Words Words Words, Paperback
3 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Words, Words, Words is all about the wonder of words.

Drawing on a lifetime's experience, David Crystal explores language in all its rich varieties through words: the very building blocks of our communication.

Language has no life of its own: it only exists in the mouths and ears, hands, eyes and brains of its users.

As we are guided expertly and passionately through the mysteries and delights of word origins, histories, spellings, regional and social variations, taboo words, jargon, and wordplay, the contribution we all play in shaping the linguistic world around us becomes evident. Words, Words, Words is a celebration of what we say and how we say it.

It invites us to engage linguistically with who we are: to understand what words tell us about where we come from and what we do. And as they continually shape our lives, it suggests ways that we can look at words anew and get involved with collecting and coining words ourselves.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224 pages, halftones
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: linguistics
  • ISBN: 9780199210770



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

This is a much lighter book than many of David Crystal's works. It makes a readable introduction to the subject, actually the chapter summaries seem to suggest that it might be intended for the school/college student. The final chapter includes some exercises (word games?) to test the reader.

Review by

This is a book that's perfect for reading in bits and pieces, and enjoyable enough on those terms. (Crystal does an especially good job writing for both UK and US audiences.) But it doesn't hold up for more serious use. Since there is no documentation--no footnotes or endnotes, not even a bibliography--it's impossible to check the author's claims. Crystal repeats (without attribution) an urban legend about the origin of "404" on page 7, and I therefore took his claims in the rest of the book with a grain of salt. This is not the level of careful research or presentation I expect from someone with Crystal's credentials.