Andrey (azangru) wrote,

I don’t know whether the third (2018) edition of David Crystal’s The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language has been pirated yet (a quick search says that it hasn’t), but luckily, Cambridge University Press made electronic resources for this book openly accessible; so that you don't need a password to hear Crystal read in "original" (i.e. reconstructed) pronunciation fragments of texts representative of different historical periods traditionally identified in the development of the language.

Also, here’s the recording of Crystal at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas from last November talking about the developments in English reflected in the third edition. The talk is addressed to the general public, and as such contains very little of what he hasn’t said before. Among things I haven’t heard him say before are: 1) the rate at which English spreads throughout the world is falling; 2) he thinks "slash" is a new coordinating conjunction, and he credits the Internet with introducing it into the spoken language (not sure I am convinced); 3) the number of words thought to be first used by Shakespeare is falling as more texts from the period are digitized and analyzed.

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