By Hook or by Crook

By Hook or by Crook

A Journey in Search of English

Book - 2007
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"The book's starting point is a quest in search of English accents in Wales, but in making that journey David Crystal soon finds himself coming across intriguing linguistic side roads that he cannot resist exploring. David Crystal's inquisitive examination casts a fascinating and often unexpected light on the development of English as spoken today" -- Back cover.
Publisher: London : 2007
ISBN: 9780007255023
Branch Call Number: ANF 428.309 CRYS
Characteristics: 314 p. : ill. ; 22 cm

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quagga Aug 24, 2010

A linguistic travelogue. David Crystal muses about accents and dialects as well as the origins of place names, catch-phrases and idioms while meandering down the sideroads of Wales and western England. Where did the expressions 'by hook or by crook' and 'the living daylights' come from?

Crystal ranges farther afield when he discusses streets that have nicknames (as opposed to merely shortened versions of their names). He even explains the origin of the word 'nickname.' (In Old English, eke meant 'also.' Pronunciation of the expression an eke name - your 'other' name - changed over time, with the n of an transferring to the beginning of eke to make neke, and then the spelling changed to make the modern word.)

I'm a total language nerd, so I enjoyed this book. You gotta love a guy who gets excited about orthographic innovations, such as the use of middle capital letters within a proper name - CompuServe; eBay and BiblioCommons.

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