David Crystal works from his home in Holyhead, North Wales, as a writer, editor, lecturer and broadcaster. He has published extensively on the history and development of English, including The Stories of English, Evolving English and Spell It Out: The Singular Story of English Spelling. He and his son Ben joined forces to co-write You Say Potato and The Oxford Illustrated Dictionary of Shakespeare. He held a chair at the University of Reading for ten years, and is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Bangor. He was 'Master of Original Pronunciation' at Shakespeare's Globe in London for its productions of Romeo and Juliet and Troilus and Cressida in 2004-5, and has since acted as an accent consultant for other such productions worldwide.
Beloved children's author Roald Dahl invented over 500 words and character names. We've mixed them up with some of the weird and wonderful English dialect words from David Crystal's The Disappearing Dictionary to see if you can tell the difference.
Listen to how thousands of people around the world say the word 'potato'.
Wherever you go in the English-speaking world, there are linguistic riches from times past awaiting rediscovery. All you have to do is choose a location, find some old documents, and dig a little.
@Underbundle well... you know... like any of these fillers it gives the speaker thinking time. certainly not modern… https://t.co/6NdfdfDuNs
by @davcr - 2 days ago
Disturbing resemblance! https://t.co/rKE6e1kII4
by @davcr - 9 days ago
Day Courses in 2018 - one month ago
One of the outcomes of my August 2017 weekend on the English language was a request to have further days focusing on topics in greater depth. As most enquiries have been made in relation to the following topics, I will now host the following series for 2018. I haven't ruled out the possibility of repeating the general course, or covering other themes, but will wait for interest to be expressed before doing so.
English language weekend update - 4 months ago
One never knows, with a new idea like this, whether it will appeal, or whether the people who have asked for it will actually come, given all the uncertainties in life that have to be managed. The purpose of the Early Bird registration was to establish whether, as they say, we have a 'goer'. That period is now over, and I'm pleased to report that we do.I'm told by the Ucheldre Centre that enough people took advantage of Early Bird registration to make the event viable. So it's definitely on, and I'm very much looking forward to it. It looks to be a very mixed group, with attendees coming from as far away as Japan, along with several English-language teachers from the UK. The variety of backgrounds will I think add greatly to the occasion, and I'm really looking forward to it.Details about the event can be found in the previous post. Places can be reserved by contacting the Ucheldre Centre Box Office: [email protected]phone: (+44) 1407 763361 (10 am - 5 pm weekdays, 2 - 5 pm Sundays)
On an English language weekend - 7 months ago
On myths and the making of the OED - 10 months ago
On Mundolingua - one year ago
Last week I finally managed to get to see the amazing Mundolingua - the language museum in Paris founded by Mark Oremland a couple of years ago. I don't use the adjective lightly. He has managed to pack into two floors of a small building a remarkable array of pictures, books, artefacts, and interactive facilities relating to language, languages, and linguistics, all presented in a user-friendly and multingual way.I had a personal interest in making my visit, as Mark describes his museum as a three-dimensional representation of my Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. That may have been the starting-point, but in its range of illustrations the museum now goes well beyond what is in my book. And the ingenuity of the presentations has to be experienced.Mundolingua is a must-see. It's on the south bank, and easy to find. Aim for the church of Saint Sulpice. Stand in front of it and Rue Servandoni is just around the corner on your right. A few metres down and Mundolingua is on your right. At the other end of the street are the Luxembourg gardens.The museum is open every day between 10:00 and 19:00, with a modest entrance fee of just a few euros. Don't rush the visit. There is so much material that a language buff could spend a whole day here - or even two - exploring the collections in detail. The day I was there a group of visitors was sitting around a sociolinguistic exhibit with headphones, happily listening to usages in various languages. Another couple was by the phonetics chart copying the IPA sounds represented there.I spent some time trying the braille quiz: a chart in front of you gives you all the braille letter codes, and then you place your hands under a cover and feel the message hidden there. I thought it would be easy and found it really challenging.Mark has succeeded where other language museum projects, conceived on a larger scale, have failed. In a post on this blog in 2013I described some of them, all of which have not gone ahead, usually for lack of financial support. Mundolingua is the exception, and it needs all the support it can get. The day I visited there were quite a few people looking around, but there are days, I was told, when there are no visitors at all. So spread the news. Tour Eiffel? Tick. Louvre? Tick. Mundolingua? Tick.
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