In this entertaining history of the world's most ubiquitous language, David Crystal draws on a hundred words that illustrate the huge variety of sources, influences, and events that have helped to shape our vernacular since the first definitively English word—"roe"—was scratched onto the femur of a roe deer in the 5th century. Discussing Latinate and Celtic words, ancient words ("loaf") and cutting-edge terms ("twittersphere"), the indispensable words that shape our tongue ("and," "what") and the fanciful words ("fopdoodle") that are just fun to say, Crystal tours the winding byways of our language via the rude, the obscure, and the unexpected.
"A delightful history of the words we use (and some we've forgotten) and how we came to use them. Crystal's enthusiasm for—and wealth of knowledge about—the ever-evolving English language makes this a must-read for word lovers."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)