Cover art for The Gift of the Gab

The Gift of the Gab

2 ratings

Summary

We all know eloquence when we hear it. But what exactly is it? And how might we gain more of it for ourselves? This entertaining and, yes, eloquent audiobook illuminates the power of language from a linguistic point of view and provides fascinating insights into the way we use words. David Crystal, a world-renowned expert on the history and usage of the English language, probes the intricate workings of eloquence in this lively analysis. Crystal focuses on the here and now of eloquent speaking - from pitch, pace, and prosody to jokes, appropriateness, and how to wield a microphone. He explains what is going on moment by moment and examines each facet of eloquence. He also investigates topics such as the way current technologies help or hinder our verbal powers, the psychological effects of verbal excellence, and why certain places or peoples are thought to be more eloquent than others. In the core analysis, Crystal offers an extended and close dissection of Barack Obama's electrifying "Yes we can" speech of 2008, in which the president demonstrated full mastery of virtually every element of eloquence - from the simple use of parallelism and an awareness of what not to say, to his brilliant conclusion constructed around two powerful words: dreams and answers.

©2016 David Crystal (P)2018 Tantor

Narrator: Derek Perkins
Length: 6 hrs and 17 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for You Say Potato: A Book About Accents

You Say Potato: A Book About Accents

1 rating

Summary

An authoritative, entertaining book about our accents and what they say about us. Some people say 'sconn' while others say 'schown'. He says 'bath' while she says 'bahth'. You say 'potayto'. I say 'potahto'. And - wait a second, no one says 'potahto'. No one's ever said 'potahto'. Have they? From reconstructing Shakespeare's accent to the rise and fall of received pronunciation, actor Ben Crystal and his linguist father, David, travel the world in search of the stories of spoken English. Everyone has an accent, though many of us think we don't. We all have our likes and dislikes about the way other people speak, and everyone has something to say about 'correct' pronunciation. But how did all these accents come about, and why do people feel so strongly about them? Are regional accents dying out as English becomes a global language? And most importantly of all: what went wrong in Birmingham? Witty, authoritative, and jam-packed full of fascinating facts, You Say Potato is a celebration of the myriad ways in which the English language is spoken - and how our accents, in so many ways, speak louder than words.

©2014 Ben Crystal and David Crystal (P)2015 Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

Available on Audible
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Making Sense

1 rating

Summary

In Making Sense, David Crystal confronts the foe of many: grammar. Once taught relentlessly to all students in the English-speaking world, grammar disappeared from most school curricula, so that terms such as preposition and conjunction now often confound children and adults alike. Explaining the nuts and bolts of grammar presents a special challenge because - far more than is the case with spelling and punctuation - the subject is burdened with a centuries-old history of educational practice that many will recall as anything but glamorous. One of the world's foremost authorities on the English language, Crystal sets out to rid grammar of its undeserved reputation as a dry and intimidating subject, pointing out how essential grammar is to clear and effective speech and writing. He moves briskly through the stages by which children acquire grammar, along the way demystifying grammar's rules and irregularities and showing us how to navigate its snares and pitfalls. He offers the fascinating history of grammar, explaining how it has evolved from the first grammarians in ancient Greece to our 21st century digital environment of blogging, emailing, and texting. Many find grammar to be a daunting subject, but in this breezy, entertaining book, Crystal proves that grammar doesn't need to make us uneasy - we can all make sense of how we make sense.

©2017 David Crystal (P)2017 Recorded Books

Narrator: David Crystal
Length: 9 hrs and 4 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for A Little Book of Language

A Little Book of Language

1 rating

Summary

With a language disappearing every two weeks and neologisms springing up almost daily, an understanding of the origins and currency of language has never seemed more relevant. In this charming volume, a narrative history written explicitly for a young audience, expert linguist David Crystal proves why the story of language deserves retelling. From the first words of an infant to the peculiar modern dialect of text messaging, A Little Book of Language ranges widely, revealing language's myriad intricacies and quirks. In animated fashion, Crystal sheds light on the development of unique linguistic styles, the origins of obscure accents, and the search for the first written word. He discusses the plight of endangered languages, as well as successful cases of linguistic revitalization. Much more than a history, Crystal's work looks forward to the future of language, exploring the effect of technology on our day-to-day reading, writing, and speech. Through enlightening tables, diagrams, and quizzes, as well as Crystal's avuncular and entertaining style, A Little Book of Language will reveal the story of language to be a captivating tale for all ages.

©2010 David Crystal (P)2012 Redwood Audiobooks

Narrator: Derek Perkins
Length: 7 hrs and 22 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Story of English in 100 Words

The Story of English in 100 Words

Summary

In this unique new history of the world's most ubiquitous language, linguistics expert David Crystal draws on words that best illustrate the huge variety of sources, influences, and events that have helped to shape our vernacular since the first definitively English word was written down in the fifth century ("roe", in case you are wondering). Featuring Latinate and Celtic words, weasel words and nonce-words, ancient words ("loaf") to cutting edge ("twittersphere"), and spanning the indispensable words that shape our tongue ("and", "what") to the more fanciful ("fopdoodle"), Crystal takes us along the winding byways of language via the rude, the obscure, and the downright surprising.

©2011 David Crystal (P)2012 AudioGO

Narrator: David Crystal
Length: 7 hrs and 56 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Let's Talk

Let's Talk

Summary

Banter, chit-chat, gossip, natter, tete-a-tete: these are just a few of the terms for the varied ways in which we interact with one another through conversation. David Crystal explores the factors that motivate so many different kinds of talk and reveals the rules we use unconsciously, even in the most routine exchanges of everyday conversation. We tend to think of conversation as something spontaneous, instinctive, habitual. It has been described as an art, as a game, sometimes even as a battle. Whichever metaphor we use, most people are unaware of what the rules are, how they work, and how we can bend and break them when circumstances warrant it. PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.  

©2020 David Crystal (P)2021 Tantor

Narrator: Paul Woodson
Length: 6 hrs and 7 mins
Available on Audible