By Hook or by Crook

By Hook or by Crook

A Journey in Search of English

Book - 2008
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Publisher: Woodstock, NY : Overlook Press, 2008, c2007
ISBN: 9781590200612
Branch Call Number: 420 Cry
Characteristics: xiv, 314 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm


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Dec 27, 2018

A lively and fun to read travelogue and linguilogue of English, mostly in Britain. Numerous features of the language crop up as fresh discoveries, oddities pointed out, prejudices and myths debunked, and aspects of linguistics explained and explored, including names (and place name policies), collective nouns, and of course, accents and regionalisms (eg., boot - trunk, robot - traffic lights), and much else. Brief notes, no glossary, but two indexes.

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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