently available. Updated weekly.
Did you know that the Japanese have a word to express the way sunlight filters through the leaves of trees? Or, that there's a Swedish word that means a traveller's particular sense of anticipation before a trip? This book includes a collection full of surprises that will make you savour the elusive, untranslatable words that make up a language.
Snowflake, elite, expert . . . What are today's 'bad words' and what do they say about us, both as individuals and as a society?
Signs of Civilisation provides an account of the rich cultural history of punctuation.
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.
A weird and wonderful word and its meaning for every day of the year.
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.Now You're Talking explores the full range of our voice - how we speak and how we sing;
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.
Mark Forsyth's 'sparkling' (Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph) and idiosyncratically brilliant third book.
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.
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.
For armchair travellers and language nerds: the surprising stories behind places that have become words.
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.
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.
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.
New B-format paperback edition. The story of over three thousand words that today are forgotten, unfamiliar and increasingly rare. A funny and fascinating window on the rich history of the English language.
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.
This book explores the fascinating origins of the words and phrases that we use every day. Simon Horobin takes the reader through a typical day's activities - waking up, eating meals, going to work - and looks at the etymology of the words we use to describe them, as well as how their meanings have changed over time.
A guide to cockney rhyming slang. It explains the meaning of hundreds of terms, from old favourites such as apples and pears (stairs) and plates of meat (feet) to the more obscure band of hope (soap) and cuts and scratches (matches) through to modern classics such as Anthea Turner (earner) and Ashley Cole (own goal).
Irish history and folklore is rich with proverbs and sayings of old, full of timeless wisdom that still has resonence and truth today. This beautifully designed hardback brings together a whole host of these sayings and proverbs on topics as diverse as aging, the seasons, fate and nature.
Paul Baker recounts the story of Polari with skill, erudition and tenderness.
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.
A mind-boggling journey through the phenomenon of language, busting nine common myths about humanity's greatest achievement
The massive Christmas 2011 bestseller and Radio 4 Book of the Week
How to harness the power of 'untranslatable' words to help you live your best possible life
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.
Does language reflect the culture of a society? Is our mother-tongue a lens through which we perceive the world? Can different languages lead their speakers to different thoughts? This title states that contrary to the fashionable academic consensus of today, the answer to all these questions is - yes.
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.
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.
Ever feel like you are pedalling in the choucroute? Been caught with your beard in the mailbox again? Or maybe you just wish everyone would stop ironing your head? This book brings the weird, wonderful and surprising nuanced beauty of language to life with over fifty watercolour and ink illustrations.
Why is there an 'h' in ghost? William Caxton, inventor of the printing press and his Flemish employees are to blame: without a dictionary or style guide to hand in fifteenth century Bruges, the typesetters simply spelled it the way it sounded to their foreign cars, and it stuck. This book takes you on a journey through English spelling.
This unique and thoroughly revised collection contains over 1,100 of the most widely used proverbs in English, drawing on the resources of the Oxford Languages team for the most up-to-date research. Lively and compelling, it is filled with favourites - old and new - with a strong emphasis on meanings of proverbs catalogued.
The Story of English is the extraordinary tale of the origins and development of the English language. Two thousand years ago English was confined to a handful of savage tribes on the shores of north-west Europe; More widely scattered, written and spoken than any other language in history, English has become a global phenomenon.
A transatlantic survival guide, that examines the key differences between the British and the Americans through their language. It shows why Americans give - and take - so many bloody compliments and never, ever say 'shall' (well hardly ever), as well as what the British really mean when they say 'proper'.
This is a comprehensive field guide to the toponymy of the Gaelic landscape and it helps people to interpret Highland landscape through place-names. Landscape character and history are perceived through a Gaelic lens.
Barbara Lasserre brings the neglected world of onomatopoeia to life in this witty little gem of a book which will delight language lovers.
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.
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.
Explore the strange world of hilarious Scandinavian sayings with this gorgeous illustrated book
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.
From information about words and their uses, useful lists of things you never knew had names, palindromes, famous lines from literature and film, to bizarre test answers and much, much more, The Wonderful World of Words is bursting with truly oddball facts about words and language - and will have you hooked from the very first page.