The world’s foremost expert on the English language – David Crystal

The world’s foremost expert on the English language – David Crystal

Continuing professional development (CPD) is an important part of teacher education. It helps the teachers to keep their professional knowledge and skills updated, learn new techniques and stay in touch with the latest developments in the education sector. There is a lot to be learnt through taking advantage of all the experienced ELT experts by attending sessions at conferences, watching webinars or reading readily-available articles and books. In this article, we are going to have a closer look at David Crystal’s works. 

Who is David Crystal?

David Crystal is a British linguist and book author. He graduated from University College London, where he studied English. Then he worked as a lecturer and was a professor of linguistics at different universities. David Crystal did research in such areas of linguistics as stylistics, intonation, applied linguistics (in clinical and educational contexts). Now he works as a writer and a consultant. He has also been doing some work on TV and radio. For example, he did some series and podcasts about learning the English language for BBC (The story of English, The Routes of English, Blimey, The Routes of Welsh, The Way that We Say It, The Word on the Street, Voices of the World) and for Open University (Grammar Rules) and many others.

It’s difficult to list all the rewards David Crystal has. He takes an honorary position in the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) and the Association for Language Learning (ALL). David was awarded the Order of the British Empire and became a Fellow of the British Academy. He is an honorary vice-president of the Institute of Linguists and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. He’s a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Linguists. You may read more about David’s biography facts and other rewards and fellowships here.

David Crystal has written, co-authored and edited more than 800 books, plays, reviews, dictionaries, reviews, articles, etc.  The subjects are:

  • Child language
  • Clinical linguistics
  • Creative writing
  • English language
  • General reference
  • Indexing
  • Internet language
  • Language death and diversity
  • Language and education
  • Lexicography
  • Linguistics
  • Religious language
  • Shakespeare
  • Stylistics, language and literature
  • Teaching and reading materials

Although David’s books are more about the language rather than teaching, I’ll briefly describe the books I’m acquainted with and find interesting and practical for teachers of English.

  1. Advanced Conversational English (with D. Davy) [2019 edition]

This book is useful for both teachers and students who are lack of practice of “real English”, conversational structures or do not have enough opportunities to be exposed to “natural English”. This book includes informal conversations and teachers and students can use them as a model.

2. Making sense: the glamorous story of English grammar

In this book, David Crystal describes how grammar has changed since classical times; he covers the history of the language, clarifies why we need grammar and how we can teach it. Similar books are Spell it out: the singular story of English spelling and Making a point: the pernickety story of English punctuation about the English spelling and punctuation.

3. English as a global language

This book is quite fascinating. David describes what a global language is, why we need it, why English is becoming a global language and the future of the English language.

4. Internet linguistics

This topic is one of the central linguistic interests nowadays. Here David describes the online language and provides real examples of the language usage. He analyses the multilingual character of and specific behaviour on the Internet.

5. Txting: the gr8 db8

This book covers texting, an intriguing topic too: what makes these abbreviations special, who uses them and why.

6. Language Death

David Crystal describes why languages disappear, why it matters and what we can do with this.

7. The gift of the gab: how eloquence works

This book covers the art of telling stories, giving speeches and talking at length. David touches upon intonation, the auditory, the topic, the timing; how eloquence works, how to sound natural and many other points.

8. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, 3rd Edition

The Encyclopedia includes the major developments in language study and the description of language issues. You can check the full content here.

9. How language works

Any language is a powerful tool and this book is about how we talk about different things, how we communicate with each other; about the origins of languages; how emails differ fro writing and speech; how children start to speak; how languages become extinct or changes; about language families, dialects, structure, sign language and many other things.

10. The language revolution

This book is about the future of English and other languages, the language trends, the influence of the Internet and the correlation between English as the global language, the Internet and extinction of languages.

As you can see, David Crystal is a well-known linguist and writer. You can watch the interview with David at Better Learning Conference. There he talks about his career, his thoughts about the English language and the changes it’s going to face. And you can also watch the recording from ELI days about Advanced conversational English (fact and fiction) and about Grammar rules.

We hope this article and resources are useful for you and you will learn more about the language!


Наринэ Егорова

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