David Crystal – a diamond geezer!

During the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, I’m going to re-post some of the blog posts I feel might be most interesting and useful to teachers and to parents.

We at Sounds-Write have just started running our new course for students in Years 3 – 6* and, since it covers so much on the terrain of etymology, I thought it would be pertinent to re-post this blog about David Crystal from September 2009. If you are interested in all things etymological and are curious about the roots and history of the development of English, there is no finer writer.

Since I wrote the blog, Crystal has published more than twenty more books on the subject of language and linguistics, not to mention the academic papers he has authored or co-authored. To get an idea of just how prolific his writing career has been see here

Anyone familiar with the work of David Crystal will already know what a prolific author on all questions to do with the English language he is. If a single year doesn’t bring at least two new publications, I begin to wonder if he is at last beginning to slow down. So, it was with particular pleasure that I received from my brother-in-law a copy of Crystal’s latest – Just a Phrase I’m Going Through: My Life in Language. It is, as the title suggests, an autobiography, a life in which he describes himself as being ‘surrounded by an ever playing linguistic orchestra’.

As a writer, Crystal has it all: erudite, witty, humorous and wry – at one point in his book there is a photo of him with his young children in 1968 with the caption ‘Looking after the data – sorry, children’! His books span the development of the English language from the arrival of the Germanic tribes fifteen hundred years ago to the multiverse directions the language is taking today.

If you’ve never read a book by Crystal, you can do no better than begin with his The Stories of English.

David Crystal is indeed still a diamond geezer!

*Soon to be available online

Photograph of the diamond by Steve Jurvetson – https://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/156830367/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=906535