1st Edition

Just A Phrase I'm Going Through My Life in Language

By David Crystal Copyright 2009
    320 Pages
    by Routledge

    314 Pages
    by Routledge

    by Routledge

    Kidnapping, attempted assassination, espionage … not the answers you’d expect to the question ‘what happens when you become a linguist?’

    But now, reflecting on a long and hugely successful career at the forefront of the field of English Language and Linguistics, David Crystal answers this question and offers us a special look behind the scenes at the adventures, rewards, challenges and pitfalls of his life in language.

    Both an autobiography and a highly accessible introduction to the field of linguistics, Just a Phrase I’m Going Through illuminates and entertains us with its many insights into the ever-fascinating subject of language.

    David Crystal is synonymous with language, both as a great populariser and linguistic pioneer, and his contribution to the field is unparalleled. This is a book not just for students and teachers but for all lovers of language.

    For more about David Crystal at Routledge, visit: www.routledge.com/textbooks/9780415485746.




    Chapter 1 Being a linguist

    Panel 1 Linguist as detective

    Chapter 2 A semilingual start

    Panel 2 Linguist as historian

    Chapter 3 New worlds

    Panel 3 Linguist as musician

    Panel 4 Linguist as actor

    Chapter 4 Liverpool school

    Panel 5a Linguist as reader...

    Panel 5b ... and entrepreneur

    Panel 6 Linguist as fieldworker

    Chapter 5 Extra-curricular acts

    Panel 7 Linguist as editor

    Chapter 6 Learning, and not learning, about language

    Panel 8 Linguist as couturier

    Panel 9 Linguist as quantity surveyor

    Chapter 7 Becoming academic

    Panel 10 Linguist as phonetician

    Chapter 8 Surveying

    Panel 11 Linguist as doctor

    Chapter 9 Worlds within worlds

    Panel 12 Linguist as dancer

    Chapter 10 Becoming professional

    Panel 13 Linguist as foul-mouth

    Chapter 11 The sexy subject

    Panel 14 Linguist as lexicographer

    Panel 15 Linguist as revolutionary

    Chapter 12 Meeting a need

    Panel 16 Linguist as tease

    Chapter 13 Choices and consequences

    Panel 17 Linguist as grammarian

    Chapter 14 Meetings and meetings

    Panel 18 Linguist as (failed) speech therapist

    Chapter 15 Looking for remedies

    Panel 19 Linguist as interviewer

    Chapter 16 Why did you resign?

    Panel 20 Linguist as indexer

    Chapter 17 The encyclopedia game

    Panel 21 Linguist as spymaster

    Chapter 18 Schizoid man

    Panel 22 Linguist as plant

    Chapter 19 Busyness and business

    Panel 23 Linguist as voice-counsellor




    David Crystal received an OBE for services to the English language in 1995, and was made a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA) in 2000. He is patron of the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) and the Association for Language Learning (ALL). Having published over 100 books, covering a diversity of language topics, his most recent publications include Txtng: the gr8 db8 (2008) and Thinking on my Words: Exploring Shakespeare’s Language (2008). He has been a freelance writer, lecturer, and broadcaster since 1984 and continues his work with language from his home in Holyhead, North Wales.

    'David Crystal loves and appreciates every word he speaks, and every word written in this book helps us to understand someone who is not just a great linguist, but a true champion and lover of language.' – Benjamin Zephaniah

    'This memoir is enjoyable for many reasons. David Crystal's writings on linguistics have covered a wide range, and never fail to be readable and full of fascination for the general reader... it is a clear and modest account of a good and useful life.' – Philip Pullman

    'Just A Phrase I'm Going Through is an engaging, can’t-put-it down hybrid of autobiography, suspense, humour, scientific writing, narrative, and even a bit of trivia. As an introductory linguistics text or leisure reading selection, it addresses the kinds of language-based questions that emerge literally everywhere and that pique the curiosity of linguists and non-linguists alike--transmitted to us through the wonderful wit, style, and personal perspective of David Crystal.' – Susan Strauss, Pennsylvania State University, USA

    ‘David Crystal, the UK’s Linguist-at-Large, starts his autobiography Just a Phrase I’m Going Through right off in Chapter 1 by summing up what it means to be a linguist. He does such a good job that every linguist in the world will go yessing through this chapter, and copy it on the sly to pass out to their students who ask what linguistics is really all about.' – John Lawler, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA

    'David Crystal has a magic narrative touch. His talent is to make the sometimes abstruse subject matter of linguistics relevant to everybody’s lives. Now he shows how the study of language has played out in his own life. In this captivating professional autobiography he intertwines linguistic insights with his own personal and professional story, demonstrating what he has always told us so eloquently: that neither life nor language can be understood without the other.' – Guy Cook, The Open University, UK

    'The book is a delight to read. It’s beautifully written, witty, entertaining and profoundly reflective on matters of language and life. If anyone needs persuading how and why language is central to our lives and can be both serious and fun, it is here.' – Ronald Carter, University of Nottingham, UK

    'Far from being a dusty academic trawl,[this] is a vigorous and diverting account of a singular life.' – Manchester Evening News, 30th May 2009