Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Quarterly featuring Professor of Linguistics David Crystal OBE

Hello all,my latest article is a collaboration with Professor of Linguistics David Crystal OBE,
A master of the English Language, Mr Crystal has published over 100 books on various subjects, a lot of them on the english language,its origins and lexicon,
David Crystal has also published a number of books on William Shakespeare and has edited
Penguin Classics recent Dictionary of the English Language which was composed by the legendary writer and lexicographer Samuel Johnson,as well as host shows on BBC radio and tv,and so many other achievements I think it is worthwhile to visit his website to learn even more,at

I asked Mr Crystal him to do an interview with me and he gladly obliged,

 What first drew you to the work of Samuel Johnson and what effect has it had on your career?

I remember being fascinated by Johnson as a conversationalist long before I began to take a serious interest in his lexicography. But as I developed my interests in the history of English it became apparent that here we have a major figure, not only for his dictionary, but for his views on language, some of which were surprisingly modern, such as his expressed sorrow about dying languages because languages are 'the pedigree of nations'. The dictionary, of course, is extraordinary by any standards. For a book coming out later this month ('Wordsmiths and Warriors: the English Language Tourist's Guide to Britain') Hilary and I visited the garret in London where Johnson compiled the dictionary, and photographed it. Amazing that such a vast work could have come from such a small space! As for the effect on my career? Well, he has provided me with content for several publications. And he's enabled me to meet some wonderful enthusiasts. I was President of the Johnson Society a few years ago, and laid the wreath on his tomb in Westminster Abbey last year. Splendid occasions.

 and William Shakespeare has contributed countless words to the English lexicon and language,which word(s) do you find the most endearing?  

As for the Shakespeare question, well, I don't do 'endearing'. As a linguist, I find all words equally fascinating, in that each has an individual history and a unique range of usage, so I haven't got a 'favourite'. On the other hand, I do find certain aspects of Shakespeare's use of langauge especially apperaling, such as his readiness to engage in functional shift - the use of a noun as a verb, and auchlike. When York says 'Grace me no grace, nor uncle me no uncle', I see a linguistic creativity which is at the heart of English, and which acts as a role model for contemporary users. 

Thank you very much Sir,I really appreciate that,David, many good wishes to you,

Tony Solomun

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